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Psalm 22:1-11

The Messiah in His Great Passion.

A PROPHECY OF THE MESSIAH’S SUFFERING. — To the chief musician upon Aiyeleth Shachar, that is, “Of the hind of the dawn,” a psalm of David. The words “Of the hind of the dawn” refer either to the melody or chant according to which this psalm was to be rendered, or they summarize the contents. As the hind is the emblem of the hunted soul panting for deliverance, so the dawn pictures the deliverance which follows the dark night of misery and wretchedness. In the humiliation of His great Passion, Christ was like the hind; in the exaltation following His overthrow of the enemies of mankind the rich beauty of the eternal morning dawned over Him. 

V. 1. My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? Here the speaker, the Messiah, speaking through the prophecy of His servant David, plunges immediately into the midst of His bitter cry of anguish which marked the climax of His suffering on the cross. Prophecy and fulfillment come together here; we are taken fully a thousand years into the future to Calvary, the Mount of Suffering. There it was that Christ cried out these words, as He felt the damnation of hell closing in upon Him, Matt. 27, 45. 46. It was not only the fatherly love of God, His heavenly Father and King, which had been withdrawn from Christ in those terrible hours of unspeakable suffering, but His very goodness had likewise forsaken Him. Without the slightest comfort and consolation He endured the tortures of the damned. 

So unfathomably deep was that suffering that the Messiah Himself felt constrained to ask, Why? The counsel of God; with which He had from eternity declared Himself in complete harmony, was, for the time being, hidden from His consciousness. And yet He clings to God as to His God and Father, His cry of excruciating misery thereby proving the almighty call of victory wherewith the Messiah conquered hell and all its hosts. 

Why art Thou so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? Rather, Far from My help are the words of My roaring. The Messiah’s heartrending cry over His being forsaken by God is here explained and further extended. The cry of His pain and torture assumed the nature of a roaring; it rose up on high, during an eternity of agony, without, however, bringing Him help. V. 2. O My God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. There was no rest, no easement, no repose, for the suffering Messiah; He must drink the cup of God’s anger to its very dregs. 

V. 3. But Thou art holy, and His holiness is acknowledged by the Messiah even in the depths of His suffering, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel, praised in all of Israel’s hymns of thanksgiving, magnified by all true believers. V. 4. Our fathers trusted in Thee; they trusted, and Thou didst deliver them, showing His mighty deliverance time and again. V. 5. They cried unto Thee and were delivered, they escaped the threatened danger, the attacks of the enemies; they trusted in Thee and were not confounded, they did not harbor vain hopes when they placed their trust in Yahweh. 

But the Messiah is constrained to cry out, by way of contrast, v. 6. But I am a worm and no man, He is like a worm which has been stepped on and winds back and forth in pain; He no longer resembles a man, a human being, His sufferings being more than human nature could endure; a reproach of men, and despised of the people, heaped with shame and contempt during the entire period of His suffering. 

V. 7. All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn, making Him a target of their blasphemous mockery, cp. Luke 23, 35; they shoot out the lip, in a grimace conveying their contempt; they shake the head, wagging it in a gesture denoting their doubt as to His being in His right mind, saying, v. 8. He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver Him, literally, “Roll it upon Yahweh,” jeeringly urging Christ to cast His troubles upon the Lord; let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him. That was the bitter, blasphemous irony and mockery which the Jews flung at Christ there on Calvary’s mount, taunting Him with being a cursed criminal, forsaken of God. 

V. 9. But Thou art He that took Me out of the womb, the unshaken trust of the Messiah in the God of His salvation appearing here; Thou didst make Me hope, causing Him to trust with full confidence, when I was upon My mother’s breasts, in earliest infancy. V. 10. I was cast upon Thee from the womb, from His birth; Thou art My God from My mother’s belly, His heavenly Father’s care having enveloped and kept Him during His entire life, thus giving Him evidence that He was His God, His highest and most precious Treasure. 

Note that the human mother of Christ is referred to four times in this passage, and it is remarkable that in the entire Old Testament a human father is never mentioned or suggested, only a mother, Is. 7, 14; Gen. 3, 15. 

The fact that God is still His God causes the Messiah once more to turn to Him with an imploring cry. V. 11. Be not far from Me, for trouble is near, a most terrible distress was threatening; for there is none to help, no human being, no creature, to bring Him relief. Instead of finding helpers among men in the world, the very opposite holds true.