The middle of Psalm 22 recalls suffering that have been likened to Jesus’ crucifixion, although the verse 16 interpreted as piercing of the hands and feet is a more recent Christian interpretation of unclear ancient Hebrew that has been interpreted in the Jewish bible as well as others as withered hands and feet. But we don’t need to force parallel details to draw the important comparison of someone being ridiculed and tortured by people who not only disrespect him, but disrespected his God or that God even cares about him. Importantly, the Psalm doesn’t stop there! Starting in verse 22 the Psalmist switches to praise as they are rescued by God. So, if Jesus pointed to this Psalm on the cross, he also was leading us to see that despair isn’t the end of the story and that God will, and did, come through.
Reading Psalm 22:6-31
Reflection: 22:24 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.
The sudden change from the personal cry for help and the third person praise for God’s help is confusing, until we see the last line “They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!” The Psalmist sees their job as setting to words the story of the redeeming God. Turning to God, even in the midst of defeat and despair, was vindicated by God’s mercy and deliverance. Is this relevant in our more mundane lives of daily struggles? We hope never to feel as low as this Psalmist did, but the daily struggles and worries can wear us down. This Psalm says that it is during these times that we have to double down in our relationship with God- complaining and crying if necessary, but also remembering to praise all the wonders of God and that our faith will be rewarded with God’s love and support.