My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?-
In many ways this is the most amazing of all the psalms. In it we have a picture of the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus painted by the psalmist David one thousand years before Jesus Christ was born. It constitutes one of the most amazing predictions of all time.
At least nine specific events or aspects of the crucifixion are described here in minute detail. All of them were fulfilled during the six hours in which Jesus hung upon the cross. Moreover, the latter part of the psalm clearly depicts the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The probability that the predictions of these nine events would be fulfilled by chance in one person, on one afternoon is inconceivably small. The chance that all this could occur by accident is beyond any realm of possibility our minds could imagine. Yet all was fulfilled as predicted in this amazing psalm.
It is common knowledge that on November 22, 1963, President John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, while riding down a Dallas street in a car. Suppose there had been in existence a document that predicted this event, and we knew it had been written in AD 963. That was about the time of the height of the Byzantine Empire, when most of the Western world was ruled from Constantinople, much of Europe was only sparsely inhabited by barbarian tribes, and America was not yet discovered.
Suppose that a document had been prepared in that ancient day that predicted that a time would come when a man of great prominence, head of a great nation, would be riding down a street of a large city in a metal chariot not drawn by horses and would suddenly and violently die as a little piece of metal hurled from a weapon made of wood and iron penetrated his brain. This weapon would be aimed at him from the window of a tall building, and his death would have worldwide effect and cause worldwide mourning. You can imagine with what awe such a document would be viewed today. Such a prediction would be similar to what we have in Psalm 22. That hypothetical prediction would have been made even before the invention of the automobile or firearms and five hundred years before the discovery of America. It would be regarded as fantastically accurate. Yet we have that very sort of thing in this psalm.
The psalm has two major divisions. The first twenty-one verses recount for us the torments of an unknown sufferer who is entirely alone and is crying out to God in His agony. Many scholars assert that these first twenty-one verses represent the thoughts that went through the mind of the Savior as He hung upon the cross and suffered there. From verse twenty-two to the end the sufferer is no longer alone but is in the midst of a large company and is praising God and shouting in victory. It ends with His claiming the worship of the entire world.
Lord Jesus, it is unfathomable to me what You endured on the cross. Thank You for Your willingness to suffer and die. I worship you as my Savior and Lord.
Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotion is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. taken from: www.RayStedman.org
Please join us on Sunday when Kurtis Smith will be our Guest Speaker during worship service.
The Psalms help us live a continuous life of worship to God! God wants us to live in a 24/7 authenticity. He gives us all we need to not get caught up in pretense and to not fall into the trap of compartmentalizing God. And as God’s people start living a life of worship then everything changes… Sunday’s are different! The Sunday Worship gathering experience becomes an overflow, not a show or a tradition. We live…
I don’t believe anyone understood this better than the Jews. They knew what it was to
worship as a lifestyle. In fact, they have a whole book describing their worship journeys – the book of Psalms. It is the history of their life of worship! It is full of personal worship and corporate worship – it is a book about how they celebrated God in an authentic way, 24/7!
In Psalms you have, in poetic and musical form, the history of the Hebrew people. From Moses to David and beyond, much of the feeling behind the events is contained in this “journaling.” You see, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, as well as 1 & 2 Chronicles contain the events; Psalms contains the heart cries. And these writings – many of which are prayers, praises, and songs – were written as a response to the everyday occurrences going on in their life and nation. Psalms is a peek into how these people lived before God, such as…
…how they responded to him in times of tragedy (Psalm 88 and 91)
…how they praised him in times of victory (Psalms 92 and 66)
…how they conversed with him in times of confusion and anger (Psalms 73 and 58)
…how they cared for each other in times of need (Psalm 23, 37 and 42)
…how they repented and confessed in times of disobedience (Psalm 32 and 51)
…how they found God in times of loneliness (Psalms 71 and 62)
...how they felt about the law of God (Psalm 119)
Just to name a few! Why are the Psalms so popular? I think it is because they are so personal. In the books of Samuel we read of mighty King David’s many exploits and battles, but it is in the Psalms that we hear David’s heart crying out to God in weakness and trembling. The Psalms are humanity’s cry to God, but they are also God’s answer to our cries.
The Psalms are the soul songs of life. They are honest and they connect us to our God.
Singing together God’s Songs,
I am writing this from Inspiration Point Bible camp where I am spending a few days teaching a group of young adults. It is really exciting for me to see their passion for serving the Lord. They want their lives to matter so they have chosen to “take a year off” from the usual school / job combo and be equipped for a life of service. The group really has a good time serving and growing together.
I mention this because it ties into a key component of our Scripture passage for this upcoming Sunday’s message. Israel is in a tough place due to poor leadership and poor decisions by the country as a whole. Israel has decided along with King Ahab and Queen Jezebel to worship the God of Israel to a point along with the worshiping of false gods. The king and queen hated Elijah because he spoke against their false worship and their immorality. Elijah was a pain in the neck for the royals!
King Ahab was attempting to track down Elijah to take care of him once and for all. In the end, Elijah came to him so that there would be a confrontation between the One True God and the pantheon of false gods along with 850 false prophets of Ahab. But before the ensuing battle Scripture records the following words for us to consider today.
The words of Elijah come to us today and we are reminded to enjoy life worshiping the one true God and no other. God loves us too much to sit by and let us waste our worship and our lives. He is a “jealous God” that will not share his place with anyone or anything. We need to consider whether or not we are “wavering between two opinions”. I tragically believe that this simple phrase is a true descriptor for many in the Church today.
My hope is that the singular passion for God Almighty I have encountered with the students I taught this week would also be present in an ever growing number of lives at Oak Hill Church. I pray that when we are confronted by these words we do not copy the silence of the Israelites. Instead we join our voices together and we proclaim “We will follow Jesus Christ – He alone is the one we follow.”
In Grace and Truth,
I really enjoy when things go well. I like when my plans go just as expected and there is very little in my life that generates stress. When my kids are all having a good week I find it much easier for me to have a good week. If my wife is laughing I find smiles come to my face easier as well. When the bills are being paid and the car is out of the shop life seems pretty good. Can you relate to this at all? I am guessing you know what I mean.
As nice as it is when my life is “going well” there is a built in danger. We can see this in the life of King Solomon, David’s son and the third king of Israel. His father’s warrior ways had created safe borders and Solomon reigned over a time of peace and prosperity. Solomon’s wealth was known through-out the world. He was also the one that built an amazing temple for the God of Israel. In addition to this Solomon was given wisdom by God so that he was the wisest man in the world. What a life! What a setting for Solomon to reign.
The problem is that Solomon “drifted.” Even though he was so wise he chose to be influenced by other people instead of by God – that was not very wise. He didn’t use the wisdom God had given to him. He chose to look elsewhere for meaning, purpose and the answers to life’s biggest questions. In the process of ruling over Israel Solomon began to think that he needed to “build his own kingdom” or find his own meaning to life instead of just being about God’s business.
Solomon was an amazing statesman so he created many connections with surrounding nations during this time of peace. This should have been an opportunity to influence these other countries as Solomon worshiped the God of Israel and shared the God of all creation as the opportunities presented themselves. But it appears that the influence worked the other way around as Solomon married many foreign wives [I Kings 11.1-8] and in time actually worshiped their false gods.
In the midst of all Solomon’s wealth, fame and “wisdom notoriety” he became an empty man. This is what happens no matter how good things look when God becomes an after-thought. God alone is able to fill our souls and meet the desires of our hearts. It is only when we rest in His gifts that we stop chasing what will never truly deliver meaning and peace. This “chasing after…” is what the book of Ecclesiastes is all about.
Ecclesiastes tells us in 1.2 “Vanity of vanities… All is vanity.” What he means by this simple statement is that he has tried to find meaning, joy and satisfaction in everything the world has to offer outside of God and found it wanting. The book goes on for twelve chapters describing the pursuits and the eventual dead ends. The book concludes with true wisdom!
8 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
“Everything is meaningless!”
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
Seeking God’s Wisdom,
Pastor Nick Mundis