March 10, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
V 6 But I am a Worm
V 14 My heart is like Wax
V 14 I am poured out like Water
V 15 My strength . like a potsherd . tongue cleaves to my jaws (Withered)
The book of the Psalms is part of the poetic literature of the Bible. As such, it utilizes imagery, metaphor, and other forms of speech to communicate its message. Psalm 22 is especially rich in its metaphors and descriptives, as the Spirit of God endeavors to give us insights into the feelings of Christ on the cross.
Four of the expressions of the psalm are worthy of our meditation. The first that we confront is in verse 6 where the Lord Jesus refers to Himself as “a worm and no man.” The hind of the dawn is the worm of the dust. As well, in contrast to the end of the Psalm, the Sovereign of the skies is the worm of the dust. While essentially He remained what He always has been, the Son of God, men valued Him so low, that in their sight, He was like a worm and not even a man. He was a reproach to the human race, and despised by His own nation. So in this expression we see something of the scorn of mentoward Him.
In verse 14 He speaks of His heart being like wax, melting within Him. Wax is sensitive to heat. We have all seen wax candles which have been affected by a hot summer’s day, bent and misshapen. In the metaphor of the wax is revealed to us something about the sensitivity of His heart to the sufferings of the cross. We must never think that either His deity or His holiness made Him more “resistant” to the sufferings of Calvary. Just the opposite – they made Him all the more sensitive to suffering and being forsaken by God. Wax is affected not only by the direct intensity of the heat, but even by its approach.
In verse 14, He speaks of being poured out like water. Again we are given another facet of His sufferings. In the water being poured out we are reminded of His submission to suffering. Water being poured out offers no resistance. There was not a fiber of His being which rose in resistance to either the unjust treatment at the hands of men, nor to the sword of divine justice which was unsheathed against Him. Absolute omnipotence bowed in worshipful submission and endured all that the cross meant.
In verse 15 He describes the physical aspect of His suffering as being like a piece of pottery that has been in the oven – not an ounce of moisture left. His tongue cleaved to the inside of His mouth and could find no moisture to loosen it. His strength was withered as He endured the fire of God’s judgment against sin. Here is an insight into the severity of His sufferings.
May these four expressions be more than an exercise in understanding metaphors, but serve as a basis for worship.
1. Think of some of the other Messianic Psalm and the imagery used in them to give us insights into Calvary: Psalm 69 and the waters, the deep, and the pit; Psalm 16 My cup, My lot, and the night seasons; Psalm 88 His soul full of troubles, in the lowest pit, and afflicted with all His waves.