Saturday, January 23, 2010

Psalm 22: HELP! (Part 3)

Sorry it has taken a few days to get back to this. So far, there’s pain, but God is faithful. But life isn’t tidy. It’s messy. The psalmist understands this and, while it seemed like we are crawling out of this pit of despair, we’re going get sucked right back in.

Despite hope, the psalmist faces mockery. We need to prepare for it. Some of you know this. You’ve trusted God and prayed. And your friends or your family think you’re crazy. You’re a fool for trusting God.

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him." Psalm 22.6-8
What’s terrible is that this mockery ruins your psyche, your self-worth. You think you’re a worm, worthless, insignificant. The reality, however, is that you’re a bearer of God’s image, albeit tarnished. Sin has ruined us, but our value remains. You still matter to God.

The mockery could be from outsiders. But it could be the one with whom you’re trying to reconcile. It could be that those you most need support from think your reliance on God is foolish. This is huge. The worst kind of pain often isn’t the impersonal pain we deal with; rather, it’s the inter-personal pain. It’s the wounds of those closest to us.

The contrast is powerful. David has looked to others to strengthen his own faith. Now he’s mocked by others for having faith – even amid the people who are supposed to be following His God. These are presumably the people of Israel. That’s a deep, disappointing pain. That’s tough duty. Let’s keep moving. This is getting depressing.

The tension continues. God is faithful to God’s people. People will mock – and that hurts. So why cry out for HELP!? God has always been there for you from the beginning.

David has scanned the horizon of history. Maybe thinking about the great heroes of Israel’s history. Abraham. Joseph. Moses. Joshua. Ruth. Having larger-than-life heroes is important. They take the lid off of what we think God might be able to do in us as we yield to Him.

But when we focus on the big heroes of history, we forget how God has been the Hero of our story all along. He’s been there for you since the beginning. Read this.

Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's reast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God. Psalm 22.9-10
We look back at our own lives and see those previous crises that God carried us through. But David’s not feeling the love right now. Remember our context. He’s in trouble, but the title of the passage is this feeling of deep abandonment.

Now, if you take the psalm as a whole here, there’s likely some frustration with God here. “God, you taught me how to trust from the moment I was born! I’ve trusted You as long as I can remember. I’ve been faithful to You. Where are You?!”

The psalm cycles again here. God is distant, but He’s faithful to His people. People mock, but I trust God – always have. But, as we continue, there appears to be no benefit in crying out, trusting.

We’ll get back to this in a couple days.

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