- This I Believe
- All Praise To Him
- Great Is Thy Faithfulness
- IntroductionGood morning and welcome to Dishman Baptist Church. If I were one given to melodramatics I would preach this sermon this morning without shoes on. Because, as one commentator wrote, we truly are coming to holy ground this morning.Before I get any further into that, if you are joining us this morning for the first time we’ve been looking through a category of Psalms known as the Messianic Psalms. Two weeks ago we looked at Psalm 2 and we saw how pathetically the nations rage, the sovereignty of God, the Son who speaks what His Father has given Him to say and has been enthroned and then how that impacts us here today in Spokane Valley in the 21st Century.Last week we looked at the 8th Psalm and how that Psalm gave us a picture of the magnificence of God and His magnificent name. In fact the Psalm starts and ends in the same powerful mannerLord, our Lord, how magnificent is your name throughout the earth! You have covered the heavens with your majesty.And what we discovered is that His magnificence is most clearly revealed in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.But this morning we’ve come to the singular event that splits all of history. We stand on the very hill of Golgotha and there in the distance a man hangs on a cross. This Psalm is going to give us a picture of the inner dialogue of Christ as He hangs there. If this Psalm were portrayed in a movie scene we would see Him hanging and as the opening lines are said we would zoom in for a time, all the way into His eye as a flashback happens which would serve as a prelude, and then back out for the crucifixion itself, then the hope of the resurrection and the promise of ultimate victory at His second coming and finally there is the postlude and what it means for us. In fact that is our outline for this morning - the prelude, the crucifixion, the resurrection and finally the postlude. But before we go any further lets open our Bibles and read this most excellent Psalm together. I know this is a bit unusual but would you stand with me as we read through this most sacred passage of Scripture.For the choir director: according to “The Deer of the Dawn.” A psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning? My God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, by night, yet I have no rest. But you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in you; they trusted, and you rescued them. They cried to you and were set free; they trusted in you and were not disgraced. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by people. Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads: “He relies on the Lord; let him save him; let the Lord rescue him, since he takes pleasure in him.” It was you who brought me out of the womb, making me secure at my mother’s breast. I was given over to you at birth; you have been my God from my mother’s womb. Don’t be far from me, because distress is near and there’s no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong ones of Bashan encircle me. They open their mouths against me— lions, mauling and roaring. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed; my heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength is dried up like baked clay; my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You put me into the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me; they pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me. They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. But you, Lord, don’t be far away. My strength, come quickly to help me. Rescue my life from the sword, my only life from the power of these dogs. Save me from the lion’s mouth, from the horns of wild oxen. You answered me! I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters; I will praise you in the assembly. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! All you descendants of Israel, revere him! For he has not despised or abhorred the torment of the oppressed. He did not hide his face from him but listened when he cried to him for help. I will give praise in the great assembly because of you; I will fulfill my vows before those who fear you. The humble will eat and be satisfied; those 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. All the families of the nations will bow down before you, for kingship belongs to the Lord; he rules the nations. All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down; all those who go down to the dust will kneel before him— even the one who cannot preserve his life. Their descendants will serve him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. They will come and declare his righteousness; to a people yet to be born they will declare what he has done.The PreludePsalm 22:1-5;The Psalmist starts off with a phrase we all know - My God, my God why have you abandoned me? This entire opening line seems off to us. Almost strange. God has abandoned one of His own. How could this be? Isn’t this the same God who will later say that I will never leave you or forsake you? Isn’t this the same God that promised the Israelites that He would never leave them?Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For the Lord your God is the one who will go with you; he will not leave you or abandon you.”and then againThe Lord is the one who will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”The writer to Hebrews would promise his readersKeep your life free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.So this is a call of desperation - God where are you? Why have you left me here like this? It’s almost an accusation - You promised me, You put me here and now You’ve forsaken me? I cry to You but there is no rest. And this is where the flashback comes in - as the speaker looks back over the history of the broken nation of Israel and sees that God has always come to their aid.First he starts with an assertion of God’s holiness. This is the primary attribute of God’s character from which all else flows. Charles Spurgeon said it this way“In holiness God is more clearly seen than in anything else save in the person of Christ Jesus, the Lord, of whose life such holiness is but a repetition.”It is this attribute that God chose to describe Himself to the Israelites when He was delivering His expectations to them for them to be His representatives on earthFor I am the Lord your God, so you must consecrate yourselves and be holy because I am holy. Do not defile yourselves by any swarming creature that crawls on the ground. For I am the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God, so you must be holy because I am holy.And the speaker rightly recognizes that God is enthroned upon the praises of Israel. The writing of this psalm would predate the building of the temple in Jerusalem so the picture the writer has in mind is the descent of God upon the tabernacle in the desert.The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was unable to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud rested on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.And this was a great source of trust for the people. The writer says that they trusted and You rescued them. They cried to You and were set free; they trusted in You and were not disgraced. There are echoes here of the Exodus from Egypt - which was the singular formative event in the history of Israel. Whenever Israel looked back to what God had done for them it always started with the Exodus. But there are also echoes here from the time of the Judges - that great and tragic story of the apostasy of Israel during that 400 year span from Joshua’s death to the time of Samuel and the eventual request for a king to rule over them as a nation. Repeatedly throughout that time in Israel’s history the people would repudiate God and His laws and would be persecuted by surrounding nations. Over and over again they would cry out to God for relief and He would raise up a judge that would rescue them for a time. Only for them to again turn their backs on Him so much so that the end of the book chronicling this period in Israel tells usIn those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever seemed right to him.It is so strange now that this man, this speaker, is completely forsaken and forgotten by God. It is out of God’s character to turn His back on one so comprehensively. Yet this is the picture that we are given here. This man is absolutely desperate in his desire for God and yet so utterly destitute in His rejection by God.The CrucifixionPsalm 22:6-21a;And so we are ushered in to the main event described by this Psalm. This poor wretch has been abandoned by God and he’s also been abandoned by anyone who might have helped Him. This is truly a pitiful soul. Even Job had counselors and those who sought to commiserate with him in his grief - as pathetic and ill intentioned as they turned out to be - but this man he is looked at as lower than a worm. He is viewed as so low that you would step on him with your shoe and not even notice, not even be bothered enough to wipe it off as it will come off as you go.He is openly mocked. The abandonment by God is brought even more into stark contrast to the derisive nature of the enemies who have surrounded Him. They mock him saying that He had relied on the Lord and that if the Lord truly took pleasure in Him that He would rescue Him.And so He appeals within Himself again. The Psalmist turns from lament - the woe is me and my situation - to prayer as He calls out once more. This is what You destined me for God. You put me here. You watched over me from birth and cared for me. Now, in this moment of direst need, don’t be far from me - and yet the answer is silence. Well, silence from God. The answer is the animalistic rage of His enemies as they surround Him in His plight.I’ve been around some bulls in my life. And they are not nice creatures. I had a friend once who was stomped by a bull and lost his spleen and half his pancreas. I’ve been kicked. They are not kind. The bulls of Bashan were the fattest and largest cattle produced in all of Israel. It is to these strong bulls that the psalmist compares his opponents. It is to lions that roar and maul.He is so pressed upon that he is being poured out like water and his bones are out of joint. His organs are melting like wax under the intensity of their attacks. He says that his strength is failing him and that his tongue sticks to the roof of his mouth. This man is in the throes of death. This is not simply a complaint - this is deep seated terror, emotional, physical and mental anguish that is being wrought upon this man. He feels the dust of death encroaching upon his soul.As if the bulls and the lions were not enough he is encroached upon by dogs who take his clothing and divide it right in front of him. It is clear that His enemies have full intention to kill Him.He makes one last desperate appeal that the Lord would come and save Him from those who were encircling Him - from the dogs, the bulls and the lions who were seeking his life. And then there is a seeming pause - it’s almost a pregnant pause as if time is frozen just for an instant that seems to last forever...The ResurrectionPsalm 22:21b-26;And the Psalmist begins to rejoice. You answered me! Just hear the relief, the utter joy in those words. The God who was silent, the God who had apparently forsaken Him, the God who was distant had come near. And His instant reaction is ebullient praise. He can’t help but call out to His brothers and sisters to praise God. He can’t help but to proclaim the name and the glory of the God who has saved Him from certain annihilation.He proclaims not only God’s glory but also His faithfulness. That He does not despise or abhor the oppressed. That He does indeed listen to those who cry out and seek Him.And for this reason the Psalmist says that He will praise Him in the assemblies. That he will fulfill his vows and that those who seek the Lord have the promise of eternal life.The PostludePsalm 22:27-31;The Psalmist then takes his eyes off of his own praise and glorifying of God and looks outward to the nations. To the ends of the earth that God will be remembered and turned back to. That the families will bow down and will praise Him. And that there will be a generational impact as generation after generation will be told about the Lord and will declare what He has done.ConclusionHow could we fail to see that this is a foreshadowing of the crucifixion? It is interesting that it is the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who scorned Christ in exactly the way that is described in this Psalm. They of all people should have realized how perfectly they were fulfilling the words of this Psalm.Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!”And appeal that is made - this is what You destined me for. From the moment Christ was born He always lived in the shadow of the cross. Throughout the book of John one of the primary themes that comes out was the idea of His time and the fulfillment of the time that He had come for.Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,And it is here, on Golgotha, the time that this Psalm so clearly points to, that Christ would most glorify God.The Jews were the bulls and the lions but they didn’t have the power to put Him to death and so they turned Him over to the Gentile Romans - the dogs that did have the power. This Psalm written hundreds of years before Rome describes a form of torturous death that didn’t even exist when the Psalmist took up his pen. And it was a necessary death - it was the only way that your sins and my sins could be paid for. When He cried out from the cross “Why have you forsaken me?” He was robbing the very words from our mouths. He was taking them from where they should have been by right because in our sin God should have forsaken us. He was made of no account for us. He was made to feel the complete and total wrath of God for our deliverance. He was made to feel the complete alienation that no one else in history has ever had to feel.You see there is a significant difference between the Psalm that was written and the scene that it points to and that is in the method in which deliverance is provided. In the Psalm, for the original writer, the deliverance was from death. For Christ, and for us, the deliverance was through death. For it was by His death that He ushered in the praise that is so prominent in the end of this Psalm. It is through Christ’s death that we come to praise God and to extol His name.It was the singular most significant moment in history.
The hour that produced the cross is the central, pivotal point, of history and God always knew about it, the Lord came for that hour.
246No scene in sacred history ever gladdens the soul like the scene on Calvary. Nowhere does the soul find such consolation as on that very spot where misery reigned, where woe triumphed, where agony reached its climax.The end of this Psalm sums up well for us our responsibility to the events that took place on Golgotha that day - to the payment that was effected on the cross for us.All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord. All the families of the nations will bow down before you, for kingship belongs to the Lord; he rules the nations. All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down; all those who go down to the dust will kneel before him— even the one who cannot preserve his life. Their descendants will serve him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. They will come and declare his righteousness; to a people yet to be born they will declare what he has done.We are that generation who must declare His righteousness - to the people who are alive now and to a people yet to be born. He suffered the punishment that we deserved
- Revelation Song
1 Thessalonians 5:23CSB
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