[Lesson 50: The Prophet David & the Messiah] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 52: The Prophet Solomon]

Lesson 51

More from the Psalms

Psalm 22

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

Last time we examined the first two chapters in the book of Psalms {Zabur}. It would be great if we had the time on our broadcast to read and discuss every chapter in the Psalms-but since the book of Psalms contains one hundred and fifty chapters that will not be possible.

However, before we close the book of Psalms, we would like to study with you another hymn that God put into the mind of David: chapter twenty-two. This chapter is very important, because it predicts how the Messiah would die in agonizing pain to pay the debt of sin for all the children of Adam. In this chapter, David, who preceded the Messiah's coming by one thousand years, prophesied some thirty events which would take place on the day that the Messiah was to die. When we read the Gospel {Injil} which contains the story of the Messiah, we will see that everything took place exactly as God's prophet, David, had predicted. Thus, we can be certain that this hymn did not come from the mind of man, but from the mind of God. Only God can predict the future with such precise accuracy.

Now let us listen to what the prophet David wrote in the twenty-second Psalm. In this chapter, David wrote the thoughts which would be in the mind of the Messiah on the day He would shed his blood as a payment for sin. He said:

(Psa. 22) 1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? 3Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. 6But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. 14I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. 15My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. 16Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet!

Let us pause here briefly. Did you grasp what the prophet David wrote about the Messiah? One thousand years before the Messiah came into the world, David writes: "A band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet!" With these words David predicted how the sons of Adam would pierce the hands and feet of the Messiah by nailing Him to a cross. Why did the prophet David write in the Psalms that evil men would pierce the Messiah's hands and feet? Why should the Messiah die such a painful death? Why would God allow men to murder the holy Redeemer whom He sent?

The Word of God gives us the answer. It was necessary for the Redeemer to suffer excruciating pain and die such a horrible death, so that He might take our place and bear for us the punishment of God. Since the payment of sin is death and eternal condemnation in hell, it was necessary that the Messiah taste the torments of hell which we deserve because of our sin. God, in His grace, planned to send the Redeemer who was unstained by sin, so that He might, of His own free will, "taste death for everyone." (Heb. 2:9) This is how God could open for the children of Adam a way of forgiveness from sin and a door to eternal life, without compromising His justice! The Messiah would pay the penalty for our sins. The death of the righteous Messiah is the reason that God, the Righteous One, can judge as righteous everyone who believes in Him.

What the prophet David wrote concerning the Messiah's death is truly amazing. Think of it! One thousand years before the Messiah's birth, David wrote in detail how the Messiah would suffer upon the cross to which He would be nailed. Perhaps what we need to understand and remember is this: The Romans are the ones who devised nailing a person to a cross-that painful death called crucifixion. Yet when David wrote about it in the Psalms, the nation of Rome did not yet exist and nobody knew about putting a person to death in this way, that is, by crucifixion; by nailing him to a cross. However, God put the message of the Messiah's death on a cross in the mind of David, and inspired him to write it in the Psalms, so that we might know for sure that the Messiah's death upon the cross was God's plan to save us from the penalty of our sin.

The truth which this chapter contains is perfectly clear, and we should pay attention to it. However, everyone does not accept this message from God. To this day, some contradict what God's prophet, David, wrote in the Psalms concerning the Messiah's death on the cross. They say, "God would not allow the Messiah to die such a shameful and painful death!" But those who say this are ignorant of the Scriptures of the Prophets and of God's plan to save sinners. Dear listening friends, be careful not to ignore God's way of salvation! Wolof wisdom says, "Before you know it, ignorance will kill you!" And God's Word says, "How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?" (Heb. 2:3) "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God!" (1 Cor. 1:18)

Now let us look farther at what David wrote concerning the circumstances of the Messiah's death on a cross. We hear how the Messiah says:

(Psa. 22) 1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? 7All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: 8"He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him." 14I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. 15My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. 16Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. 17I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. 18They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.

With these words, David was predicting that after men nailed the Messiah to the cross, they would insult Him, mock Him, stare at Him and divide his garments between them and cast lots for his clothes. This is exactly what happened one thousand years after David wrote it. Listen to what is written in the Gospel {Injil} concerning the death of the Messiah. The Scripture says:

"When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there.…Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, '…Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!' In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God!'" (Matt. 27:35,36,39,40)

Thus the Gospels record how the words of God's prophet, David, were fulfilled.

We also read today that David predicted that the Messiah would thirst and suffer greatly in His body and in the depths of His soul and spirit. That is why the Messiah cries out in the first verse saying, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" When we study the Gospel, we will see that everything happened exactly as David predicted in this Psalm. Why did the Messiah cry out on the cross, saying, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Because God is "the Holy One" (Psa 22:3), and cannot tolerate sin. God Himself had to turn His back on the Messiah who was nailed to the cross, and separate Himself from Him, because God laid on Him the punishment for all our sins. That is why the Scriptures say: "God made [the Messiah] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God!" (2 Cor. 5:21)

God be praised, there is something else that the prophet David predicted in the Psalms--some very good news! In the sixteenth chapter, David writes of the Messiah, saying: "You, God, you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life." (Psa. 16:10,11) In this way David predicted how God planned to raise the Messiah from the grave, so that whoever believes in Him, might live with Him in the holy presence of God forever! Thus, the Gospel {Injil} declares: "[The Messiah] died for our sins according to the Scriptures…He was buried, [and] He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures!" (1 Cor. 15:3,4)

David also predicted that after the Messiah rose from the dead, God would take Him up to heaven, and tell Him to sit at His right hand, until He returns to judge the people of the earth. That is what David wrote in the Psalms, chapter one hundred and ten, when he says: "The Lord says to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.'" (Psa. 110:1)

In the end of chapter twenty-two, David writes:

(Psa. 22) 27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him… 30Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, for He has done it!

This Psalm concludes with these words: "He has done it!" What would the Messiah do? He would die in the place of all sinners! He would fulfil all that God had promised Adam and Eve concerning the Redeemer who would save them and their descendants from the penalty of their sin. The Messiah would die as the final sacrifice. Through His death on the cross, the Messiah would fulfil and abolish the symbolic animal sacrifices which God required from sinners in earlier times. Like the ram that died in the place of Abraham's son, the Redeemer would die in the place of sinners as the final and perfect Sacrifice--for all--forever! This is God's Good News to the world: The Messiah died in your place! Believe in Him and you will be saved from God's judgment! The way of salvation is wide open to all who believe it. That is why, just before the Messiah died, He cried out, "It is finished!" (John 19:30) "He has done it!" (Psa. 22:31) And God confirmed the Messiah's perfect sacrifice by raising Him from the dead on the third day! We will see all this in detail when we study the book of the Gospel.

Meanwhile, may we remember this: One thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the prophet David predicted that sinners would pierce the Messiah's hands and feet! And let us not forget the reason for the Messiah's painful death. He died for you and for me, and for all sinners, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life! The Messiah allowed wicked men to pierce His hands and His feet because of His desire to do the will of God--and because of His great love for you and me! Listen to what Jesus the Messiah says in the Gospel {Injil}:

"I lay down my life-only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father [in heaven]." (John 10:17,18)

Listening friends, are you thanking and praising God for sending the Messiah to save you from your sins? The Holy Scripture says: "[Jesus, the Messiah] suffered for you! He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.…He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification…so that everyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life!" (1 Pet. 2:21,24; Rom. 4:25; John 3:16)

May God make clear to you everything we have read today. Thank you for listening. God willing, in our next program, we will continue in the Writings of the Prophets and move on to the story of David's son, Solomon.…

God bless you as you ponder why He inspired the prophet David to write:

"They have pierced my hands and my feet!" (Psa. 22:16)