Psalm 22- Never forsaken

From time to time I hear someone reference God turning his back on Jesus on the cross…….. I don’t find God to be one that EVER does that, especially to his Beloved Son. We have understood God’s presence “behind the veil” in the Temple , but still present in the midst of his people through his Holy Spirit.. Eternal life for us is a “here, not here/ now, not now” proposition through which we all eventually pass… its reality and God himself are both closer than we can think or know….a mere veil separating us from it and him. In our pain, in our shame and sinfulness, we may not feel God’s presence, see him at work, or hear his voice. That doesn’t mean that the omnipresent God is absent or has forsaken us. It simply means that we are for the moment blinded to the bigger reality by the veil of this physical existence. Jesus, at the point he stood ( or hung) on this side of the veil he felt the full force of burden that weighs each of us down at one time or another. He cried out, feeling the presence of the veil that separates now from not now and here from not here.  At that moment Jesus was once again tempted to despise God and yield to the devil, and still he proclaimed the Source of Truth and Comfort- from the Psalm that perfectly expressed his knowledge of how we as humans feel as we consider and approach our own death. Such a beautiful witness of compassion and empathy for all of us! Yet pointing us to the glorious truth of victory! It was at that point that the Temple veil was ripped apart from the top down by the hand of God Himself as he rushed to be more palpably present to his son who was making his way to and through the veil, to bear Jesus ‘ spirit to paradise himself, in his own arms.  (1-3-2021)

Consider this:

Psalm 22                                                                                                              March 27, 2014
Our Lenten service last night was one of Jesus’ final phrases from the cross. We’ve been hearing about one of 7 “final phrases” each week. Last night it was Christ’s quote from this Psalm, “My God, My God, why have your forsaken me”…..It sounds so despairing….but, in fact, even though he was physically unable to get all the words out, those who were at the cross with him knew that he was directing their attention to this Psalm
In referencing this Psalm Christ is expressing, in abbreviated form to be sure, his great confidence in God’s plan for his people, being fulfilled through Christ:
(v. 22-31)
I will declare your name to my people;

You who fear the Lord, praise him!
 All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
 Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
For he has not despised or scorned
 the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
 but has listened to his cry for help.
From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
 before those who fear you[f] I will fulfill my vows.
The poor will eat and be satisfied;
 those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!
All the ends of the earth
 will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
 will bow down before him,
for dominion belongs to the Lord
 and he rules over the nations.
All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
 all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
Posterity will serve him;
 future generations will be told about the Lord.
They will proclaim his righteousness,
 declaring to a people yet unborn:
 He has done it!

Appearances are often deceiving or confusing, when we lack the full picture…..we must look at the context and place ourselves in the place from which the Scripture speaks….In these final words from the cross, Christ is giving hope and directing the faithful to be ready for the great victory that is to come!

God never forsook Christ…..and he never forsakes anyone, particularly those who believe, who are faithful, who cry out to him for help. Know that he is steadfast and faithful….always!

I, for one, am grateful for this signpost from the cross, this directive to be of good heart and know that God’s plan extends “to a people yet unborn”….you and me and every soul…..I am encouraged that “future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness”….. I am grateful to be part of the fulfillment of that further prophecy from the cross in Christ’s own voice!

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