June 09, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
Psalm 22:1 Why hast Thou forsaken Me?
Psalm 22:2 The daytime and the night season
Psalm 22:11, 12 None . many
Psalm 22:15, 29 The dust of death . they that go down to dust
Psalm 22 is the Psalm of the great contrast. The first 21 verses are the dark valley of the Savior’s suffering and loneliness. The final 10 verses are about His exaltation, honor, and the fruit of His sufferings. In the first half He is vilified by vile men. In the second part, He is vindicated by a faithful God.
Yet there are additional contrasts within the Psalm worthy of our notice and consideration. In the plaintive and heart rending cry of verse 1 is seen the contrast of One Who was clinging while cast off. “My” God shows Him as the faithful Man Who owns God as His in every trial and whatever the consequence. Satan’s philosophy, as seen in his attack on Job, is that every man has his price. Make the trial severe enough, the price for fidelity great enough, or the time long enough, and every man will eventually disown God. Satan thought he had framed the ultimate trial at Calvary. It was his “hour” to assault the Son of God (Luke 22:53). At the darkest hour, from out of the depths of deepest grief and sorrow, arose a cry to the throne of God owning a relationship and bowing to a Sovereign hand. What honor it brought to God when, from the lips of the Lord Jesus, came the words, “My God”!
Verse 2 highlights another contrast: the day and night seasons. Most think of the Lord Jesus as being punished for three hours for our sins; but this verse teaches that He knew the stroke of divine justice in both the day season and the night. It was a day season yet the darkest night for the Son of God. We do not build New Testament doctrine on Old Testament verses, but we do in this instance have New Testament corroboration. “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” (1 Peter 2:24) “Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree.” (Gal 3:13)While on the tree He was bearing sin; while on the tree, He endured the curse of a broken law. He knew the crushing weight of divine judgment against sin during all six hours on the cross.
None to help, many to hurt! Verses 11 and 12 bring this contrast before us: solitary yet surrounded. None were there to help in any way; yet His foes were many and without number. In Psalm 69 we are told that His enemies were many and mighty (Ps 69:4). “They all forsook Him and fled” is the commentary of the Spirit of God. While John made his way to the cross (John 19:26) he was helpless to do anything but observe and do the Lord’s bidding concerning Mary. There is a sense in which we should be thankful that none of the disciples were apprehended and crucified with Him. Had they been, some heresy would have arisen to claim that they shared in the work of redemption. Alone He endured what our sins and our sinful selves deserved.
The Lord Jesus in His total submission to the will of His God could speak of being “brought . into the dust of death” (v 15). In contrast, verse 29 speaks of those who, due to frail mortality, go down to the dust of death, not able to keep their own souls alive. What a contrast between the faithfulness of the Savior and the frailty of sinners! He chose death; men fight against it. He went because of His obedience; death came upon us all because of disobedience. His beauties thrill our souls; what must they mean to the Father!
Can you find other contrasts in the Psalm? And in Psalm 69, as well?__________________________________________________________