Psalm 22:1-2 ESV
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.”
Do you ever feel like God has abandoned you? Do you ever feel as though God is far off from you and that you cannot hear him? Do your circumstances sometimes feel so overwhelming that it is hard for you to connect with the Lord? You are not alone.
Psalm 22:3-8 ESV
“Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
“But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
‘He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!’”
Sometimes we need to reaffirm what we know to be the truth, which includes the promises of God, and how God has done in the past with his people, and what we know of God’s nature, character, and divine will and purpose for our lives. And sometimes we need to appeal to God on the basis of what we know to be the truth.
This helps to strengthen us in our faith, and it helps us to come out of whatever attacks are coming against our minds from the enemy. For, it is putting on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes and his evil attacks against us. And it is taking up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit in affirming in our own minds and emotions what we know to be true so that we can combat Satan’s lies.
And sometimes, when we are going through difficult circumstances, and we are feeling as though God is far off, or we are hearing many different voices speaking to us, we just need time to sort it all out in prayer before the Lord. We just need to tell the Lord how we are feeling.
We need to cry out our suffering to the Lord and pray for his healing mercies. It helps to get it out, so we can release the pain. And better that we talk it through with the Lord than we vent with other humans and end up saying things which we will later regret or that might injure others.
And, I think as we read through this Psalm that we will recognize familiar language used by Jesus or about Jesus when he was being persecuted, falsely accused, given a mock trial, spat upon, mocked, beaten, and then put to death on a cross. So, he empathizes with us in our unjust suffering.
This also reminds me somewhat of some of the things Jeremiah said to the Lord when he was being persecuted unjustly. He knew what it was like to be despised and rejected and to be a man of sorrows, for he had people railing him regularly for the messages the Lord gave him to give out.
When we walk closely with the Lord, in full surrender to him, and we truly are following him wherever he leads us, saying what he gives us to say, and doing the things he has called us to do, we will be hated, rejected, falsely accused and persecuted for righteousness’ sake. And, yes, people will mock us, too. But we are to rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for Christ.
Psalm 22:16-21 ESV
“For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
“But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!”
“Dogs” is a term used for the ungodly and for false prophets. And, as followers of Jesus, we are going to have the ungodly and false teachers coming against us, even from within the gatherings of the church or from within what is falsely called “church.”
Just as they came against Jesus, they will come against us. They tried continually to trip him up with his words, they falsely accused him of many things, and they attacked him for healing people on the Sabbath. They didn’t like it, too, that he confronted them in their sins.
Again, the Psalmist shares his feelings with God but he follows it or he precedes it with the truth of what he knows about God, and so he makes his appeal to God based upon the truth and based upon how God has worked in his life previously.
If we are true followers of Jesus Christ, not just part-time or casually interested in him, but those who are surrendered to him and to doing his will, Satan is going to oppose us, and he is going to attack us, sometimes just in our minds and emotions, but often through other people.
When we are attacked we need to present our case to the Lord, and we need to call on him for mercy, based on the truth of what we know about God and on what his word teaches us about God and how he works in our lives.
And, then we need to rest in the Lord, yield to his will for our lives, surrender to his sovereignty, accept that persecution is part of the Christian life, and then keep on doing what God has called us to do. And he will give us all we need to endure and to keep pressing on in sharing the gospel of our salvation with all who will listen.
His Tender Mercies
An Original Work / January 26, 2014
Fear not! I’m with you.
Be not dismayed!
God watches o’er you.
Trust Him today.
He’ll lead and guide you;
Give you His aid.
He’ll love and keep you
With Him always.
Walk in His footsteps.
He’ll lead the way.
Trust in His love;
Believe that He cares.
He will not leave you.
Faithful He’ll be.
His tender mercies
Now you will see.
Fellowship with Him
Throughout the day.
Tell Him your heartaches.
He’ll heal always.
Rest in His comfort.
He is your friend.
Your faith He’ll strengthen,
True to the end.