Have You Been Forsaken?
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? ~Psalm 22:1
Psalm 22 is one of the great Messianic psalms. It is a psalm that records for us the sufferings of our Lord Jesus on the cross. Psalms 22-24 are referred to as the shepherd psalms. Psalm 22 is referred to as the psalm of the Good Shepherd where the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. In this psalm, we have a vivid description of the depths of the suffering of our Lord on the cross. The opening verse is Jesus crying out on the cross: a feeling we might experience when our suffering and trial is so intense and beyond description. This morning, we are considering the thought: did God forsake you?
There is the extreme.
The opening verse prepares us for a vivid description of the hurt, horror, and helplessness our Lord experienced on the cross. There was the utter humiliation. “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” There was the continuous mocking. “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.” There was the physical suffering. “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.” Our Lord Jesus Christ went to the extreme for every sinner. He descended into the depth of suffering more than any human being can imagine as he bled and suffered on the cross.
There is the exasperation.
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” As the day wore on and the suffering became more intense, Jesus shouted out his feeling of being uncared for. He describes his feelings to God the Father as “the words of my roaring.” He experienced the extreme of pain. He experienced the extreme of helplessness. He experienced the extreme that no one could help him humanly. He felt loneliness. He felt forsaken! The word “forsaken” carries with it the idea of abandonment and rejection. Nobody wants you, not even God! Nobody can help you, not even God! Was he blaming God? No. Was he angry with God? No. Was he giving up on trusting God? No. Jesus was touched with the feelings of our infirmities, yet without sin.
There is the expiation.
Let us not forget the ‘why” in his suffering. God’s divine plan was that Jesus would be the Just dying for the unjust, that he might bring us to God: being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the spirit. He was our substitute for our sin. As our perfect substitute, he endured what every sinner should go through. He endured the torment and horror of darkness so that every sinner’s sin debt could be paid in full. As our Good Shepherd, he laid down his life voluntarily for us.
There is the exhortation.
“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” God is glorified through the suffering of His Son. Likewise, God is glorified when he allows suffering to come into our lives. It is to be a public declaration on our part that God is faithful and loving to us. “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.” Christ’s sufferings invite every sinner to recognize how sinful they are and to humbly come to him for the saving of their soul. “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.” Christ’s sufferings was God’s love for the whole world. In all of the suffering, God has a divine purpose that is to be accomplished.
Does God forsake us? No. He allows suffering in our lives for the spiritual benefit of our lives and others who can be helped through our testimony. He giveth more grace. Trust in Him at all times ye people.
Have a strengthened God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: John 1-2