“0 my God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.”
This psalm is called by the Holy Ghost: “Aijeleth Shahar,” which means, the morning hart.
And the Subject is without doubt: our Savior Jesus Christ, both in His humiliation and His exaltation.
Yes, He is the Morning Hart. He is that kindly, meek, and beautiful hart, startled at the very morning when the first huntsman, Herod, came to kill Him. And ever since that morning, they hunted Him, until He hung on the accursed tree, lamenting to His God: Why, O why hast Thou forsaken me?
And yet, it is David who speaks here.
And we sing the psalm so much later, and it is our confession too.
I hesitate, and tremble when I set myself to write on this psalm. There is so much I do not understand here. There is a depth of suffering which I cannot fathom. There is an agony here which by far surpasses anything I ever suffered. This psalm tells us of the suffering which began in Bethlehem, and which ended when He said: “It is finished!”
Exegetically: how shall f explain the parting of David’s garments, and the casting of lots upon David’s vesture? And so much more.
Yes, I will speak of this psalm, and write a little on this one verse. But I know, and you know, that we did not explain fully. There are shadows and depths here which defy understanding.
I am persuaded that even unto all eternity we shall never be able to exhaust psalm 22. How should we be able to explain eternal death?
But I will speak of the suffering worshipper.
First, it is David who laments here.
What period of his life does he speak of? I do not know. It is not revealed. It may be when he was surrounded by wicked Saul and his hosts, as recorded in I Sam. 23:25ff. But I do not know.
At any rate, it was a terrible experience. It must have been the worst experience of David’s life. Nowhere else does David cry as he does here.
David and his history was pre-ordained. It lent itself excellently to be a shadow of the life and death, and glorification of the Christ of God. Look at the sharp contrasts in his life. He was deeply humbled, but also greatly exalted; a vile sinner but also a man after God’s own heart. Look at his name: David, the Beloved. Steeped in depths of suffering, but also on the heights of faith and courage. He raves at Achis, but is a hero in many battles. In Psalm 22 he is terribly forsaken, but inpsalm 23 everything is still and quiet.
Particularly, in this psalm we see David hunted by the enemies of God, under the wrath of God, in shadows of deep darkness, without the happy light of God’s countenance, uttering cry upon cry.
I cry! O my God, I cry!
Attend to this, beloved reader, you do not cry so easily. It must be awful before you cry. When the sun shines, and things have their ordinary course, you may suffer a little, but you do not cry to God. And if troubles gather around your head, you labor, wrestle and fight to get out from under, but you do not cry.
No, but when all your power and ingenuity ran short, when you have no more power to fight, when you are being overwhelmed, when the miry pit seems to have no bottom, and you are ready to perish: then you cry.
You cry to God when the pressure without and within exceeds your powers of resistance. When things become fearful and there is no helper anymore.
And this terror was not for just a moment or two. O no, but it continued with unabated force. David was in trouble all the day. And the word which is used signifies that it was a rather long period. We read here “joman,” and that means day after day. And also in the night season. There was no relief.
And what made his agony so terrible is this: God did not answer.
During the awful days David cried to God, but there was no answer. And at night he multiplied his supplication, but God seemed deaf, for there was silence.
And yet, David was not without faith. Listen to him: My God!
When the night is dark, and thousands of dangers threaten; when the heavens are like copper, and no prayer can get through to God; when the eternal God is still and answers not; when thunders roar and lightning flashes in the dark clouds around your soul, and God hides His blessed face, and you can still say: My God! then you have faith.
David never let go of God.
Because God never let go of David.
And thus David prays, continues his prayer in supplication and crying, and never lets go of his God.
That, my friends, is the victory of faith.
But is this all?
David cried to God in the midst of his awful darkness and suffering. God did hear, and delivered him out of all his troubles. At this moment he is in the arms of God: all his tears are wiped away.
Can we now rest, and say: we have heard the Word of God. Let us live like David, and always trust in God, for we know that ultimately He will come and save us to the uttermost?
Please, take your Bible and read I Peter 1:10-11. Here it is: “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”
Here is the answer. David was one of those searching prophets who testified of the sufferings of Christ and of His glory that should follow. Sometimes the words which he spoke and the experiences he underwent are simply ascribed to Jesus. Attend, for instance, to the sermon of Peter on the first New Testament Pentecost Day.
David suffered before the sufferings of Christ. And here in psalm 22 is one instance, and what an instance!
Attend to the first cry of David in this psalm: “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
The whole psalm is Messianic. Most of the psalms are Messianic. (That’s why I love those psalms so much.) The psalms of David are as a shadow which is cast ahead of the coming Christ.
Psalm 22 pictures to us the sufferings of the Lamb of God.
So also in my text. The text finds its fulfillment in Jesus our Lord.
Look at the text again: “My God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.”
This cry opens up the suffering heart of Jesus. Often we have read in the Gospels that Jesus, while it was still dark, would leave His bed and silently wend His way to the desert places. And there He would fall down in the dust and cry to His God. Sometimes He would spend an entire night in prayers to God. Have we not the terrible testimony of Hebrews 5? “Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death . . .”?
What shall I say of the crying of Jesus? How shall I give a commentary on the days and the nights of anguished weeping to God? How shall I paint to you of the bulls of Bashan and the unicorns which beset Him day and night?
In the daytime and in the night season?
Have you ever prayed the whole night through ? And in the morning there was no answer? Sometimes we sing: “NO answer yet has found relief!” Do you know what that means?
Oh, how inexpressibly horrible must have been the days and nights of the Lamb of God.
God was silent and answered not.
And so there was a troubled heart, and the blood drops in the night season of Gethsemane.
And when the spikes were driven through His holy hands and feet, He roared to God.
And when darkness was added to the laughing and joking and derision of the multitude, He screamed that great and terrible cry: My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?!
Jesus cried to God from out of a hell which is ever greater than any hell of man or spirit.
First, He suffered an eternity of hell in a short space of time: what concentration!
Second, He suffered an agony which otherwise millions would have shared: but He suffered it all ALONE! What concentration!
Third, if I would go to hell, I would say eternally: it fits! I belong here. It answers to strictest justice. I fit the abomination of hell. But Jesus is the Holy One of Israel. He fits in heaven. But He must be in hell.
Because He suffered all this hell for His people.
Because He had to make us all perfect, fitting in the new heaven and the new earth.
Therefore Jesus said, nay, cried: O my God, I cry in the daytime and Thou answerest not; in the night season and I have no silence!
Beloved brother and sister, you will have your nights of horror, and your days of misery. Who knows, some of you may have to die on the stake, and be burned.
You may have to sing psalm 22 in great agony and anguish.
God scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. We have our crosses.
But continue to say: My God!
Know that behind the dark clouds of your sufferings dwells our Father, our Father for Jesus’ sake.
The day and the hour will come when He shall take you in His arms, and then He will wipe away all your, tears.
Jesus, weeping in the night of eternity, merited such loveliness!