“Hi, Mom!” Jared said as he slid the door of the minivan shut.

“How was your day? Anything interesting happen today?” Mom asked as she pulled away from the school.

“There’s a new kid in our class. His name is Tamim. He doesn’t speak English very well, and he had some weird food in his lunch. I kind of wanted to talk to him, but I thought Marcus and Tony would make fun of me.”

“Hmm . . . Tamim. Is his last name Youssef?” Mom asked.

“Yeah, it is,” Jared said. “How’d you know?”

“Well, I met his family today when I volunteered for the refugee outreach program at church. His parents are very nice, and he has a cute little baby sister. His dad told me their son was starting school today.”

“Oh. What’s a refugee again?” Jared asked.

“The Youssef family had to leave their country because their lives were in danger. Refugees come to other countries for many reasons–sometimes because of war, or famine, or natural disasters–but in their case, it was because they are Christians and most of their country is not.”

Jared looked at his mom in surprise. “Their lives are in danger just because they believe in Jesus?”

“Yes,” Mom answered. “Tamim and his family have chosen to follow Christ, just as you and I have. But for them, it has meant giving up their home and jobs and friends and even their country to keep their family safe. Tamim and his family have endured serious hardships. He’s a pretty brave kid!”

“Wow,” Jared said. “I didn’t know his family went through all that.”

Mom nodded. “Having the same faith makes us brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, the Bible tells us that one day, when Jesus returns, we will worship God for all eternity along with people from every tribe and language and nation in the world! It’s possible we’ll be standing right next to the Youssef family in front of God’s throne. Isn’t that exciting?”

“It sure is!” Jared agreed. “I think Tamim is someone I’d like to get to know better. Could we invite his family over for dinner sometime?”

Mom smiled. “I think that’s an excellent idea.”

In Psalm 22, God has saved the sufferer who in return tells others about it. The sufferer foresaw more than his own good fortune. He foresaw deliverance spilling over into the whole world. He predicted that the story of God’s help would be told to future generations. The entire world will worship God.

Jesus had this psalm on His lips when He was dying on the cross. When the disciples wanted to explain Jesus’ life and sufferings, they turned to this psalm and others like it. The disciples saw a pattern and a foreshadowing. The pattern is one of redemptive suffering. This suffering led to victory and power and the salvation of the world. This pattern helps Christians appreciate why Jesus and His followers had to suffer.

The basis for the psalmist’s worship is that God answers prayer. God’s silence was over. God does not turn away from the psalmist. The psalmist’s enemies were silenced by God’s actions. God hears the cries of the poor, the oppressed and the forgotten. He gives us hope in responding to the evils of our day. How do we think about all our relations (past, present and future) when making daily decisions to ensure that we are answering the pleas of the afflicted? How do we fashion our lives to reflect God’s plan to satisfy the poor? As we proclaim God’s deliverance to the people, we are also delivered. As we bless people with God’s abundance, we are also blessed.

The theme of the resurrection is present even though the doctrine of the resurrection is not revealed. God heals, restores and answers. In His resurrection,  Jesus declared God’s mighty works to His people. As the word of God’s deeds spreads, everyone will bow down and worship Him.

The application of the psalm to the world can only be fulfilled in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. It points to Jesus and His heart as He hung on the cross. He endured God’s silence knowing that His cry would be answered and that His suffering would bless the world.

Jesus was forsaken on the cross so we would never be forsaken. He was alone on the cross so we would never have to be alone. He was judged guilty on the cross so we could be declared innocent in heaven. He stood in the gap for us. It was all about His love for us.

We tend to be swept away by problems we should have avoided. We have no defense against the devil. We get lost. We need a shepherd to care for us and to guide us. We have one who knows us by name. His name is Jesus. One of the tools He gives us to fight Satan is praise. Praise drives the enemy away. It ushers God’s authority into any situation. If we want to maintain our praise, we must begin our prayers with praise. First, we must praise Him for who He is. Then we must praise Him for something He has done for us.

As we praise God, we should consider His names and how each one applies to our lives. Understanding His names will have a major impact on our worship and devotion. Some of His names are:

  • Majestic Lord
  • Our banner
  • Our healer
  • Our shepherd
  • Our provider
  • Our master

God’s names reflect His attributes and nature.

The psalm gives us permission and the words to cry when we experience persecution. It also becomes our words of thanksgiving and praise when God saves us from anything that could destroy us. Our lives are filled with both dangerous moments and times when life is good and God is holding our hands. God is yearning for us to seek Him out. We may have called out with the psalmist for God’s help and thought that God was away, but He is always at hand. Where are we?

When we feast on the goodness of Jesus, we find our happiness in Him. We find that happiness in God’s Word. When we feed on His Word, it will become so precious to us that we will pity people who seek satisfaction in evil. We will have something so wonderful in Jesus.

Bibliography

  1. Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New Kings James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; p. 721)
  2. Karen McMillan, “Every Nation.” Retrieved from info@keysforkids.org
  3. “The Song of the Cross.” Retrieved from BibleGateway@e.BibleGateway.com
  4. Jamieson-Fawcett-Brown Commentary. Part of Wordsearch 12 Bible software package.
  5. Williams, D. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 13; Psalms 1-72 (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1986; pp. 187-190)
  6. Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
  7. MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
  8. Lucado, M.: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson; 2010)
  9. Anne Graham Lotz, “Praise Defeats the Enemy.” Retrieved from info@angelministries.org
  10. Michael Youssef, Ph.D., “In the Name of God.” Retrieved from web@ltw.org
  11. Pastor David McGee, “Ps. 22:30-31.” Retrieved from theword@aboutthebridge.com
  12. Franklin Lee, “Psalm 22:25-31.” Retrieved from communic@luthersem.edu.
  13. Kristen D. Anderson, “Psalm 22:19-28.” Retrieved from communic@lutehrsem.edu
  14. Arian Rogers, “Are You Hanging Out with the Devil’s Billy Goat?” Retrieved from devotions@lwf.org
  15. Bruce Epperly, “The Adventurous Lectionary, 2nd Sunday of Lent.” Retrieved from www.patheos.com
  16. David Scherer, “Psalm 22:22-30.” Retrieved from communic@luthersem.edu.

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