Sermon Notes: "From Suffering to Thanksgiving"--Psalm 22
David the Psalmist
Suffering and Separation
Introduction—Read Psalm 22:1-21
“He that is hanged is accursed of God” (Deuteronomy 21:23)— “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us (or it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”) [Galatians 3:13]
History of Crucifixion
Comparison with Hanging
Process of Crucifixion (MacDowell, A Ready Defense, 221-4).
Type of Psalm: Typico-prophetically messianic
What are some other types? Sacrificial lamb, sacrificial system, Adam (Romans 5:14); the Passover (Christ our Passover, 1 Cor. 5:7); Joseph (his life and Christ’s are analogous); the bronze serpent (John 3: 14-15); the Jewish temple (John 2:19)
Text is divided into three sections, each one beginning with a mention of the perceived spiritual distance the speaker was experiencing in his relationship with God. (“Why are You so far from helping me,” v. 1; “Be not far from me,” v. 11; “But You, O LORD, do not be far from me,” v. 19).
Keep in mind the historical context. As a type of Christ, David experienced similar suffering during his life.
Main Idea: Remembering God’s faithfulness will turn the believer’s felt spiritual and “soulish” suffering into praise and fruitfulness.
I. The speaker/Speaker senses separation from God (vss. 1-5)
A. He complains about an apparently absent God (vv. 1-2).
1. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (v. 1a; cf. Matt. 27:46). Speak it in Aramaic.
Psalmist places it first for emphasis, though Jesus uttered it after He had already experienced all the other pain He was forced to endure.
2 Corinthians 5:21: “He made Him . . .”;
Isaiah 53:10 “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him . . . He made His soul a sin offering.”
2. “Why are You so far from helping me?” v. 1b
Christ “roared” from the cross.
3. He feels God ignores him (v. 2).
Application: Alienation we sometimes feel is very real. See Hebrews 4:15; 5:7
B. He acknowledges God’s holy faithfulness to deliver the faithful (vv. 3-5)
1. “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel” (v. 3).—Contrast with perception that He had abandoned him. He is the King in their midst.
2. “Our fathers trusted . . . they cried . . . You delivered them . . . they were delivered . . . they were not ashamed” (vv. 4-5)—the period of the Exodus?
Transition: While he sees God as the holy Savior who is faithful to His own . . .
Rejection and Remembrance
II. The speaker/Speaker recognizes his rejection by men (vv. 6-10).
A. He confesses his/His insignificance (v. 6)
1. “But I am a worm”; contrast with the faithful ones or with Yahweh?
2. “A Reproach of men”
3. “Despised by the people” (cf. Is. 53:3- “He is despised and rejected by men”)
B. He becomes the object of ridicule (vv. 7-8).
1. Actions of persecutors (v. 7; cf. Mt. 27:39)
a. “shoot out the lip”—“open mouth wide insultingly”
b. “shake the head”—“wagging”: a Near Eastern gesture of scorn and mockery
2. Facetious words of enemies (v. 8; cf. Mt. 27:43)
a. “trusted in the LORD”—lit. rolled himself (commitment)
b. “Let him rescue/deliver”
c. “He delights in him”—Matt. 27:43 adds, “For He said, “I am the Son of God.”
C. He remembers God’s care for him early in life (vv. 9-10)
1. Actions of God
a. “But You are He who took me out of the womb”--Contrast
b. “made me trust”—batak—to rely on, to find security in (taught while weaning)
a. “was cast upon You from birth”—a complete surrender, a commitment
b. “have been my God”
While spiritual abandonment is the ultimate suffering . . .
III. The speaker/Speaker also experiences “soulish” (emotional and physical) trials (vss. 11-18)
A. He senses no protection from physical danger (v. 11)
1. “Be not far from me” (v. 11a)
2. “Trouble is near” (v. 11b)
3. “There is none to help” (v. 11c)—Fear, loneliness
B. He compares his enemies to vicious animals (vv. 12-13, 16)
1. “bulls . . . surrounded Me” “encircled Me” (v. 12)
2. Resemble “raging and roaring lions who gape” (v. 13). While Jesus “roared” from the cross, His enemies roared from below.
3. “dogs . . . surrounded Me” (v. 16)—“Gentiles”
4. “congregation of the wicked” “enclosed Me” (v. 16)
C. He describes his physical tortures and indignities (vv. 14-18)—Panel 7
1. Physical tortures (vv. 14-17a)
a. “poured out like water”
b. “all my bones are out of joint”
c. “heart is like wax”
d. “strength dried up like shard of pottery”
e. “tongue cleaves to my jaws”
f. You have brought me to the “dust of death”
g. “pierced My hands and my feet”
Josh McDowell cites Justin Martyr (c. 150) who informed Emperor Antoninus Pius of the fulfillment of Psalm 22:16—“They pierced my hands and my feet. [See McDowell 192].
h. “count all My bones”
2. Physical indignities (vv. 17b-18)
a. looked at and stared at—especially in verses stressing pleasure, exultation and triumph
b. “divide My garments”
c. “clothing they cast lots”
Despite his/His utter desolation, he still seeks the LORD’s salvation.
IV. The speaker/Speaker looks to God and receives help (vss. 19-21)
A. He petitions the LORD (vv. 19-21a)
1. Do not be far
“But You, O LORD, do not be far from me” (v. 19a)—Contrast—Review contrasts—Panel 8
2. Hasten to help
“O My Strength, hasten to help Me” (v. 19b)
3. Deliver me/my precious life (v. 20)
a. “From the sword”
b. “From the power of the dog”
4. Save me (v. 21)
a. “From the lion’s mouth”
b. “From the horns of the wild oxen”
B. He receives an answer to his prayer (v. 21b)
Praise God for Deliverance from Death
Introduce Definitions of Terms (Psalm 22:22-31)
I. The Speaker promises to praise the LORD for His deliverance (vv. 22-3)—Individual Worshiper (In what way was Christ “delivered”?)
A. He Himself will publicly declare the LORD’s “name” to the assembly of His brethren (v. 22). NKJV capitalizes “M”
B. He will command others to praise/glorify/fear Him (v. 23)
1. You who fear the LORD-->praise
2. The “seed” of Jacob-->glorify
3. All offspring of Israel-->fear
TS: Vs. 24 begins with “for,” indicating why He will praise Him.
II. The Speaker explains why He will praise Him (v. 24).
A. The LORD has neither despised nor abhorred the affliction of the Afflicted (the Speaker)
B. The LORD has not hidden His face from Him
C. The LORD “heard” His cry
TS: Vs. 25 repeats the same idea broached in verse 22.
III. Others will join the Speaker as He fulfills His vow to praise Him in the assembly (vv. 25-27).—Second Group
A. Those who fear the LORD will witness this event.
B. The poor (afflicted) will eat and be satisfied at this event.
C. The seekers of Yahweh will fulfill their promise of praise
D. The ends of the earth will worship Him (v. 27)
1. They will remember and turn to the LORD.
2. The families of the Gentiles will worship Him.
TS: Vs. 28 begins with “for,” indicating why they will praise Him.
IV. The speaker explains why they will praise Him (v. 28).
A. The kingdom belongs to the LORD.
B. The LORD rules (present tense) over the Gentiles
TS: Vs. 29 continues the list of worshipers of Yahweh.
V. Still others will give homage to Yahweh (vv. 29-31)—Third Group
A. The prosperous shall eat and worship (Cf. the “poor” in v. 26).
B. Those who “go down to the dust” shall bow down.
C. A posterity will serve the LORD (vv. 30-31)
1. It will hear of the LORD’s salvation from “they” (v. 31).
2. It will declare His righteousness to those not yet born
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