This is the second part of Psalm 22 in which it testifies to “the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow” (1 Pet. 1:11). David was wonderfully caught up by the spirit of prophecy far beyond his own thought and intention. This Psalm teaches us to fix our thoughts upon Christ, and be deeply affected with His sufferings and so affected with His grace that we experience their power and influence in our lives. The Suffering, Praise, and Posterity of the Messiah.
Psalm 22 Part 2 – A Psalm of David – The Deer of the Dawn
But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog. Save Me from the lion’s mouth And from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me. I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard.
My praise shall be of You in the great assembly; I will pay My vows before those who fear Him. The poor shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever! All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s, And He rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth Shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep himself alive. A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, That He has done this.
He calls God his strength
Henry says – Here it can be said that Christ is praying. In His agony He prayed earnestly that the cup of suffering might pass from Him. When the prince of this world with his terrors are set against Him, gaping upon him as a roaring lion, He fell to the ground and prayed. David’s prayers are a type of the prayers Christ would pray.
He calls God his strength, Ps. 22:19. When we cannot rejoice in God as our song, yet let us fix ourselves upon Him as our strength. Let us take the comfort of spiritual support when we cannot experience spiritual delights. He prays that God would be with him, and not set himself at a distance from him: Be not far from me (Ps. 22:11). The nearness of trouble should quicken us to draw near to God and then we may hope that He will draw near to us.
David hoped that God would help him to bear up under his troubles, that he might not fail nor be discouraged. And the Father heard him because he feared Him (Heb. 5:7) and enabled him to go through with his work. Christ also hoped that God would deliver and save Him, Ps. 22:20, 21. They entrusted their very precious souls, “The safety of my soul, my darling; let that be redeemed from the power of the grave, Ps. 49:15. Father, into Your hands I commit it to be conveyed safely to paradise.”
My soul is my only one
The Psalmist here calls his soul his darling or precious, his only one: “My soul is my only one. I have but one soul to take care of, and therefore the greater is my shame if I neglect it and the greater will the loss be if I let it perish. Being my only one, it ought to be my darling and so I ought to be deeply concerned for its eternal welfare.
David prays that he be delivered, from the sword, the flaming sword of divine wrath. This he dreaded more than anything, Gen. 3:24. God’s anger was the gall in the bitter cup that was put into His hands. “O deliver my soul from it. Lord, though I lose my life, let me not lose Your love. Save me from the power of the dog, and from the lion’s mouth.” This seems to be meant of Satan, that old enemy who bruised the heel of the seed of the woman.
He was to engage in close combat with the prince of this world whom he saw coming, John 14:30. “Lord, save me from being overpowered by his terrors.” This may refer to the victory Christ obtained over Satan and his temptations (Matt. 4:1-11), when the devil left him for a season (Luke 4:13), but now returned in another manner to attack Him with his terrors.
He raised Him from the dust
“Lord, You gave me the victory then, give it me now, that I may spoil the principalities and powers, and cast out the prince of this world.” God has delivered us in the past. Let that encourage us to hope that we shall be delivered again. This prayer of Christ, no doubt, was answered, for the Father heard Him always. And, though He did not deliver Him from death, yet He did not suffer corruption, but on the third day, He raised Him out of the dust of death. This was a greater instance of God’s favour to Him than if He had helped Him down from the cross. That would have hindered his undertaking, whereas His resurrection crowned it.
The sure prospect that Christ had of the joy set before Him not only gave him an answer to His prayers, but turned His complaints into praises. He was satisfied that in the travail of His soul He had been triumphant and so when He breathed His last, He said: It is finished. Christ was now satisfied that He would have a church in the world, and that those that were given to Him from eternity will one day be gathered to Him. It pleased Christ to think that by declaring God’s name and by preaching the everlasting gospel in its plainness and purity, many would be called to Him and to God by Him.
Call to fear reverentially
We are called to publish this doctrine to the world. We ought to be His messengers and His voice that our word be His, and so declare God’s name. Those who are called should be brought into a very near and dear relation to Him as fellow–heirs, Heb. 2:11. Christ is our elder brother, who takes care of us, and makes provision for us, and expects that our desire should be towards Him. We are accounted as the seed of Jacob and Israel (Ps. 22:23), that on us the blessing of Abraham might come (Gal. 3:14).
When Jesus was going through His suffering His desire was that God would be greatly honoured and glorified (John 17:4). He made a solemn request, Father, glorify Your name, John 12:27, 28. He forsaw that God would be glorified and that we would be gathered to Him. This gathering was so that God would be for a name and a praise. All who fear the Lord will praise Him (Ps. 22:23). The whole business of Christians is to praise and glorify God with a holy awe and reverence of His majesty. Therefore those who are called upon to praise God are called to fear Him reverentially.
And so enabled eternal life
Christ is the Master of the assemblies in which God is praised and the Mediator of all the praises that are offered up to God. In our praises we have a great deal to be thankful for. That Jesus Christ was kept by His Father in all His undertaking despite the apprehension He was sometimes under that His Father had forsaken Him. (Ps. 22:24): For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted one (that is, of the suffering Redeemer). But He has graciously accepted it as full atonement for sin, and so enabled eternal life to all believers. Though it was offered up for us wretched sinners, He did not despise nor abhor Him who was offered for our sakes. His blood cried for peace and pardon for us and He heard Him.
This is the subject of our rejoicing and ought to be the subject of our thanksgiving. Those who have thought their prayers unheard, if they continue to pray and wait, will find they have not sought in vain. Christ Himself will go on with His undertaking in us and complete it. Christ says, I will pay my vows, Ps. 22:25. Having engaged to bring many sons to glory, He will perform it to the utmost, and will lose none.
Meat and drink to the soul
Christ desired that all humble and gracious souls would have full satisfaction and happiness in Him, Ps. 22:26. The poor in spirit shall be rich in blessings, spiritual blessings. The hungry shall be filled with good things. The meek shall eat and be satisfied, eat of the bread of life, feed with an appetite upon the doctrine of Christ’s mediation. This is meat and drink to the soul who knows its own nature. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness in Christ shall have all they can desire and make them at ease. They shall not labour as they have done in the past for that which does not satisfy.
Those who are much in prayer shall be much in thanksgiving: Those shall praise the Lord who seek Him, because through Christ they are sure of finding Him. The more earnest they are in seeking Him the more their hearts will be enlarged in His praises when they have found Him. Souls that are devoted to Him shall be forever happy with Him: “Hearts that are meek shall live for ever. Hearts that are satisfied in Christ and continue to seek God. Whatever becomes of your bodies, your hearts shall live forever. Christ has said, Because I live, you shall also live, (John 14:19); and so that life shall be as sure and as long as His is.”
We must consider and turn
Christ desired that His church and with it the Kingdom of God among men, should extend itself to all the corners of the earth and should take in all sorts of people. It is here prophesied that they should be converted: They shall remember, and turn to the Lord. Serious reflection is the first step towards true conversion. We must consider and turn. The prodigal came first to his senses, and then to his father.
Those who turn to God will make a conscience effort to worship before Him. For (Ps. 22:28) the Kingdom is the Lord’s; His, and His only, is the universal monarchy. Christ died to bring us to God, the God who made us, from whom we had revolted. Christ as Mediator, is appointed governor among the nations, head over all things to His church. Let every tongue therefore confess that He is Lord. This includes people of all ranks high and low, rich and poor.
We cannot keep our own souls
Christ shall have the homage of many of the great ones. Those who are fat upon the earth, who live in grandeur and power, shall eat and worship. Even those who eat well, when they are full, shall bless the Lord their God for their plenty and prosperity. The poor also shall receive His gospel: Those who go down to the dust (Ps. 113:7). Those who can scarcely keep life and soul together, shall bow before Him, before the Lord Jesus, who reckons it His honour to be the poor man’s King (Ps. 72:12). His protection of them draws their allegiance.
We cannot keep our own souls alive, nor can we be the authors of our own spiritual and eternal life. So it is our great interest, as well as duty, to bow before the Lord Jesus. We are to give ourselves up to Him to be His subjects and worshippers. This is the only way, and it is a sure way, to secure our happiness when we go down to the dust. It is our wisdom, by an obedient faith, to commit our souls to Jesus Christ, who is able to save us and keep us alive with Him forever.
A seed shall serve Him
Mankind is kept up in a succession of generations; so that there is always a generation passing away and a generation coming up. Ps. 22:29, those who go down to the dust shall bow before Him, and it is good to die bowing before Christ; blessed are the dead who thus die in the Lord. He shall also have honour from that which is starting out in the world, Ps. 22:30. The application to Christ is: A seed shall serve Him. There will always be a remnant that shall keep up His solemn worship and profess and practice obedience to Him as their Master and Lord. God will have a church people in the world to the end of time and so there shall be a succession of professing Christians from generation to generation.
A seed shall serve Him, there shall be a remnant to whom God will give the grace to serve Him. It shall not necessarily be the seed of the same persons, for grace does not run in blood (he does not say their seed, but a seed). Even though they be few, yet there will be enough to preserve the necessities. Christ acknowledged that: They shall be accounted to Him for a generation. He will be the same to them as He was to those who went before them. His kindness to His friends shall not die with them, but shall be drawn out to their heirs and successors. All who shall acknowledge themselves to be a seed that the Lord has blessed, Isa. 61:9; Isa. 65:23.
That sacred and pure deposit
The righteous of the generation, God will graciously own as His treasure, His children. (Ps.22:31): they shall come, shall rise up in their day. They shall keep up the virtue of the generation that is past. The work of their own generation they shall continue and serve the honour of Christ and the welfare of souls for the next generations. They shall transmit the gospel of Christ, that sacred and pure deposit, even to a people that shall be born after them. Declaring that there is an everlasting righteousness, which Jesus Christ has bought for them. This righteousness of His, and not any of our own, shall be declared to be the foundation of all our hopes and the fountain of all our joys. See Rom. 1:16, 17.
The work of our redemption is the Lord’s own doing (Ps. 118:23). We must declare to our children that God has done this; it is His arm revealed. This Psalm teaches us that we must triumph in the name of Christ as above every name. We must give Him honour ourselves, and rejoice in the assurance we have that there shall be a people praising Him on earth in the day when we shall praise Him in heaven.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Jesus Calls Not just the once, do I call out to you To follow Me. I call, My Son Jesus calls You constantly. Listen to the voice of your Lord calling; A call to stop and rest with Me awhile. In the busy day; the crowded way Wait and you will see My smile. A call to restrain your impatience, To wait on Me. A reminder that in quietness and in confidence Your strength shall be. A call to pause, To one in trouble, to speak a word. Perhaps to lend a hand, an ear To the Previously unheard. By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Prayer for the Day
Father I come to You. Help me in the day when I cannot rejoice in You as my song to fix myself upon You as my strength. Let me take comfort in spiritual support when I cannot experience spiritual delight. Whenever trouble is near, quicken me to draw near to You and I shall hope that You will draw near to me.
Thank You that You have graciously accepted full atonement for my sin, and so enabled me to have eternal life. Christ’s blood cried for peace and pardon for me and You heard Him. May this be the subject of my rejoicing and thanksgiving. I know that even when I feel that my prayers go unheard, if I continue to pray and wait, I will find that I have not sought in vain.
Let me be in earnest
May I increasingly hunger and thirst after righteousness, that I shall have all I desire in You. Let me never again labour for that which does not satisafy as I have done in the past. Let me be in earnest in seeking after You that my heart be enlarged in praise, for I know I shall find You. Cause my heart to be satisfied in Christ and continue to seek You.
Remind me not to neglect my soul and to be deeply concerned for its eternal welfare. I cannot keep my own soul alive, nor can I be the author of my own spiritual and eternal life. So let it be my great interest and duty to bow before the Lord Jesus. I give myself up to You to be Your subject and worshiper. For I know this is the only way to secure my own happiness when I go down to the dust. Cause me to have an obedient faith and commit my soul to You who is able to save me and keep me alive forever. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
Psalm 22 Part 2