Today's devotional is penned by Dave Burke
Read Psalms 20-22
Christians have a knack of reading the Bible backwards. We see the events in Jesus life in the New Testament, and the gospel writers pointing out that he ‘fulfilled scripture’, then we look back at the Old Testament and say, “Oh yes, I can see that!” There are lots of places in the Old Testament where we immediately see the connection in the New.
So, here’s a challenge. Try to read Psalm 22 forwards. I mean, as you read this old song put the cross of Christ out of your mind and ask the question, “What made David write this vivid song about rejection, alienation, pain and suffering?” What was going on in David’s life?
The books of 1 and 2 Samuel are a great Coronavirus read. Pick an easy translation (like the New Living) and just enjoy the story of the rise, triumph, fall, and recovery of king David. It’s entertaining stuff but there is nothing in it that corresponds to the experiences David sings about in Psalm 22.
It’s not about David.
David saw something, was is a vision or was it a dream? We don’t know, but he saw something so terrible and so potent that he felt the pain personally and wrote about it as though he had experienced it. The rejection of the crowd, the nails through his hands, his life ebbing away. Most dreadful of all, God was not available to take his calls.
He saw it, and he sang about it, and he expected Israel to sing about it too – that’s why it is here in their hymn book. David knew he had seen the future, and wanted others to see it too.
David saw someone – as yet unborn – face rejection and destruction. Jesus made it clear from the cross, “This is me!” David’s distant ancestor was the man in his vision, and the world would reap the benefit of his sacrifice:
“I will proclaim your righteousness to a people yet unborn,
For he has done it!” (last verse).
So, the next time you find yourself doubting God love, his salvation, or even his very existence, read Psalm 22 and ask yourself, “How do you explain that?” What other explanation could there be for the fact that, 1000 years before it happened, David saw his distant ancestor skewered to a cross and left to die?
And the next time you feel a frisson of doubt about whether those wonderful predictions in the New Testament will ever come true, the ones about the Lord’s return, final judgement and a new heaven and earth. Read Psalm 22 and tell yourself, “This did, and those will”.
And if you want to know what Hell looks like. Just read this Psalm. Let this picture of a man suffering all alone etch itself into your mind and remember; Jesus went through that so that you don’t have to.