My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people. All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,“Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.” Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb. Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help.
In Psalm 22, David uttered words that would later be uttered even more deeply by Jesus—“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It is unclear what events in David’s life prompted this psalm, but it was likely David’s darkest hour. In this prayer, David expressed that he felt abandoned by God and humiliated before men. He felt that his present circumstances contradicted the promises God made to never leave or forsake him (see Deut. 31:8). This psalm has much to teach us about how we ought to pray to God when we are on the brink of losing hope.
To David, God felt far off while trouble was near. And while God felt distant, men felt very close as they taunted, insulted, and despised David. These men seemed to know something about David’s relationship with the Lord, and they mocked him for it: they said, “‘let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him’” (v. 8). These are the circumstances that drove David to feel utterly forsaken by God.
Yet in the middle of this trouble, David realized that God was with him. He rehearsed some of the truths he knew about God. Eternal truths speak louder than our experiences; this is why we are repeatedly called in Scripture to remember who God is. Just because people mock us for our faith doesn’t make God’s promises any less true.
- How do you respond when your circumstances seem to contradict your knowledge of who God is? How do you hold the two in tension?
- How had David allowed these circumstances to affect his relationship with God (v. 1)?
- Pray that you would hold fast to the truths of Scripture despite your circumstances.