Finding the Cross of Jesus in the Psalm 22:1-5 & Psalm 23:1-4 (Blog series 5)
[22:1] My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?  O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.  Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.  In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.  To you they cried and were rescued; in you, they trusted and were not put to shame.
[23:1] The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 22 and 23 are some of the most profound messianic prophecies in the Psalms about the crucifixion of our great Savior. I could spend days writing about the contrast from these two Psalms that are fulfilled in the New Testament not to mention the huge theological implications in these two Psalms; however, I would like to write on a more personal note on the promises of God from these two Psalms.
For me, the biggest message I see in these two Psalms is answered prayer. We see throughout Scripture God is motivated by our prayer. In James 5 it says, “Prayer gives you great power”. As you can see, in Psalm 22 it seems like God is far off; it seems like God doesn't hear but you see David profess to trust in verses 3–5 of Psalm 22 that David remembered that God delivered Israel from Egypt. So even though it doesn't feel like God is close he's going to rest in the promise that God hears his prayers. How is it that David can trust God in a moment of absolute suffering? In the same way, how is it that Jesus can trust God in the middle of chaos and man's ultimate evil of crucifying Jesus on the Cross? The answer is, a high expectation of God that he answered their prayer. David was asking to be delivered from the clutches of his enemies. Jesus was asking to be delivered from Satan and death.
How often do you feel like God is not close? How often do you feel like God is just not listening to you? How often do you give up praying because you believe God isn't interested? How often do you feel abandoned in your suffering? If you believe that God isn't close, isn't listening to you, isn't interested, or even has abandoned you, that means you must have a low expectation of God. That means your having trouble believing that God is a promise-keeping God. It is true that sometimes God doesn't feel close but that means that we need to raise our expectations of God because of His promises. God loves when we raise our expectations of Him because that means we believe in Him. Paul says in Romans 14 “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” so God even calls it sin when we don't believe in His promises. It's like we don't have permission to believe that God is not going to show up in our suffering. That's amazing!
In addition, we see in Psalm 23 both Jesus and David say, “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want” that means, “the Lord is my shepherd I don't need anything else”; “the Lord is my shepherd he doesn't leave me wanting”. Even though I walk through the valley shadow of death I don't fear evil. How often have we walked in the Valley of the shadow of death and felt like we were consumed by death when God's promises us life? Because of Jesus' death burial and resurrection we have the promise of life even when it feels like death. When we suffer, we can walk in the promises of God for life! For comfort! For peace!
What an amazing contrast here; peace in the middle of the valley of the shadow of death. It is the valley where we experience our absolute dependence on God so we have to raise our expectations on God and we have to raise our faith for God that’s where we glorify Him the most. So don't run from the Valley of the shadow of death, Jesus was the first one to go and we follow in his footsteps. He has given us His supernatural heart to face the most impossible dilemmas because through faith we have a high expectation of a God who answers our prayers.