When Jesus was crucified on His Cross, the last words He spoke before he died are extraordinary examples of what was in His heart. Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” This is one of the most passionate and intense moments in the entire Scripture—the Son of God crying out the opening verse of Psalm 22.
The Psalm on the Cross is a guide to Psalm 22, and it is framed by a single assumption, that Jesus meant more than just the opening verse. Jesus had the entire psalm on His mind and in His heart. “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” was the overture for everything else that is written in this psalm of suffering and, as we see, this song of victory. All 31 verses of Psalm 22 express the full intent of what Jesus meant when he spoke the first verse.
The Psalm on the Cross gives the reader a unique privilege to be close to Jesus’s heart as He dies. As we read through this Psalm and tell the story of His Cross, we will be able to think what He thought about on that lonely cross, and to feel the depth of His emotion, His commitment, and—in the end—His joy.
The Psalm on the Cross will take us on a journey into the heart of our Savior.
Here is an excerpt from one of the last chapters in the book.
Chapter 24: Satisfaction
The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the LORD!
May your hearts live forever! (vs. 26)
This section of our psalm is teeming with good news and joy! Every single verse is telling us something hopeful and wonderful about the nature of God and our life with Him. And in verse 26, we discover yet another wonderful aspect of God’s care and provision for us.
First, we see that the afflicted shall eat and find satisfaction. This is a sign of God’s generous outpouring of provision. The afflicted are not given mere morsels to eat or thrown a few crumbs and told to make it on their own. A lavish banquet awaits them. They shall eat to their own fullness and satisfaction. This metaphor doesn’t have the power it did in the ancient world. Our grocery stores are overstocked with food. But for thousands of years, finding enough food to eat every day was everyone’s primary concern. Verse 26 promises an end to that daily frustration of hunger. There is plenty of food; enough food to be satisfied.
Jesus demonstrated this in His teaching and ministry of miraculous provision. All four Gospels record the miracle of the loaves and fish. Recall that there was a great crowd of people who had followed Jesus out into the countryside to listen to His teaching. When they grew hungry, the disciples were eager to send them away to find their own food. Jesus, however, challenged them to provide a meal for thousands of people.
When the disciples failed, Jesus miraculously provided meals for the entire assembly. The people ate until they were satisfied, and still there were basketfuls of food left over. God is not cheap or stingy!
Secondly, we learn that God’s nature is not to hide from us. In fact, Psalm 22 shows us that those who seek Him shall find Him and then praise Him. There need be no frustration about this either. Those who seek will find! In fact, it is fair to say that frustration in finding God or anxiety about remaining close to God should be very rare in the life of a believer. Remember that Jesus spoke about this. The 18th-century poet Christopher Smart paraphrased one of Jesus’s most famous sayings this way:
Where ask is have, where seek is find,
Where knock is open wide.
This underscores the biblical truth that God does not hide from us. If we seek Him, we will find Him. James has the same thought: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
This is why the death of Jesus brings us so much hope. Just as He, in his affliction, sought God and was satisfied, so too will we be fed by our Creator. The psalm says to those who are hungry and those who are seeking, “May your hearts live forever!” This is the promise of eternal life, made possible by the mercy of God through the cross of Jesus.”
Consider and Comment:
1. Which line or phrase in this chapter has something to say to you? Why?
2. How does this specific verse reflect the nature of God?
3. The miracle of the loaves and fish is the only miracle that is recorded in all four Gospel accounts. Why was this miracle so central to Jesus’s ministry?
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