Psalms, Book 1, Psalms 22-24

Psalm 22‑24  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Though this group has been well regarded as associated with the three preceding psalms, they may also form appropriately their most impressive supplement and crown.
Psalm 22
In the first of them we hear Messiah bemoan His going down into the depth of suffering where none can follow, that shame and butt of man, the forsaken of God on behalf of guilty man, and very especially for the most guilty of all that said they saw, but rejected Him Who shone in fullness of light and love even for the blind that felt their need and cried to Him. Here it is not “the day of trouble” merely, but of God's abandoning His elect and beloved Servant that He might abandon none who repent and believe, and that He might proclaim pardon to the vilest in His name. It is Christ made sin; and then from the middle of 21 The resulting grace triumphant, as unmingled as the judgment which had befallen Him without mitigation, as described in the previous verses. It is therefore most fittingly His own voice exclusively that is heard, first in His lonely sorrow, then in the joy that imparts the fruits of His deliverance in an ever-widening circle: “to My brethren,” and “in the midst of the congregation” (22); next “in the great congregation” (25); then “all the ends of the earth” and all tribes of the Gentiles share the blessing and praise; and this abidingly. How striking the contrast with the result of Psa. 21! Both are perfectly in season.
“ To the chief musician, upon the hind of the dawn, a psalm of David. My God [El], My God [El], why hast Thou forsaken Me? [Why] far from My deliverance—the words of My roaring? O My God [El], I shall call by day and Thou wilt not answer, and by night and no silence for Me: and Thou [art] holy, inhabiting the praises of Israel. In Thee our fathers trusted; they trusted, and Thou deliveredst them. They cried to Thee and were delivered; in Thee they trusted and were not ashamed. But I [am] a worm and not a man, a reproach of men and despised of the people. All those that see Me mock Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head: Roll Thyself on Jehovah; let Him deliver Him because He delighted in Him. For Thou [art] He that didst bring Me forth from the womb, causing me to hang from the breasts of My mother. Upon Thee was I cast from the womb: from the belly of My mother Thou [art] My God [El]. Be not far from Me, for trouble [is] near, for there is no helper. Many bulls have surrounded Me; mighty ones of Bashan have beset Me round. They gape upon Me with their mouths—a lion ravening and roaring. Like water I have been poured out, and all My bones have been separated; My heart is become like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels. My strength has been dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue is cleaving to My jaws; and in the dust of death Thou settest Me. For dogs have surrounded Me; a congregation of evil-doers have encompassed Me; they pierced My hands and My feet. I number all My bones. They look, they stare upon Me. They divide My garments among them, and upon My clothing they cast lots. But Thou, Jehovah, be not far off, O My strength, haste to My help. Deliver My soul from the sword, Mine only one from the power [hand] of the dog. Save Me from the lion's mouth. Yea, from the horns of the buffaloes Thou hast answered Me!” (ver. 1-21).
Here is the transition. At this point when He is transfixed, the Lord is conscious of being heard. He bows His head in death, His blood is shed. So it must be in atonement. Without this there would be no adequate offering for sin; but He Who so died can commend His soul to His Father, and say, It is finished. The verses that succeed express the deep joy of a deliverance out of such a death, commensurate with a death so unfathomable, which He first sings in the midst of those who share His rejection, and pursues with enlarging circles of blessing into the kingdom, though the fellowship then will not be so profound as that which is immediately consequent on His death and resurrection. Compare John 20:17-2317Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. 19Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. (John 20:17‑23); John 20: 26-29; and John 21:1-141After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself. 2There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. 3Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. 4But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. 5Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. 6And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. 7Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. 8And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. 9As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. 10Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 11Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. 12Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 13Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. 14This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. (John 21:1‑14).
“ I will declare Thy name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee. Ye that fear Jehovah praise Him, all ye the seed of Jacob glorify Him, and fear Him all ye the seed of Israel. For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; and He hath not hidden His face from Him, and when He cried unto Him, He heard. Of Thee [cometh] My praise in the great congregation; My vows will I pay before those that fear Him. The humble eat and are satisfied; those praise Jehovah that seek Him your heart shall live forever. There shall remember and turn to Jehovah all the ends of the earth, and there shall bow down before Thee all the tribes of the Gentiles. For the kingdom [is] Jehovah's, and He ruleth among the Gentiles. All the fat ones of the earth have eaten and bowed down; before Him shall bend all those that descend to the dust, even he that kept not alive his soul. A seed shall serve Him: it shall be declared for Jehovah to the generation. They shall come and show His righteousness to a people that shall be born, that He hath done [it]” (ver. 22-31).
Such is this wondrous psalm; the sufferings that pertain to Christ, and the glories after these. Ne voice is heard throughout but Christ's; none could be with His atoning cries to God, though we may join in praising God and the Lamb, and are well assured that the truth that He was alone in those sorrows is the guarantee of that efficacious work, whereby all our evil is annulled and we stand in His acceptance as believers in Him, Who contrasts Himself with those before Him that cried and were heard. And how different all since, who if they fear have only to praise! Nothing but grace flows out of His atonement.
Psalm 23
Here it is not sufferings from man answered by judgments from God executed by Messiah; nor is it sufferings from God issuing in His blessing and His people's praise, yea from all that fear Him; but Jehovah's constant and tender care when death is still ravaging and the enemy not yet expelled, not His blessings only but Himself, proved and tested, faithful and good now and evermore. Though Christ was the Shepherd, yet He traversed the path Himself alone, absolutely dependent and perfectly confiding in His Father.
“ A psalm of David. Jehovah [is] My Shepherd: I shall not want. In pastures of tender herb He maketh me lie down, by the waters of rest He leadeth me. He restoreth my soul; He leadeth in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou [art] with me: Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest before me a table, in the presence of mine adversaries: Thou hast anointed my head with oil: my cup [is] overflowing. Surely [or only] goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in Jehovah's house to length of days” (forever) (ver. 1-6).
Whatever the present power of evil, and the consequent trials of the faithful, Jehovah does not, cannot, fail in His love and care, but rather makes the things directed against His own the occasion of proving what He is for and to them, as He will forever.
Psalm 24
Lastly the One Who was really the Shepherd, but Who trod the wilderness in a trust and obedience and lowliness without parallel, is shown to be Himself Jehovah, the King of glory, when the earth and its fullness are manifested to be His on the overthrow of all hostile power.
“ A psalm of David. To Jehovah [belongeth] the earth and its fullness, the world and those that dwell in it. For upon the seas He founded it, and upon the rivers He establisheth it. Who shall ascend into Jehovah's mount, and who shall stand in the place of His holiness? The clean of hands, and pure of heart, who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity and hath not sworn unto deceit. He shall receive blessing from Jehovah and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This [is] the generation of those that seek Him, that seek Thy face [in] Jacob (or [O God of] Jacob). Selah.” (ver. 1-6).
Thus we have all the earth in His hands Who suffered here, not only for righteousness and in love, but once for all for sins And here is proclaimed who is to be near Him in the day of His power here below: not Jews as such, for the mass were and are ungodly, nor of course Gentiles still more gross; but only the righteous whoever they may be, while of such Jacob according to immutable promise has the pre-eminence on earth.
Then follows the outburst of triumph. “Lift up, O gates, your heads, and be ye lifted up, O everlasting doors; and the King of the glory shall come in. Who [is] He, this King of the glory? Jehovah strong and mighty, Jehovah mighty in battle. Lift up, O gates, your heads, and lift up yourselves, O everlasting doors, and the King of the glory shall come in. Who [is] He, this King of the glory? Jehovah of hosts, He [is] the King of the glory. Selah” (ver. 7-10). It is evidently the world-kingdom of our Lord and His Christ come in that day of dominion without limit or end, when the holy Sufferer is owned beyond dispute to be Himself Jehovah, the King of the glory which then dwells in the land of Israel, Jehovah that shall fight for them on their last siege as when He fought in the day of battle. Zech. 14