Tuesday, 14 July 2015

PSALM 22:6-10

A WORM PLEADS WITH THE LORD
1. DAVID AS POET AND PROPHET
[1] David was a poet:
2 Samuel 23:1 Now these are the last words of David: The oracle of David, the son of Jesse, the oracle of the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel:
His ability to put into words, to express his experiences has never been surpassed.
The Psalms show us a believers experience as it really is, not as we imagine, or think, or hope it should be.
Psalm 22 shows us that a believer can feel abandoned, desolate and forsaken by God. A believer can go through times of great suffering and persecution. We are not called to 'put on a stiff upper lip', to play the part of the stoic, or to borrow a phrase from Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones: to be 'grinning ninnies'! It is alright to cry out to the Lord. He has given us words to do so in the Psalms.
See the careful structure of verses 6-10.
Psalm 22v6 But I am a worm and not a man,
a. scorned by mankind
b. and despised by the people.
v7 All who see me mock me;
a. they make mouths at me;
b. they wag their heads;
v8 a. “He trusts in the LORD;
b. let him deliver him;
b. let him rescue him,
a. for he delights in him!”
v9 a. Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
b. you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
v10b. On you was I cast from my birth,
a. and from my mother’s womb you have been my God
[2] David was a prophet:
Acts 1:16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David...
Acts 4:25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
John Calvin's comments are helpful:
David complains in this psalm, that he is reduced to such circumstances of distress that he is like a man in despair. But after having recounted the calamities with which he was so severely afflicted, he emerges from the abyss of temptations, and gathering courage, comforts himself with the assurance of deliverance. At the same time, he sets before us, in his own person, a type of Christ, who he knew by the Spirit of prophecy behoved to be abased in marvellous and unusual ways previous to his exaltation by the Father.
I have been arguing that for the last 150 years we have so concentrated on the prophetic nature of Psalm 22 that we have neglected, downplayed, even denied that his Psalm reflects David's experience and that of believers through the ages. It may have been Jesus' prayer from the cross (he quotes v1), but that does not mean it cannot be our prayer as well.
2. DAVID AS A WORM
Psalm 22v6 But I am a worm and not a man,
a. scorned by mankind
b. and despised by the people.
A. I feel about worms the way some people feel about spiders!
We learned about earth worms in biology. First find some worms. Pour some formalin on a patch of ground and wait a few minutes. Gather up the worms. Place one in a dish and observe it. Draw what you see.
Exodus 16:20 But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.
Job 7:5 My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt; my skin hardens, then breaks out afresh.
Job 21:26 They lie down alike in the dust, and the worms cover them.
Isaiah 14:11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers.
Traditional Yorkshire song: On Ilkla Moor baht: Then t'worms 'll cum and eat thee oop On Ilkla Moor baht 'at Then t'worms 'll cum and eat thee oop.
No, I've never liked worms even though in Biology I learned that worms are essential for producing good soil.
Here David says that he feels more like a worm than a man. Why? What makes him feel like a worm?
The answer is not some much what, as who, for he is:
a. scorned by mankind
b. and despised by the people.
i) Scorned, AV 'a reproach' regarded as a disgrace, a shame.
David speaks of this feeling in other Psalms: Psalm 31v11; 44v13; 69v7, v11, v20; 119v22.
ii) Despised - disdained, treated as contemptible.
The reaction of other people to David, their scorning him and their despising him all contributed to his sense of isolation. It seemed the whole world was against him!
B. Jesus warns his disciples to expect similar treatment by the world:
Matthew 5v11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. v12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Remember David was one of those prophets.)
You may meet this from those who once were your friends before you became a Christian, some of those you work with; some of your neighbours, some of your family. It can make you feel like a worm!
C. Jesus was treated with contempt:
i) Luke 7v44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. v45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. v46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. v47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven--for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
ii) Never more so than when on the cross.
Isaiah 53v2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. v3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
3. DAVID MOCKED
v7 All who see me mock me;
a. they make mouths at me;
b. they wag their heads;
A. The people treat David with derision, they laugh at him. The description is very graphic - they make mouths at me; and they wag their heads.
Remember the stories of Nabal in 1 Samuel 25 and Shimei in 2 Samuel 16v5-14 who each treat David with contempt.
B. The Christian may meet with such mocking:
See Psalm 80v6; You make us an object of contention for our neighbours, and our enemies laugh among themselves.
Jeremiah 20v7 O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. v8 For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.
See 2 Chronicles 30v1-12;
C. Jesus was mocked
He knew from the scriptures, from his reading of Psalm 22 that he would be so;
Matthew 20:19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
Herod and his soldiers mocked him:
Luke 23:11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate.
The Gentiles, Roman soldiers mocked him:
Matthew 27:29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
Matthew 27:31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.
The Jewish leaders mocked him:
Matthew 27:41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying,
4. DAVID ABUSED FOR HIS FAITH
v8 a. “He trusts in the LORD;
b. let him deliver him;
b. let him rescue him,
a. for he delights in him!”
A. David knew what it was to cry for deliverance:
Psalms 7:1 O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
Psalms 17:13 Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
Psalms 25:20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
Psalms 40:13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
Psalms 50:15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”deliver me!
Now his very prayers are mocked. They scorn his faith.
B. When our faith is impugned, scorned, and all the outward evidence seems to agree (no deliverance seems to be coming) it hurts.
C. Jesus knew from reading this Psalm that this would be his experience - and it was:
Matthew 27v39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads v40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” v41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, v42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. v43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”v44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
5. DAVID AFFIRMING HIS FAITH
v9 a. Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
b. you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
v10b. On you was I cast from my birth,
a. and from my mother’s womb you have been my God
A. David Remembers
Remembering past mercies can help us in present troubles to wait upon God.
However, sometimes when we do remember, the contrast between then and now can add to the feeling of desolation - "You have been my God from birth, why have you deserted me now!"
The Psalm is not yet finished. The fight of faith must continue. Sometimes there are no easy answers
B. Christian Remember life can be hard at times.
Job 13:15 Though he slay me, I will hope in him;
C. Jesus Remembers God's Care
God protected him at birth preventing Herod from murdering him. But what devastation was reaped on that little town that night.
Listen to John Piper reading his poem on the Innkeeper at 
http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/hope-for-the-hurting-this-christmas-video


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