Psalm 22 is very clearly the Psalm of the cross. It is a prophetic word picture of our Lord's saddest hours upon the cross of Calvary.
Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
The Son of God is forsaken. The disciples forsook their Lord, but now to be forsaken of the Father. The innocent, obedient Son of God is now forsaken. Forsaken because he now bears in his body OUR SINS.
Psalm 22:16-18 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
Hunters frequently surround their game with a circle, and gradually close in upon their prey. Men and dogs closing in upon the hunted. In this case, the hunters and dogs are the enemies of Christ. The arrogant Jews, the power thirsty Romans along with Satan and his principalities and powers who have worked behind the scenes to disrupt God's plan of redemption. They are dogs. They are the hunters of the souls of men and they have pierced the hands and the feet of our beloved Saviour. And he hangs before them in shame as they cast lots for his garments.
Psalm 22 is the Psalm of the cross, but notice specifically verses 25-26.
Psa 22:25 25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
The phrase "My praise shall be of thee..." means that my praise is to have its origin FROM THEE; from God. True spiritual praise and worship has its origin from God. Beloved, understand what is being said in this text. We have been given a prophecy of Christ's sufferings. In the midst of His greatest sufferings, He states: "MY PRAISE SHALL BE OF THEE..." In the midst of the greatest trial known to any man, in the darkest hour of Christ's agony, HE would find praise rising up in his soul from God. How is this possible? The answer is found in verse 26.
Psalm 22:26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
If we are going to grow in grace and find a source of strength and blessing in the midst of great turmoil, it will be very important to understand and apply this principle of scripture to our lives. Let's break it down this way.
The Peculiarity of the people - "The meek shall eat and be satisfied"
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
People who are citizens of Christ's kingdom are a peculiar people and the peculiarity noted in our text is that of meekness. The person who will find praise rising up in their soul from God in the midst of great trials will be a person who is characterized by meekness. How is meekness developed?
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. True humility - beggarly poor
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Right attitude toward sin
Matt 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Being broken of our own will desiring to do the Father's will.
God called Moses to lead Israel from Egyptian bondage. He found one of his Jewish brethren being taken advantage of by an Egyptian soldier. Without praying about the situation, just taking matters into his own hands, he killed the soldier. This act of self-will cost Moses 40 years on the backside of the desert tending sheep. Many times we find it very difficult to pray before we act; to contemplate the principles of scripture before we go into action. Meekness is power under control. The most important desire of our heart is that we seek to yield to the Father's will rather than seeking to be self-willed.
Could not have Christ called for 10,000 angels to have delivered him from the torments of Calvary, but rather he chose to yield to the will of God by saying: "...Father not my will but thine be done."
The Pursuit of the People - "They shall praise the Lord that seek HIM"
If we are going to discover praise rising up in our souls in the midst of great trials and difficulties, we must seek to develop meekness in our lives and an attitude of praise. "They shall praise the Lord that seek him...". Are you a seeker?
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Is not the Lord Jesus Christ, altogether lovely. The Bible says that HE is "THE ROSE OF SHARON", "THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR", "THE GOOD SHEPHERD", WHO CARES FOR HIS SHEEP.
He is the Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Oh beloved when we seek HIM we will learn to be singers. Singers of praises to God because we have found him to be altogether lovely. And one day the seekers of the earth will fill up the choirs of heaven. There we will stand in HIS unveiled glory lifting voices in praise and worship to our God
The text states, “they shall praise the LORD that seek him,..." For he that seeketh findeth and this rule has no exceptions.
The seeker realizes:
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (KJV)
Therefore, the seeker is keenly aware of His need of Christ living and flowing through him. Making him a vessel sanctified and meet for the masters use. The seeker realizes that any sin will stop the flow of love and he wages war against anything that would hinder him from communion and fellowship with his God.
"...they shall praise the LORD that seek him,..." Is it possible for the seeker to drift. To find himself or herself departing from the sweet fellowship of their Lord. Oh yes, but when the seeker senses that he has drifted he cries out for mercy in honest confession because he knows the joy of full forgiveness in Christ. "...they shall praise the LORD that seek him,..."
And then lastly, the Promise To The People - "your heart shall live forever"
There seem to be trials on every hand; great trials and trifling trials. But beloved, we shall not fail. We need not live in hopeless despair. For Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us and one day we shall ever live to be with him. You see he suffered untold agony on the cross so that atonement could be made for our sins. Had there been no suffering Saviour; there would be no way to God. Had there been no dying Christ their would be no living comfort and consolation. But now that his atoning work has been accomplished: They who seek him shall live throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity and their lives shall be spent in praise to HIM.
Are you a seeker? If there are those who have not yet begun their personal pursuit of Christ, let us show them the way.
Let us be a peculiar people walking in garments of meekness. Let our pursuit of Christ be filled with praises. Let us rest in the promises of our security in HIM. "...your heart shall live forever..." If God is to spawn praise in our souls in the midst of adversity, we must seek to make these things so in our lives. It must be said of us what is written of us.