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Psalm 22:22-31 1 
22 I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. 23 You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. 25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him—may your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. 29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn—for he has done it.

clip_image071Background 2

We do not know when David wrote Psalm 22. He was very ill, or he was hurt badly. He writes about his suffering. But he also writes about the sufferings of other people. Here is an example. People often torture other people. Torture means to hurt very much. Near Judah was a place called Tyre. In Tyre this is how they tortured people: they fixed them to wood with nails. The nails went through their hands and feet. A nail is a piece of sharp iron, a few inches long. Psalm 22:16 talks about this.

So Psalm 22 is more than a psalm about the sufferings of David. His own agony made him think about the agony of other people. Christians believe he wrote about the agony of one very special person. We call that person the Messiah, or Christ. The Bible has 2 parts. The Old Testament tells us what happened before Jesus came to earth. The New Testament tells us about Jesus and the Church. One of the books in the New Testament is Acts. In Acts 2 is something that Peter said. He said it 7 weeks after Jesus died and rose again. In Acts 2:30 Peter said, “David was a prophet. He wrote about Christ”. Christ is another name for Jesus. A prophet says what will happen in the future.

In the New Testament are 4 Gospels. They all tell us about the death and resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection was when God raised Jesus from the dead. Someone said, “Psalm 22 is like the story of the death of Jesus in a 5th Gospel!” Jesus was killed by crucifixion. This means he was fixed to a cross of wood. They fixed him to it with nails. He hung on the cross until he was dead. 2 days before Easter is Good Friday. On Good Friday Christians remember how Jesus died. Many of them read (or sing) Psalm 22 on Good Friday. They believe that it is not only about the suffering of David. It is about the suffering of Jesus. Though he was God, Jesus was also a servant. We call him the suffering servant. From Psalm 22:22 to the end the psalm becomes happy. This is because God raised Jesus from the dead. Because Jesus died for us, we believe that God will raise us from the dead too. We must thank God for the death of Jesus for us!

Biblical Truths and Theology 3

Psalm 22: 22: From here to the end the psalm changes. It is not about suffering. It is full of praise. This is because God heard when David prayed. This psalm is not only about David. It is also about Jesus. Near the end of the Bible is a book called Hebrews. In it, Jesus says: I will tell your name to my brothers. I will sing praises to you in the church. (Hebrews 2:12) This is wonderful! Jesus sings praises to God with us in church.

Psalm 22: 23: People in awe of God love him, but also know how great he is. They do not become too friendly. Seed is a special Bible word. In the Old Testament it sometimes means the Jews. In the New Testament it often means Christians.

Psalm 22: 24: “the man” and “him” mean David. David suffered. David prayed. God answered David. This is also true of Jesus. Jesus suffered when he died for us. But God raised Jesus from the dead. God answered when Jesus prayed. Jesus died for us so that God would save us!

Psalm 22: 25: Jesus will keep his promises to us. We must believe!

Psalm 22: 26 – 31: There is a book in the Bible that we call Leviticus. It is full of rules. One rule is in Leviticus 7:16. It says, “Eat your sacrifice on the day that you make your promise”. A sacrifice was an animal that the Jews killed. They burned part of it. This was God’s part. They ate the other part. Verses 26 and 29 are about this. The rich and the poor will eat the sacrifice. As a result people will praise God (verse 26) and worship God (verse 29).

On the evening before he died, Jesus ate supper with his friends. To us, this was Thursday evening. To the Jews it was the start of Friday! We call this supper the Last Supper. On that Friday, Jesus was the sacrifice. He went to heaven, where God lives. That was God’s part. Our part is the Lord’s Supper. When we eat the Lord’s Supper:

  • We remember that Jesus died for us
  • We tell everybody that Jesus died for us
  • We remember that Jesus will come back to the earth

Psalm 22: 26 – 31: gives us help to remember all this. It is very important to tell our children. What do we tell them? We tell them that GOD HAS DONE IT! Jesus was God. Jesus died for us. Psalm 22:1-21 is about this. But Jesus rose from the dead. He is alive today. He is alive in Heaven. He is alive in the Church. Psalm 22:22-31 is about this.

Items for Discussion

  • How accurate do you find this prophecy about Jesus? How does this strengthen your faith?
  • What are the specific points of this prophecy? What parts can you relate to Christ’s death on the cross?
  • What can we learn about eternal life in this Psalm?
  • Why would someone find David’s perspective on eternal life of comfort?
  • Can religion exist without a belief in the afterlife?
  • What is different in the Christian’s view of eternity?

 

Romans 4:13-25
13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. 18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

Background 4

Chapter four discusses the great gospel doctrine of justification by faith without the works of the law was so very contrary to the notions the Jews had learned from those that sat in Moses’ chair, that it would hardly go down with them; and therefore the apostle insists very largely upon it, and labors much in the confirmation and illustration of it. He had before proved it by reason and argument, now in this chapter he proves it by example, which in some places serves for confirmation as well as illustration. The example he pitches upon is that of Abraham, whom he chooses to mention because the Jews gloried much in their relation to Abraham, put it in the first rank of their external privileges that they were Abraham’s seed, and truly they had Abraham for their father. Therefore this instance was likely to be more taking and convincing to the Jews than any other. Paul’s argument stands thus: “All that are saved are justified in the same way as Abraham was; but Abraham was justified by faith, and not by works; therefore all that are saved are so justified;” for it would easily be acknowledged that Abraham was the father of the faithful. Now this is an argument, not only à pari—from an equal case, as they say, but à fortiori—from a stronger case. If Abraham, a man so famous for works, so eminent in holiness and obedience, was nevertheless justified by faith only, and not by those works, how much less can any other, especially any of those that spring from him, and come so far short of him in works, set up for a justification by their own works? And it proves likewise, ex abundanti—the more abundantly, as some observe, that we are not justified, no not by those good works which flow from faith, as the matter of our righteousness; for such were Abraham’s works, and are we better than he? The whole chapter is taken up with his discourse upon this instance, and there is this in it, which hath a particular reference to the close of the foregoing chapter, where he has asserted that, in the business of justification, Jews and Gentiles stand upon the same level. Now in this chapter, with a great deal of cogency of argument:

  • He proves that Abraham was justified not by works, but by faith, ver. 1-8.
  • He observes when and why he was so justified, ver. 9-17.
  • He describes and commends that faith of his, ver. 17-22.
  • He applies all this to us, ver. 22-25.

And, if he had now been in the school of Tyrannus, he could not have disputed more argumentatively.

Biblical Truths and Theology 5

13-15. For the promise,—This is merely an enlargement of the foregoing reasoning, applying to the law what had just been said of circumcision.

  • that he should be the heir of the world—or, that “all the families of the earth should be blessed in him.”
  • was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law—in virtue of obedience to the law.
  • but through the righteousness of faith—in virtue of his simple faith in the divine promises.

14. For if they which are of the law be heirs—If the blessing is to be earned by obedience to the law.
faith is made void—the whole divine method is subverted.

15. Because the law worketh wrath—has nothing to give to those who break is but condemnation and vengeance.

for where there is no law, there is no transgression—It is just the law that makes transgression, in the case of those who break it; nor can the one exist without the other.

  • 16, 17. Therefore,—A general summary: “Thus justification is by faith, in order that its purely gracious character may be seen, and that all who follow in the steps of Abraham’s faith—whether of his natural seed or no—may be assured of the like justification with the parent believer.”

17. As it is written,—(Ge 17:5). This is quoted to justify his calling Abraham the “father of us all,” and is to be viewed as a parenthesis.
before—that is, “in the reckoning of.”

  • him whom he believed—that is, “Thus Abraham, in the reckoning of Him whom he believed, is the father of us all, in order that all may be assured, that doing as he did, they shall be treated as he was.”
    even God, quickeneth the dead—The nature and greatness of that faith of Abraham which we are to copy is here strikingly described. What he was required to believe being above nature, his faith had to fasten upon God’s power to surmount physical incapacity, and call into being what did not then exist. But God having made the promise, Abraham believed Him in spite of those obstacles. This is still further illustrated in what follows.

18-22. Who against hope—when no ground for hope appeared.

  • believed in hope—that is, cherished the believing expectation.
  • that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be—that is, Such “as the stars of heaven,” Ge 15:5.

19. he considered not,—paid no attention to those physical obstacles, both in himself and in Sarah, which might seem to render the fulfillment hopeless.

20. He staggered—hesitated

  • not … but was strong in faith, giving glory to God—as able to make good His own word in spite of all obstacles.

21. And being fully persuaded,—that is, the glory which Abraham’s faith gave to God consisted in this, that, firm in the persuasion of God’s ability to fulfil his promise, no difficulties shook him.

22. And therefore it was imputed,—”Let all then take notice that this was not because of anything meritorious in Abraham, but merely because he so believed.”

23-25. Now,—Here is the application of this whole argument about Abraham: These things were not recorded as mere historical facts, but as illustrations for all time of God’s method of justification by faith.

Items for Discussion

  • Does it matter which comes first – faith or good works?
  • How do faith and good works work together?
  • Can a person be saved by faith without good works?
  • How do faith and good works work together over the life of the believer to enhance a believer’s worldly and spiritual life?

Discussion Challenge

  • While the roll of the Church is clear when it comes to faith building, what is its roll in good works?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. http://www.easyenglish.info/psalms/psalm022-taw.htm
  3. http://www.easyenglish.info/psalms/psalm022-taw.htm
  4. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc6.Rom.v.html Matthew Henry Commentaries
  5. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/jamieson/jfb.xi.vi.v.html Jamieson Commentaries (Jamieson used KJV Version of the Bible)
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