Bible Reading: Psalm 22
The words of Psalm 22:1 are quoted by the Lord Jesus, as He was hanging from the cross: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” This is translated as “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
These words of Jesus have been grossly mishandled by some Bible teachers to say that there was a separation in the Godhead, between the Father and the Son, and other such blasphemous statements. Today I will address such errors head on, from the Word of God, as well as the implications it has for us and our relationship with God.
This event of Jesus’ crucifixion cry is referred to in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34. Psalm 22 is a psalm of David.
Psalm 22 and Matthew 27:46: These words can also be translated “My God! My God! to what sort of persons have You left Me?” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary on Matthew 27:46)
“The words thus understood are rather to be referred to the wicked Jews than to our Lord, and are an exclamation indicative of the obstinate wickedness of His crucifiers, who steeled their hearts against every operation of the Spirit and power of God.”
1 God was faithful to our fathers. (vss. 4-5)
“Our fathers trusted in You: they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed.” The fathers of Israel included Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Joseph and Jacob. God proved Himself utterly faithful to them and to the whole nation. God’s faithfulness is recorded in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1& 2 Kings, 1& 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah. God’s faithfulness is on record for all to see.
2 God was faithful to David (the Psalm Writer) (vss 9-10)
“But You are He who took me out of the womb; You made me trust while on my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon you from birth. From my mother’s womb You have been my God.”
David is saying that God has been faithful to him personally, from his birth. God’s faithfulness to David is recorded in many places in the Bible.
3 God is faithful to all the nations. (vss. 27 & 28)
“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the Gentile nations shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s and He rules over the nations.”
Because God rules the nations faithfully and fairly, they will voluntarily worship Him. God’s faithfulness to the nations is recorded in the Bible also — nations such as Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Greece and Rome are included.
4 God will keep on being faithful to the posterity (the future generations) (Vss. 30-31)
“A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, they will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has done this.” God will keep on being faithful to the next generation, and that is why the message of God will continue to be passed on by the present generation.
In this present evil world, it is good to know that God will keep on being faithful to our children and grandchildren. God will always be faithful, for all eternity!
So, in the light of what this whole Psalm says:
We can safely say, when Jesus cried out these words, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” — He in fact was not forsaken. In His human side, the Lord Jesus felt forsaken — as we sometimes feel. But in reality He was not forsaken!
Near the end of Psalm 22, in verse 24 it says:
“For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, He heard.”
Besides the proofs from this Psalm, we have the words of the Lord Jesus Himself about the relationship with the Father.
“Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?” Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
John 17:1 & 5:
“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You. ... And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
Then if that is not clear enough, then we have the prayer of Jesus on the cross to His Father in Luke 23:34 & 46:
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
God has always been faithful to Israel’s forefathers, to David, to the nations, and to the posterity. The Father has always been faithful to His Son and He will always be faithful to us.
In Genesis 28:15, Deuteronomy 31:6 & 18 and in Joshua 1:5 God said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Again, in the New Testament, in Hebrews 13:5-6 God repeats His promise to us:
“He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear, what can man do to me?”
Being human as we are, we can forsake the Lord — as the disciples of Jesus did (in Matthew 26:56).
Peter said about some people “They have forsaken the right way and gone astray.” (2 Peter 2:15a)
Azariah said, “The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” (2 Chronicles 15:2)
When this verse says “He will forsake you, if you forsake Him” it means in the following sense:
In Luke 15:11-24, it speaks of the Father of the Prodigal Son. It was the prodigal son who forsook the Father. This wayward son turned his back on his father and walked away. The father was always looking down the road, toward where the son had left. The father was always looking toward the prodigal son’s direction. The father never turned his back on the rebellious son — it was the son who turned his back on the father. It is just like this with God being always faithful to us. When we too “come to ourselves” and say to God: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.” (Luke 15:17-19)
God in His total faithfulness to you is waiting for you to do this sincerely and He will run to you and hug and kiss you. God will never leave you or forsake you, even if you forsake Him. But, you must come back to Him.
Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.
Holiness, godliness, righteousness, and Christ-likeness in personal and church life