Verse 1 of this psalm should sound familiar. The first line of this psalm is one of the seven things Jesus said as he hung, dying on the cross. Maybe you read this psalm in light of the crucifixion the first time through; maybe you didn’t make the connection right away. If you did not have the cross in mind when you read this the first time, let me encourage you to read it again in light of the crucifixion.
This prophetic psalm shows what Christ experienced on the cross. The agony (22:14-15); the loneliness (22:1-2, 6); and especially the humiliation (22:7-8, 16-18). One can picture the Lord himself mouthing these words in painful prayer as the life slowly left his beaten, bloodied body. At the cross, our Lord was more like a worm than a man, deprived of all dignity, exposed before all the world like an earthworm after the rain, stuck on the sidewalk with no place to go. Jesus, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, was subject to the whims of his creatures, left to be toyed with before death like a school boy dangling that sidewalk worm before his eyes before stomping the life out of it.
If you have ever been despised or afflicted in life, if there has ever been a gross injustice committed against you, you can take comfort in the words of this psalm: “For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him” (22:24). You can know that this verse is true because it’s in Scripture. But you can especially know it’s true because Jesus himself has gone through the worst kind of affliction, was made more despicable than you or I could ever imagine. The Lord does not despise our affliction, but entered into the worst mess of the sin of this fallen world to deliver us from evil and restore us to relationship with God. Christ was forsaken so we could be rescued.
“Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.” Because Christ has come, because the Lord “has done it,” our generation and those who come after us will proclaim his righteousness to all the world. Christ accomplished what he came to earth to do. You and I now live in light of that other pronouncement of our Lord’s from the cross: “it is finished.”
Our salvation is finished, what we most desperately needed in the world has been achieved for us. Proclaiming God’s goodness, proclaiming the gospel to our children and their children should be a natural outflow of our redeemed hearts. Let’s not be timid or shy from telling our children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and all the coming generation of God’s goodness to us in the gospel. Let’s liberally, openly, freely, from the rooftops shout of all that God has done for us in Christ! Not because we feel bad or guilty or cheesy, but because we really have been saved and we really are grateful.