Psalm 22: Incredible prophecies

Do you sometimes wish you could predict with accuracy what's going to happen in the future?

In this psalm, David pours out his heart again to God and we can learn a lot about being honest to God in times when our future is uncertain and God seems absent. 

AND at the same time, God is using David's words of prayer to speak prophetically about Jesus who would come a thousand years after David.  We'll spot some of these prophecies as we go through...
   
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me,
    so far from my cries of anguish?

My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
    by night, but I find no rest. 

Mark, writing a thousand years after David, tells us that Jesus prayed desperately from the cross in his agony...

Mark 15:34
And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’).

When Jesus was dying on the cross and cries out these words of desperation, he's expressing his own anguish but also deliberately quoting David's prayer of anguish in psalm 22!

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
    you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
    they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
 
But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
‘He trusts in the Lord,’ they say,
    ‘let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
    since he delights in him.’
 

Isaiah also prophesied 700 years before Jesus came...

Isaiah 53:3
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

And at the cross, we see Jesus' enemies hurling insults at him just in the way God, through David's prayer, said they would.  In fact, without realising, they almost directly quote it...

Matthew 27:39-44
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!’ In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, “I am the Son of God.”’ In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. 

Yet you brought me out of the womb;
    you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
From birth I was cast on you;
    from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
 
Do not be far from me,
    for trouble is near
    and there is no one to help.
 
Many bulls surround me;
    strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
Roaring lions that tear their prey
    open their mouths wide against me. 
I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint.

Isaiah again prophesied about Jesus...

Isaiah 53:12
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
 
My heart has turned to wax;
    it has melted within me. 

John 19:33-34
But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
    you lay me in the dust of death.
 

John 19:28-29
Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 

Dogs surround me,
    a pack of villains encircles me;
    they pierce my hands and my feet.
All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me. 

This verse seems to predict even the method of execution Jesus endured.  Crucifixion wasn't invented until 500BC by the Persians but here we have a description of hands and feet being pierced, the way they would be when Jesus was killled.

They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.

This one also very clearly came true as Jesus died...

Matthew 27:35
When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 

But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
    You are my strength; come quickly to help me. 
Deliver me from the sword,
    my precious life from the power of the dogs. 
Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
    save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

David's prayer in Psalm 22 is an honest prayer of desperation to God when there is no certainty about what will happen in his immediate situation.  We can learn from this.  If we know God, we know that he wants to hear it all.  He doesn't want pretty prayers.  He wants honest prayers.  

At times in this prayer, David sounds like he doesn't even think God cares about him any more, but we're reading his words IN HIS PRAYER TO GOD ABOUT IT!  

He hasn't stopped telling God everything he feels and that's the point!  However we feel, God wants to hear about it.  He wants us to turn to him and for us to face our worst days with him rather than without him.  Through Jesus, we can do the same today and know God's love even more than David did.

Despite his suffering though, David still has confidence and hope...
 
I will declare your name to my people;
    in the assembly I will praise you. 
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you descendants of Jacob, honour him!
    Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 
For he has not despised or scorned
    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 I will fulfil my vows.
The poor will eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek the Lord will praise him –
    may your hearts live for ever!
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,
    declaring to a people yet unborn:
    He has done it!

This final line also reminds us of Jesus' words from the cross...

John 19:30
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

It's a triumphant cry of accomplishment and even celebration that God has done everything necessary so that people can come to him and be forgiven and restored to relationship with him.    

We can trust an unknown future to a known God - The God who knows the future, reveals what he will do ahead of time, and then does exactly everything he promises to bring people to know and love him through Jesus. 

What do you make of the prophecies about Jesus in this psalm?  Do they point you to Jesus as they do for countless others?  Or do you still have questions you need to ask before you're sure about him?

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