Devotion 1 of 4 in the series The Heart of Christmas: Psalm 22

The Most Important Step to Take When You Feel Forsaken by God

Inside: The whole reason Jesus took on flesh at Christmas was so He could, from the cross, cry out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Ever felt that way? What are we to do when we feel forsaken by God?The Most Important Step to Take When You Feel Forsaken by God

Devotion 1 of 4 in the series The Heart of Christmas: Today we begin a series that will prepare our hearts for Christmas, when we celebrate the incredible faithfulness of Christ to be born of human flesh. Today we look at Psalm 22, which, oddly for the Christmas season, includes foreshadowing of the crucifixion.

The whole reason Jesus took on flesh at Christmas was so He could, from the cross, cry out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Ever felt that way?

Where is God, we wonder, when everything in the world is falling apart? How could He let the unjust win, the unmerciful prevail? Where is He when health is failing, finances are crumbling, and halfway around the world bombs are falling? When we can’t find our way, and the path is not clear:

Has He forsaken us?

It is a legitimate question. Yet the psalmist rebuts his own complaint by recounting God’s character:

3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

So where in the world is God?

Oh, He is busy all right. We get to verses 16 and 18, where the psalmist again foretells of Jesus’ crucifixion:

16b they have pierced my hands and feet—

18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.

Look at that: Hundreds of years before Jesus was separated from the Trinity for those agonizing moments, the Holy Spirit led David to pen words that would describe the details of Jesus’ suffering: His hands and feet would be pierced. He would be stripped of His clothing, and the soldiers would cast lots to see who would get to take the garments home.

When we feel alone, when we feel like the world is collapsing, what is God doing?

Where is He?

And then a pinpoint of light penetrates the darkness. Caring hands soothe the hurting, food appears on the table, humanitarian heroes brave bombed areas to rescue the injured. We find our footing and a direction in which to head.

Grace shines through in the midst of chaos. And we are reminded that God was there, working all along.

24 For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.

For God heard us.

What is the most important step to take when you feel forsaken by God? Trust that God is at work. He hears your prayers. He has not forgotten you. Our heavenly Father is working a gazillion things out for your best, even when the evidence is not apparent to our searching eyes.

Oh, Jesus, let our eyes be fixed on you.

In the midst of the lights and the eggnog and the shopping, let us bow the head and bend the knee in awe of your sacrifice for us.

Amen.

Enjoy your quiet moments with the Lord as you work through the Digging Deeper questions. You will find portions of Psalm 22 below that. If you like tracing Bible prophecies, see the Extra Info section for some cool connections!

To join us for these weekly devotions, sign up here.

Digging Deeper: When We Feel Forsaken by God

Enjoy this precious time with the Lord. Reflect on or journal about the following questions, listening for what God has to say to you.

The Heart of Christmas

1. In what area of your life do you feel God has forsaken you or someone you love? What about this situation makes you feel like God has left you or your loved one alone? Be honest with the Lord, and tell Him your complaint.

2. Next, consider any evidence you have of God doing something, anything, in this situation. Have you seen any movement? Has there been any glimmer of hope? Has your or another person’s attitude changed in some way? How has your heart softened or what have you learned thus far during this trial? Thank God for the glimpses of His hand you have seen.

It could be you will not be able to think of any evidence that God is at work in this situation. If that is the case, ask God to show you that He is working. Ask Him to help you see.

3. Grasp the enormity of Christmas with me: Divinity took on humanity in order that we might be reconciled to God once and for all. Praise God! Let these songs minister to your heart. Choose one or two, or listen to all of them throughout the week.

Stronger (Mandisa) “When the waves are taking you under, hold on just a little bit longer.”

Joy (MercyMe). This is my favorite Christmas song. It is a compilation of “Joy to the World,” “O Come Let Us Adore Him,” and “Emmanuel” presented in unexpected and glorious ways.

It Is Well (Kristene DiMarco, Bethel Music)

Digging into God’s Word: Even Jesus Felt Forsaken

Psalm 22, select verses (ESV)

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame. . . .

16 For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid! . . .

22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.

Extra Info: Psalm 22

Without Christmas, we don’t get Good Friday and Easter: We would be void of Jesus’ sacrifice, in which He fulfilled all of the requirements of the Law for us. Without Christmas, there is no road map for a resurrection, in which Jesus defeated death and the devil for us.

There are many more, but following are a few of the scripture references that connect Psalm 22 to the crucifixion:

verse 1: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus cried out with a loud voice from the cross (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34). It wasn’t the physical pain that was getting to him. No, it was the excruciating anguish of his complete separation from God the Father.

verse 16b: “They have pierced my hands and feet.” This verse prophesies about the type of death Jesus would experience. In crucifixion, nails were often put through the person’s hands and feet to hold him to the tree. See John 20:25, Luke 24:39 (mentions his feet), and John 19:33 (His side was also pierced).

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he [Thomas] said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”(John 20:25 ESV)

verse 18: “They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” This event is mentioned in all four gospels: Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34, and John 19:24.

And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. (Mark 15:24 ESV)

Print

Comments

  1. Eric says:

    this is good, Chris.
    I needed Psalm 22. Thanks

    • Digging Deeper with God says:

      Thank you. I am glad it was of help to you. I hope you are doing all right these days. This time of year is often rough, and recent events have made it even more difficult. God’s peace to you.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published.

Custom Wordpress theme by Jeff Roberts Web Design