May 26, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
“In the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.”
What marks the spiritual believer is the ability to look back on a trial and to offer worship and praise to God for the trial, as well as for its fruit in the believer’s life. James raises the bar a notch when he tells us to count it all joy when we are in the trial (James 1:2). Indeed, to be in the furnace of affliction and able to worship is high ground spiritually.
But, as in every instance, the Lord Jesus in His perfect manhood exemplifies the ultimate standard. He worshiped before, during, and after the trial of Calvary.
Mark 14:26 reminds us “That when they had sung a hymn (Psalm), they went out into the mount of Olives.” The words of the Psalm that He led His disciples in singing ended with the words: “Thou art My God and I will praise Thee. Thou art My God I will exalt Thee. O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever.” Psalm 118:28, 29
Imagine knowing all that lay ahead – the darkness, the deeps, the awful distress of the cross, yet singing of the goodness of God and His loving-kindness. There was no resistance in the heart of this perfect Servant. It was not mere duty or obligation which took Him to Calvary. He went with a heart full of worship and His tongue filled with praise. God veils the future from us because we would faint at the anticipation of the trial. The One Who knew the greatest trial, knew it in all its detail and horror before ever He left heaven’s shore for earth. Yet He went with thanksgiving and praise on His lips.
But on the cross, as well, He is seen in Psalm 22 as a worshiper. Forsaken, alone, knowing the weight of sin and the crushing judgment of God, His heart was raised in worship as He said, “Our fathers trusted . and Thou didst deliver them.” He owned God as a faithful God Who had kept His word and His trust down through the ages. As to His own plight, He added, “But Thou art holy.” He worshiped the character of God which led to a cross death.
Verse 22 adds His praise on the other side of the cross. “In the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.” On resurrection ground He looked back and praised the hand that had wielded the sword that smote Him. He praised the God Who had crushed Him at Calvary. He would be the great song leader of the Church, the redeemed of Israel, and of the nations. As the perfect Servant, He would direct all praise to God the Father. None would be directed to Himself. Yet God promises at the end of the Psalm that He will make His Name to be remembered throughout all generations and that coming generations would own and attest to His righteousness. He offered praise before, during, and after the cross.
1. The Spirit of God uses Psalm 22:22 in Hebrews 2:12. Notice the changes He makes and why He does it.
2. In light of our meditation, what is significant about the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God for the bread and the cup in the upper room when He instituted the Lord’s Supper?