From Trial to Triumph!
We have been blogging in recent weeks, leading up to Easter, from Psalm 22. We have seen that Psalm 22 is not your typical Psalm. We looked at David describing things that never happened in his life and yet were literally fulfilled a thousand years later in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ hanging on Calvary’s cross. Psalm 22 is called the Psalm of the cross, but it doesn’t end at the cross. I would like to quote a rather lengthy section for us to consider the fact that this is describing the resurrection of the one who suffered and died on the cross. The psalmist begins in verse 22, “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All the descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained 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 will I fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the Lord will praise him – may your hearts live forever!” (Ps.22:22-26 NIV). Just as we have broken down the first 19 verses of this Psalm to see the Lord Jesus Christ hanging on the cross, I think the following verses clearly depict a huge change in the status of the Suffering Servant. Let’s consider some of the overwhelming evidence of the resurrection, as seen in the rest of this Psalm.
The psalmist begins with the declaration that we should praise the character of God. The first words of this Psalm were spoken by Jesus Christ Himself as He hung on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”, and so here, in the above passage, we have words of His resurrection expressively applied to the Lord Jesus Christ. We see this application made in the book of Hebrews where we read, “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, (attributing the words of the psalmist to the Lord Jesus Christ) “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises,” (Heb.2:10-12 NIV). Jesus anticipates happiness and joy in having communion with His people. The phrase “my brothers”, is part of Jesus’ praise for His deliverance from death. Of course, Jesus’ prayer to be delivered from death was answered in a very different way than David’s original prayer had been answered. Jesus was indeed raised from the dead. The joy of this verse and what follows is seen as the Messiah rejoices that His death on the cross was not in vain, but rather achieved its divine purpose. Because of Jesus’ death, He now declares you and I before God to be His brothers and sisters. God the Father shapes the history of Jesus Christ in accordance with His own will. So the Spirit of God used even the utterances of David, given a thousand years earlier concerning the future of the One who would fulfill this Psalm in a much fuller sense. God should be praised in the church, and we should demonstrate our thankfulness to Jesus Christ for what He’s done by prioritizing our relationship with Him and looking for opportunities to serve Him in our world. The psalmist refers to the congregation in verse 22. But who is the congregation who offers the praise of God? All of us who’ve experienced the joy of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ should be lifting up our voices in praise and adoration for God’s great kindness and faithfulness.
In verse 23 the psalmist speaks of fear or reverence for the character of God, but even that aspect of fear should lead us to praising our great God and Savior. The business of Christians, particularly in our worship service, is to praise and glorify God with a holy awe and reverence for His Majesty. Our God is worthy of our praise and adoration, because he has made our salvation possible through Jesus Christ, so that we may enter into a relationship with Him. Reverencing or fearing God is the answer to the ordinary fears that control many people’s lives today. If we have a right fear of God then we don’t have to fear anything else, because we have trusted in the One who controls all things. That is the ultimate reality that you and I live under as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Isaiah 6 when Isaiah was brought into the awesome presence of the God of the universe, he immediately recognized his unworthiness to be in the presence of God, because of the sin of the people and because of his personal sin. But God proceeded to cleanse Isaiah so that he may be of use for the building up of the kingdom of God. Understand our God who cares for us so deeply has made a way for us into His presence. Have you experienced the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in your life? If you have, rejoice in the goodness of God and tell someone your experience of God’s grace. If you’ve never experienced the grace of God found in the Lord Jesus Christ, well what are you waiting for? Not only does Jesus bring peace and guidance in this life but He also has been preparing a place for us to be with Him for the last 2000 years. If it took God six days and six nights to create the universe and all that is in it, imagine what it’s going to be like to be in a place that God has been preparing for us for the last 2000 years. I sure do hope and pray that you will be there!
In the service of the King,
Pastor Rich Sivo