Background Along with the shepherd of Psalm 23, Psalm 22 is perhaps the most interpreted by Christian’s as being about Christ. The Psalmist didn’t mean it that way and was speaking from the depths of personal despair or perhaps reflecting on the trials of King David (or if David wrote it maybe both- we don’t really know for sure). Isaiah 53 is also added with Psalm 22 as the prophetic story of Jesus’ suffering to come. On the cross, Jesus says the first line of Psalm 22 in Hebrew “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some wonder if that just meant just that- Jesus stating that God had abandoned him to his enemies to do their worst. But others think this was also a teachable moment- referring us to the whole Psalm 22 and the idea that this was all happening for a reason as foretold. In any case, prophetic or personal- this Psalm is a moving plea to God in times of trouble, but also a praise Psalm- tossing back on forth in dynamic struggle in relationship to God.
Reading Psalm 22:1-5 (see below)
Reflection. Forget for a moment all the baggage of this Psalm and Jesus and think about you and your relationship to God. If you have felt like this- at least a little bit- when and where? Maybe it is in a hospital corridor, or at hostile meeting, staring at a pile of bills or feeling weakened by illness. For me it is in the wee hours of the morning as I wake up worried. In the day, I can push worries aside with busyness, but I wake and the quiet desperation is heard. What do we do when we feel this way? What do we turn to? I play solitaire on my phone. But the Psalmist had a more powerful answer- turning to God in prayer and talking through the pain, but also remembering their long relationship with God. This is the underlying lesson and gift of all the Psalms- take it to God and trust he will answer.