Thursday, April 9, 2009

M. Thursday Psalm 22:22-31

Father, when your Son was handed over to torture and felt abandoned by you, he cried out from the cross. Then death was destroyed, and life was restored. By his death and resurrection save the poor, lift up the downtrodden, break the chains of the oppressed, that your Church may sing your praises; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 22 describes the sufferings of a righteous person in language which anticipates the death of Jesus. The psalmist shows a profound understanding of the suffering of an innocent person and his feelings of desolation and being forsaken not only by other people but also by God. The despair in this poetry cuts to our heart. Yet this is not just a passion psalm but also a resurrection psalm for there is a pronouncement of vindication and a change of tone from doom to hope from verse 23. As we celebrate the death of Jesus, we look forward to the resurrection.

Unlike Jesus’ friends in Jerusalem on that Friday, we know the ending of the story. We know why Jesus had to die, for we know that in that death God was able to reveal his power over all sin and death and his love for us and all people. So today, we do not just mourn the death of Jesus, we celebrate his death for in it is the power and wisdom of God.

Psalm 22 speaks of the pardon procured by the blood of Jesus Christ.


A. GOD BE PRAISED! (22-25) I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you.

From v22 onward we see an immense transformation from despair to assurance of deliverance. Yet despite all that David still cries to the Lord for help. David still calls Lord, “My Strength”. And the most wonderful thing is that the Lord hears and acts.

From v22 onwards the tone changes from agony to triumph. Our Lord knew and we now know that such a triumph was not until He had bore the fullness of the wrath of God

1. The sufferer will praise God.

a. Proclaiming His name to his brethren.

b. Praising Him in the middle of the assembly.

2. Let those who fear God praise Him.

a. Let the descendants of Jacob honor Him.

b. Let the descendants of Israel stand in awe of Him. What does the psalmist promise to do in response to God's deliverance? - He will declare God's name to his brethren - He will praise God in the midst of the congregation. In Hebrews 2:11-12 we read, Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." - He will pay his vows in the presence of those who fear Him

3. Reasons for such praise.

a. God has not despised or abhorred his affliction.

b. God has not hidden His face from him, but hearkened to his cry.

4. The sufferer will praise God and pay his vows.

a. In the great assembly.

b. Before them that fear Him.

B. GOD BE WORSHIPPED! (26-31) The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him—may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn— for he has done it.

As the psalm nears its end, David tells us of eight things that will happen? - The poor will eat and be satisfied - Those who seek God will praise Him - All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord - All the families of the nations shall worship before Him - All the prosperous of the earth shall eat and worship - All who go down to the dust shall bow before Him - A posterity shall serve Him - God's deliverance and righteousness will be recounted to the next generation, even those who are yet unborn

1. By the meek, and those that seek the Lord.

a. They shall be eat and be satisfied.

b. They shall praise Him.

2. By those from the ends of the earth.

a. Who shall bear these things in mind and return to the Lord.

b. All families of the nations will bow down before Him.

c. For the kingdom is the Lord's, and He is the Ruler among the nations.

3. By the prosperous and the dead.

a. The prosperous will eat, and worship Him.

b. The dying shall bow before Him.

4. By the generations to come.

a. Posterity shall serve him.

b. For men shall tell of what God has done.

c. People yet born shall hear of God's justice.

The final words of the Psalm are “For He has done it.” And what are the final words from Jesus on the cross? It is finished…..It is done.

As we approach this Easter we need to remember that God the Son choose that death for us. He knew what it would mean to give His life a ransom for many. He did it all for us. What are we doing for Him? What are we enduring for Him? What are we giving to Him? In light of Psalm 22 let us prepare not by giving up but by adding, adding to our prayer life not just extra time, but extra depth and intensity Let us add that praying that this Easter many will know the real story behind the cross and resurrection and turn to Jesus as their Lord and savior.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

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