In this psalm of David are MANY shadows of a special time to come. As David pours out his heart over his current distress he prophesies of Jesus’ work yet to come.
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me” (verse 1a) are some of the last words Jesus said as he surrendered to death. His final words were “It is finished” (John 19:30b). And King David sings them to the Lord MANY years earlier. This psalm is more than a prayer of David concerning hi present circumstances. It is a prophecy of what is to come with Jesus; God’s Son.
I’m wondering if David composed this psalm during the time he was interceding for his first born son with Bathsheba. As a consequence of David’s sin, God required the life of the child. While the child was in the throes of illness David called out to the Lord for mercy, but received none. God refused to answer, no matter how hard David pleaded.
For seven days David called out to the Lord. Day and night he prayed for God’s mercy and deliverance. He ate nothing during those days. I don’t know if he drank anything during that time. He probably had to drink something to survive. I have no doubt though that his every joint ached from lying on the ground this whole time. I don’t know why he said his hands and feet were pierced but I can certainly see people wagging their heads at him and clucking with their tongues IF they knew why this punishment was on him.
This psalm could also have been written when David fled from Absalom. As David ran he was mocked by one from Saul’s house. The fact that the people had turned from David to Absalom is one of the reasons David fled.
David’s flight and Absalom’s behavior was another part of the punishment David received for his sin against Uriah. While David was out, Absalom set up a tent in plain view of the people. Here he took David’s concubines and had sex with them, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of Nathan when he confronted David over his sin. I don’t know if David laid on his face in prayer day and night during this time but I would not be surprised to learn that he did. I could also see his hands and feet being poked and torn at by the vegetation he had to quickly flee through. But we see none casting lots for his garments, unless Absalom raided his father’s closets for that explicit purpose.
In all these things, David still held out hope. He references the times in the past when God moved to save Israel, even when they were in sin. He knew God moved on behalf of His people and he was clinging to hope that God would do so again for him.
Jesus had no such illusion. He knew His sentence would end in death. But He also knew what waited on the other side of that death; VICTORY! For the moment, He allowed Himself to experience all the despair any man would have. And He was acutely aware of the moment He stood alone because His Father had to turn away.
That dreadful day Jesus lived what David only sang about. “All who see Me mock Me; they make mouths at Me; they wag their heads; ‘He trusts in the Lord; let Him deliver Him; let Him rescue Him, for He delights in Him!’” (verses7-8). Jesus may not have fully felt this portion but I can see how it fits: “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws” (verses 14-15a). “A company of evildoers encircled me; they have pierced my hands and feet – I can count all My bones – they stare and gloat over Me; they divide My garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” (verses 16b-19). “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!” (verse 1a). And finally; “Posterity shall serve Him; it shall be told of the Lord to coming generations; they shall come and proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn, that He has DONE it” (verse 30-31).
That DONE is what has done it for me. Because of Jesus’ work on the cross I can sing the rest of David’s psalm with him. “I will tell of Your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise You” (verse 22). I am NOT forgotten. I am NOT an afterthought. I am His beloved child and He saves me! You are too.
Father God, it still amazes me when I come across prophecy in unexpected places. In the middle of a song. In the throes of David’s despair, You speak of eternal hope. Did You let David in on the depth of this song? Was his experience similar to what I feel when You ‘take over my pen’? I LOVE it when that happens! Keep those jewels coming Father.