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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Day 4: The Suffering of God's Anointed King

Today's Scripture Reading: Psalm 22

For dogs encompass me;
    a company of evildoers encircles 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. - Psalm 22:16-18

The Suffering of God's Anointed King

Honestly, have you ever been disappointed with God and His decisions? If so, you're not alone.

Here's the thing we need to realize about God: God refuses to meet our expectations. He cannot and will not stoop that low. If we believe that the world (including our flesh) is in rebellion against God, and that the ways of the world are opposed to God and His ways, we should not be surprised if God's ways of accomplishing His purposes are very, very different than what we'd expect.

Yesterday, we saw that God proclaimed the enthronement of King Jesus over all the nations hundreds of years before He was born. Now, if we were able to make our son the King of the World, how would we go about doing this? Would we choose to have Him born to a lower-middle class working family, a carpenter and his young bride? Would we choose to have Him born in poor obscurity and laid in a manger? Would we have society's outcasts to be the first to see him and to know of his birth? Would we choose to have him rejected and despised, betrayed and killed, all as the pathway to his eventual kingship? If you think like a normal human being, your thoughts regarding all of these questions are no, no, no, no! 

Psalm 2 tells us the fixed reality of the kingship of Jesus over all the nations. Psalm 22 tells us how He gets to that throne, and the pathway is marked with suffering and death. Together with Isaiah 53, which we will study in a couple of weeks, Psalm 22 paints an incredibly accurate picture of the suffering and death of King Jesus. Written by David a thousand years before Jesus was born, Psalm 22 describes things David never experienced:

1. Being surrounded by a company of gentiles.
2. Being so thirsty that his tongue clings to the roof of his mouth.
3. Being so violently jarred as to have his joints dislocated, and yet to have none of his bones broken.
4. Being pierced in hands and feet. (Crucifixion, the only form of death to use these tactics, would not be invented for hundreds of years.)
5. Being an object of public scorn and ridicule in a state of physical suffering.
6. Having people divide up his clothing and gamble for the last garment.

David never suffered like this, though he certainly did suffer. Only Jesus experienced these kinds of sufferings. This is why Jesus cried out on the cross, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachtnani?" - "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (see Matthew 27:46) He was quoting the opening line of Psalm 22, pointing people to the Scripture He was fulfilling on the cross. 

Yet here's something we sometimes miss when we read Psalm 22: This psalm doesn't just foretell the Messiah's suffering, but it also foretells His deliverance: 

You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
    and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! - vv. 21-23

This part of Psalm 22 is quoted in Hebrews 2:12. Even when God the Holy Spirit was inspiring David to write Psalm 22 about the future destiny of God the Son, He foretold His glory after His suffering. God establishes this pattern for Christ and for His people: Glory comes only after suffering. The morning comes only after the darkness of night. When we get to Isaiah 53, we'll spend time pondering why this must be the case, but for now, we need to see that it is.

God's ways are not our ways. They are so much better! We see suffering and we imagine failure and despair. We long for glory and imagine an easy road to get there. God sees glory at the end of our suffering and suffering as the only right road to get us there. Today's Advent lesson is to trust God's greater purposes in the midst of our worst disappointments. Our deepest failures are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory which far outweighs them all! (see 2 Cor. 4:17

Heavenly Father, we must confess that we do not always understand our welcome your ways. We do not see how You are working in our pain, disappointments and apparent failures. Yet if we believe in You, we can know that You are working. We can know that You are good, even when we cannot understand how Your will is truly working for our good. Show us how to walk by faith and not by sight. In Jesus' name, Amen. 



  1. Truly a beautiful devotion... the accompanying video of Jeremy Camp and his grieving Mom touched me in a very personal way... Thank you

    1. You're welcome. I'm glad it ministered to you.

  2. We know that you are working Lord and we will walk in faith.