Sunday, February 19, 2012

Forsaken -- reality or imagination





Scripture

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
(Psalms 22:1 NASB)
They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.
(Psalms 22:18 NASB)
But You, O LORD, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance.
(Psalms 22:19 NASB)
You who fear the LORD, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.
(Psalms 22:23 NASB)
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 for help, He heard.
(Psalms 22:24 NASB)
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before You.
(Psalms 22:27 NASB)
For the kingdom is the LORDS And He rules over the nations.
(Psalms 22:28 NASB)
They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.
(Psalms 22:31 NASB)

Observation

How often have we read about Jesus' words as he hang dying on the cross. Jesus cries out, "My God, my God why have you forsaken me." In our contemporary understanding we find ourselves speculating on what those words meant to Jesus Christ. I've heard preachers say that God had to abandon Jesus at the moment of his death because of the sin which he carried, that his Father could no longer face the son, and that Jesus is left to die all alone. However, it is at that moment on the cross that Jesus cries out the beginning verse of a Psalm of lament found in Psalm 22. Often in the New Testament the first few lines of a familiar scripture are brought to us because we are supposed to be educated as those first century readers were -- we are to know these verses from memory and understand that the first line is simply a hint at the whole story. Therefore as you look back at the Psalm which Jesus is quoting we find .... the rest of the story!

It is in this scripture that we find the prophesy about Jesus' clothing. As Jesus is dying he is pointing toward the fulfillment of the prophecies from the past. He is saying, look -- they are coming to fruition right now before you as the soldiers cast lots for my clothing.

Also, rather than being alone, this Psalm brings about the fact that God is not far off. As a matter of fact, God is looking on at Jesus afflictions, and refuses to hide his face from him. As Jesus cries out for help, God continues to keep his face toward him, constantly reaching out to him. One can almost hear the voice of a grateful Father, "Thank you, my son. I love you, my child. You are almost there, you can do it!"

The final part of the Psalm brings us to Christ's victory. The cross which was such an ugly symbol of death and execution would be transformed into a symbol of hope for the future. It would become a symbol of worship for the generations to come. Today we find the cross in the center of our worship as we remember Christ's victory on the cross and the ushering in of God's kingdom here on this earth.
That very moment on the cross represented a cosmic shift as Jesus became victorious over sin and death, and established his kingdom here on this, a kingdom that would await its completion when Jesus would return again.

Application

Too often, in the dark days of our lives, we have somehow thought that God has forsaken us. We have taken this scripture and allowed it to become an excuse for us, believing that if God would turn his back on his own son, then surely he must have his back turned on us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, we are the ones who have turned our backs to God, and that is why we cannot see his face. He never turns his face from you. He is always looking at you and seeking you out in a desire to draw you to him. You are not forsaken, but rather, you are God's precious child whom he loves. Don't create barriers between you and God where there are none. While you may try to ignore him, you will discover, He will never leave you.

Are you feeling forsaken today? Ask yourself why? Is it real, or simply imagined?

Prayer

Lord, I thank you that you do not turn your back on us. Please, help me to walk in fellowship with you each and every single day. Amen.

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