This is such a special time for the Lord’s church as we come to His Table. I look forward to it every month, because it is a time of self-examination of all our hearts. It’s a time when we celebrate His death for us; when we join arms, as it were, together as one family, one group of brothers and sisters at the foot of the cross, reminded that our unity, our oneness is all because of Jesus Christ.
The Lord said to do this, “Until I come.” And so, the church has done it for nearly 2,000 years. In all places and all centuries, all kinds of groups, the church comes to the Lord’s Table to remember the death of Christ. But more, to commune with Him, the Living Christ, in that very act of remembrance.
I was asking the Lord this week for something special that I might share with you. Whenever I think about the cross, my mind is usually drawn to the gospels to focus on the story of the cross, the record of how Jesus died. Or my mind is secondarily drawn to the epistles; particularly the writings of Paul, for Paul so wonderfully explains the meaning of the cross.
But as I was meditating and praying in my heart on Thursday, the Lord, for some reason, drew me not to the gospel record of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, and not to the thinking of Paul, but to the words of David in the Psalms. And tonight I’d like to share with you some of those words from Psalm 22, as a starting place, and then I want to share from two other Psalms. Psalm 22.
I’d like us to spend a brief moment in prayer, each in his own heart and her own heart, asking the Lord to speak in a new and a fresh way through that old, old story of the cross. Would you do that? Let’s bow together in prayer.
Father, I would ask for me even that there might be an adventure in sharing the thoughts in my heart as the Holy Spirit expands them to new understanding even as I speak. And for every person here, Lord, that we might see a glimpse of the significance of Calvary, perhaps in a way we’ve not really seen in the past. And, Father, even if we see as we’ve seen before, may there be a new joy and a new commitment that You might be pleased and glorified. We pray in the name of Christ, amen.
As we come to the Lord’s Table, the words of a hymn by John Newton seem fitting to set our attention on the tremendous work that Christ accomplishes for us. This is what he wrote: “In evil long I took delight/Unawed by shame or fear/Till a new object struck my sight/And stopped my wild career. I saw One hanging on a tree/In agonies and blood/Who fixed His languid eyes on me/As near His cross I stood. Sure, never to my latest breath/Can I forget that look/It seemed to charge me with His death/Thought not a word He spoke. My conscience felt and owned the guilt/It plunged me in despair/I saw my sins His blood had spilt/And helped to nail Him there. A second look He gave, which said/‘I freely all forgive/This blood is for thy ransom paid/I died that thou midst live.’ I do believe I now believe/That Jesus died for me/And through His blood, His precious blood/I’ve been from sin set free.”
We have the greatest of gifts to be thankful for, as John Newton points out in that hymn: the gift of salvation. Ever and always should we remember that, but we forget. We put it on some idle channel of thought that comes around a lot less frequently than it really should. And so, the Lord calls us to His Table to remind us again that we have been redeemed from our sins.
Tonight, David will be our teacher. Not just David, but David writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And David not writing while he views the cross, for he never saw it. David not writing as he looks back to the cross, but David writing long years, yay centuries, before the cross ever became a reality. And yet David sees it as clearly as Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. David sees it as clearly as Paul, though it was yet not even a reality. Through the marvelous inspiration of the Holy Spirit, through the mind of God who prophetically sees down through the centuries to the inevitable future of His own will, David is given insight into the cross. And not only the cross, but all of its meaning.
And I want to share with you three categories of revelation that came to David, three elements of the redemptive work of Christ. First, the gracious sacrifice; secondly, the good Shepherd; and thirdly, the glorious Sovereign. Look at Psalm 22, the gracious sacrifice.
In Psalm 22, we come face to face with the suffering servant of Isaiah, face to face with the sacrificial lamb. We have in the 22nd Psalm a detailed, explicit account of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. A thousand years before Christ, David sees this remarkable scene, and in a wondrous poem pens the meaning of the suffering and the praise that flow from the cross.
It’s wonderful to think about the fact, too, that Psalm 22 is quoted seven times in the New Testament, every time in reference to Jesus Christ. It’s wonderful to realize that David was describing crucifixion, and crucifixion was something that David never even understood, something that never even occurred in his lifetime, for crucifixion was not a kind of punishment familiar to David. And so David was not simply speaking of something that was common to his mind. It wasn’t. It didn’t exist in his culture. And yet, he described it with such explicit detail, that it is as accurate a description as is that of the gospel record.
You say, “How did David know that?” Well, for one thing, in Acts chapter 2 and verse 30, the Holy Spirit says David was a prophet. David was a prophet. And so, we’re given here David’s insights from the Holy Spirit into a future that hasn’t even happened. And yet, it is so explicit that we feel much like we were there on the very day He died, gathered around the cross with the crowd of whom it says, “Sitting down, they watched Him there.” I might add, too, that there perhaps is no greater picture of the humility of the gracious sacrifice than this one in Psalm 22.
Now, the Psalm has two parts. The first 21 verses are prayer. From verse 22 to 31 is praise. Prayer and praise. Let’s start with the prayer, verses 1 to 21, and the scene is the Messiah on the cross. Yes, this is an event in David’s life. Yes, there was a time in David’s life when he was in distress and cried out to God, and this was a very real thing to David, but it goes far beyond David; it has a double fulfillment. In a sense, its limited fulfillment is related to what’s happening to David, and its fullest fulfillment is for the future, referring to Christ.
For the moment, for our study, skipping David, we go right to Christ, and we see in the Psalm, the Messiah on the cross, and He is praying. And His prayer is a cry. His prayer is a plaintive prayer. It is a deep petition coming from the innermost part of His being. It is a cry, I believe, based on five causes. Number one was separation, the first five verses. After three hours of supernatural darkness came the ninth hour, and Jesus, pained in that ninth hour by the silence of God, Whose silence He had never known in all eternity, cried out. And first of all, I think David shows us here that He cries out out of the separation, the sense of separation.
Look at verse 1, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Why art Thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” He’s feeling separation. By the way, the word “roaring” is used in some places to translate the very roaring of a lion. But I don’t think that’s its use here. It is also used to refer sometimes to an inward groaning. We know that when Christ was on the cross, there was no lion-like roaring. So, no doubt it has reference to that groaning within Him, that roaring inwardly as He bore the burden of separation from God. Perhaps also the roaring could have reference to His verbal groaning and agony in the Garden of Gethsemane as He anticipated the sin bearing of the cross. But whether it is the outburst in the Garden, or the inward groaning as He hung suspended between earth and sky, it is borne out of a sense of separation.
Now, let me hasten to add that this is not a lapse of faith; this is not broken confidence; this is a cry of disorientation, because Jesus Christ was so used to God’s familiar, protective presence. He was so used to the fact that the Father was there. And now, all of a sudden, the Father’s presence on the cross is withdrawn, and in the disorientation, He cries out as the enemy closes in, and the eternally sinless One bears all the sins of all of history.
Verse 2, “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.” I think in the turmoil and the struggle and the trial of His heart, He knew that God heard Him as if He were shouting at the top of His voice. And that inward groaning and that inward roaring reached God when it was daytime, and it reached God when that supernatural, unearthly darkness brought a night season of darkness over the cross in the middle of the day. All through that, God must have been aware of the groanings of the heart of Christ. But again I hasten to add there was no lapse of faith, just a sense of disorientation, because it had never been like this, nor would it ever be so again.
But to show you that His faith was ever constant, verse 3, “Thou art holy, O Thou Who inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our father’s trusted in Thee. They trusted, and Thou didst deliver them. They cried unto Thee and were delivered. They trusted in Thee and were not confounded.” In classic fashion, Jesus deals with a disorientation in circumstance by reaffirming two things: God’s character and God’s past history. Ever and always, for the state of God, those two things remove any disorientation, any vicissitude, or any trial, or any trouble, or any anxiety for which we have no immediate answer. “Thou art holy,” which affirms, “God, I understand why You must pull Yourself apart from Me, for at this moment I bear sin,” and He reaffirms the holy character of God, and then He reaffirms the past history that God has never forsaken His people, and He will not forsake His Son.
And so, we have found here, as we find throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament, and as I hope you have found in your own experience, when you come to a situation which seems to have no resolution, when you are disoriented because there is no explanation for what is occurring, before you fall to the sin of doubting God, reaffirm who He is and what He has done, and be confident in that very thing. And so, the Son reasons that the Father has forsaken Him, and there is a separation because the Father cannot tolerate the very sin which He the Son, at that moment, is bearing.
Now listen to me. Instead of the Son questioning whether God pities Him, the Son praises God for a proper reaction in holiness. There’s no questioning here. Jesus doesn’t wonder about whether God is merciful. He doesn’t question why God would let this happen. He affirms that it must be the proper reaction of His absolute holiness. There’s no sin here. And so, He knows that God is a covenant-keeping God. And He knows that as the Son, He has an eternal covenant within the Trinity that’ll never be broken. And so, He is affirming in His mind that God is not looking because He is holy, and that God will put it together again because He has an internal relationship with Him. So, this is only temporary.
Christ didn’t flounder in His grief. He held to the rock of the divine character. It’s interesting to me that you have, in verse 3, “Thou,” and then you have “Thou” again in verse 4. And then you have “Thee” in verse 5. And then you have “Thee” again in verse 5. And every one of those in the Hebrew is an emphatic use of a pronoun. The affirmation of God strengthened Him even in the moment of separation. He was forsaken, but He never lost confidence in the character of God.
There was a second cause for His cry. Not only separation but scorn. Look at verse 6. Scorn. “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people.” That’s amazing language for the Son of God. A worm? No man? Less than human? A reproach? Despised? He was a worm.
In Isaiah 52:14, it says, “His visage,” – or His face – “was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.” Isaiah 53 says, “There was no beauty in him that men should desire him.” They had beaten Him raw, crippled His body. They had crushed a crown of thorns into His face, and on top of that, the spit and the slaps and the plucking of His beard left His face a mass of blood. He was not a pretty sight. He was despised. He was rejected. There was scorn. Verse 7, “All they who see me laugh me to scorn.” And so, His cry to the Father came from the scorn that He bore.
There’s an interesting thought in the term “worm” in verse 6. “I am a worm.” What is He saying there? Well, a worm would be the least of all things. Something ugly, undesirable. And yet there’s more to that. The Hebrew word for worm is tolath, T-O-L-A-T-H in English. And if you follow the word tolath through the Old Testament, you find something very interesting. When you find the word tolath in Isaiah chapter 1 verse 18, it is translated “crimson,” which means red or scarlet. If you follow the word tolath into Exodus 25:4, you find that it is translated “scarlet.” Now, why would the same Hebrew word be worm in one place and scarlet or crimson in another place? It doesn’t seem to have any connection at all until you find out, by studying history, that there was a worm called the scarlet worm. And the worm called the scarlet worm became the scarlet worm for one simple reason: this little worm was a source of fluid which was used by the ancients to make scarlet dye. And when its little life was crushed out, there came out of it a thick, scarlet-colored fluid which was diffused and used as a dye.
Jesus Christ, in a sense, became that scarlet worm, didn’t He? He appeared to be ugly, and yet, when His life was crushed out, the blood that came out of Him became the source not of changing the color of somebody’s garments, but of changing the destiny of somebody’s eternity. The scarlet worm.
This little worm had an interesting life cycle. As I started to study this little worm, I got kinda curious. I wanted to know more about it. And I found out that this is how that this little worm flowed in its life cycle. The mother worm of the species would be ready to give birth to a little baby worm, and she will implant her body in a tree trunk or a tree branch or sometimes a post or a stick of wood. But always the body would be firmly stuck to a piece of wood, and she would give birth to the little worms and in so doing die and come to death completely stuck to that wood.
It’s interesting, though, that when – apparently, as science has examined this particular worm, that when the worm gave birth, it lived long enough to care for those little worms before they crawled off on their own. Then the worm would die. The scarlet fluid in the body emerged to stain the body and stain the tree as well. What an apt picture of Jesus Christ and His blood-stained cross as He gives birth to all those who name His name. He was a worm, yes, but maybe just not like we think.
Further, look at verse 7, “All they who see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head” – you can see that; it’s vivid isn’t it? Just stick out the lip and shake the head, mock them. Very vivid. And that is exactly what happened, didn’t it? In Matthew 27:39, it says, “And passing by, they reviled Him, wagging their heads.” Sort of like, “Ha-ha-ha, look what You finally got.” Shooting out their lip. Shooting out the lip is used sometimes to speak of opening the mouth wide to scream and shout sneering insults. So, it wasn’t just the separation from which He cried to the Father; it was the scorn as well.
The form of their scorn we see in verse 8. What do they say? “He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver him: let Him deliver him, seeing he delighted in Him.” “He trusts so much in the Lord; let the Lord get him out of this mess.” Yeah, these unbelievers had a false premise. Their premise was God is there for our convenience. And they thought if He really knew God, He’d snap His fingers and God, like some utilitarian genie, would come down and meet His particular need. By the way, the statement of Psalm 22 is exactly what the people said. Exactly. Predicted 1,000 years before any of those people were ever born.
There was a third reason that Jesus cried out. Not only His separation and His scorn, but thirdly, I believe, His solitude. His solitude. Verse 9 and 10, “But Thou” – He says to God – “art He Who took me out of the womb. Thou didst make me hope upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon Thee from the womb. Thou art my God from my mother’s body.” He goes back to the unique conception of birth by which He entered the human world and became flesh and dwelt among us.
And He says, “God, in effect, You brought Me into this. God, You made Me. God, it was You that prepared” – as Hebrews said – “a body for Me. And now, in the midst of this, have You left Me alone? This whole thing was Your plan. And I had all my hope in You. And now I’m alone.”
I think in Job chapter 10 verse 8, it’s interesting to hear Job say similarly, “Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about, for Thou doest – yet Thou doest destroy me. Remember, I beseech Thee, that Thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt Thou bring me into dust again? Hast Thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? Thou has clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favor, and Thy care has preserved my spirit.” And he goes on, saying, “God, You started all of this. You brought it all to pass; now where are You?”
In other words, the Lord is saying, “I had my hope in You,” and He senses the solitude. Verse 11, “Be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is” – what? – “none to help.”
You say, “Where were the disciples?” Oh, Matthew 26:56 says, “The disciples all forsook Him and fled.” Prophets had said that, “Smite the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.” And now He was alone. No disciples to come to His aid, those same disciples to whose aid He had come so many times. And so He cries not only out of separation and scorn, but out of solitude.
There’s a fourth cause of His cry. Verses 12 and 13, and I believe this is satanic hosts. Some have felt that this portion refers to the crowd gathered around, and it’s just a human designation. And I think that it well could include that, but I think it goes beyond that to the demons from Satan who must have been having a high carnival as they saw Christ hanging on the cross. Verse 12, “Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, like a ravening and a roaring lion.” Now, I really feel He’s talking about demonic hosts. I think Christ can perceive these hosts of demons gaping with their mouths like ravening and roaring lions, bulls of Bashan.
Verse 16, “Dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me in.” I believe He is sensing the hosts of Hell. I believe He sees the serpent bruising His heel.
You say, “Why do you think it’s demons?” Well, for one thing, Bashan is an interesting term. Bashan was an area of the finest pastureland in that part of the world. And so, in the land of Bashan grew the biggest bulls because it was the best pasture. But it was also a solitary pastureland, where there was no domestication of the bulls, and so the bulls of Bashan were large, and they were totally wild.
And it’s fascinating, if you study Canaanitish religion to find out this: that the Canaanites believed that the bulls of Bashan were possessed with bull spirits, and that the kingdom of Bashan was literally operating or functioning from these bull-like spirits who entered and possessed people. So, there was an occultic, demonic history of the Canaanitish religion relative to the bulls of Bashan. And so, I think what our Lord is seeing is far more than just an angry crowd, far more than just babbling human beings. I think our Lord is well sensing the closing in of the forces of Hell as they do everything they can to put Him out of existence.
In verse 16, the dogs who encompassed Him may well refer to demon spirits indwelling the Gentile soldiers as the bulls of Bashan may be those demon spirits either indwelling or visible to Christ around the Jewish crowd. But verse 16, that statement, “The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me,” I see all hell gathered around that cross. I think that’s why Paul, in Colossians tells us that when Jesus died on the cross, He triumphed over the hosts of demons. I think it’s why Paul tells us that He openly displayed His victory over them. Peter, I think, tells us the same thing. Hebrews 2 tells us, “He destroyed him who had the power of death.” While Hell and all its hosts thought this was their great day, little did they know that on that very moment, the Messiah was bruising the serpent’s head, crushing Satan.
So, His prayer rose out of separation and scorn and solitude and satanic hosts. And then a fifth. I believe the prayer of Christ rose out of His suffering. I believe He cried out to God because of the tremendous anguish of suffering. And I see that in verse 14. And he describes here so graphically crucifixion, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted within me.” Poured out like water. My heart is like wax melted. The idea that all of the fluids of the body are drying up and ceasing to function, and the heart begins to flutter, and death finally comes. “All my bones are out of joint.”
Anybody who’s examined the method of crucifixion used in Jesus’ time knows that He was suspended on four great wounds: two in His hands and two in His feet. And the body, hanging on a cross in that fashion would slump itself out of joint, and in so doing literally suffocate the internal organs. And that’s how death came: very, very slowly.
And if the slump wasn’t bad enough to kill the person, after a while a soldier would come by with a tremendous piece of wood and smash the upper legs, crushing both bones so that the body would slump even more, and death would be more speedy. And so, we see the drying up of the fluids, and we see the dislocation of bones that occurs in crucifixion.
Verse 15, “My strength is dried up like a potsherd” – that’s an interesting thing; it’s a broken piece of pottery that a potter would discard, he would throw on the ground, and in the heat and the arid climate, and the blazing sun, it would become splintered and cracked and crinkled and dry. And the Messiah on the cross sees Himself the same way, as a broken, wrinkled, splintered, dried piece of clay. “My tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.” Thirst. The excruciating, unbelievable thirst that would come to someone suspended in front of the sky in the east. Blazing sun and nothing to quench His thirst.
And then verse 16, at the end of the verse, “They pierced my hands and my feet.” How did David know that? How did he know that? He had no idea of crucifixion. But God was giving him a picture centuries before it happened. And you’ll remember they nailed Him there that way, piercing His hands and feet.
Verse 17, “I may count all my bones: they look and stare upon me.” In other words, He, with the head slumping down, after a while unable to lift it again, sees nothing but His bones. In other words, He is there naked in front of the leers of the bestial mob who stare at Him, exposed to them. The wonderful Son of God.
I think these are the things out of which His cry came. In fact, maybe I could add a sixth. There may have been one other cause, too, for the cry of His heart, and that was a lack of sensitivity, or the absence of sensitivity.
Verse 18, this must have hurt deeply, “They part my garments among them and cast lots upon my vesture.” You know, that’s exactly what the Roman soldiers did. They didn’t know this prophecy, but they fulfilled it. They gambled for His cloak. You know, a man’s outer cloak was a very precious thing. Did you know that? In fact, if you study the Old Testament, you find that no one could ever take a man’s cloak as surety for anything without giving it back to him before nightfall, because that was his blanket; that was his bed. A man’s outer cloak was the most important possession he had. And when a person died, the common thing was to take that outer cloak and give it to his mother or give it to his brother or give it to someone in his family. Especially a poor Galilean carpenter. They were so indifferent to Him. They were so indifferent to His mother. They were so indifferent to beloved John. They were indifferent to everything, and all they could do is gamble to see who won His coat. Now, you’ve got to be a pretty callous solider to watch somebody hanging on a cross, bleeding and dying, and have nothing better to do than to gamble to see who gets His coat. That indifference must have pained Jesus deeply. That lack of sensitivity.
And I believe it’s out of those five or six things that the cry of Christ came to the Father. The prayer comes to a climax in verse 19 to 21. Look at it. “But be not Thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste Thee to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword” – perhaps a reference to Roman power – “my only one from the power of the dog.” His enemy. “Save me from the lion’s mouth” – now you see, He’s crying out and crying out, and then this last line, just thrilling – “for Thou hast heard me, though I were already suspended on the horns of the wild oxen about to be gored.”
“In the last moment,” He says, “at the final moment, when I could be rescued, Thou hast heard Me.” And so, as His prayer comes to a climax, He affirms that God has heard. The Father’s silence must have been broken at that point. There must have been something in the heart of Jesus that knew God had heard and all was well.
And the prayer ends in verse 21, and we come to the praise in verse 22. Look at it; it’s exciting, “I will declare Thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.” Now wait a minute, folks. All of this pain, and then immediately all of this praise. Something must have happened between verse 21 and 22. Do you know what it was? Take a guess. The resurrection. The resurrection.
“I will declare Thy name unto my brethren.” Where did He go immediately after His resurrection? To meet with His brethren. He was alive again, and thus the praise. “In the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.” And He lifts up praise. The resurrection has taken place.
Verse 23, “Ye who fear the Lord, praise Him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him; and fear Him, all ye the seed of Israel. For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath He hidden His face from him; but when he cried unto Him, He heard. My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear Him.”
God, I’ll praise you, and I’ll live for you, and I’ll fulfill My promise, because You fulfilled Yours. And so, really, verses 23 to 25 is praise. And then He continues His praise by speaking of a seed, a redeemed seed in verse 26, “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek Him: your heart shall live forever. All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee. For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and He is the governor among the nations. All they that are fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.” Here it is: “A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that He hath done this.”
You’re part of that seed, beloved. You’re part of that people that shall be born. The redeemed that came out of the death and the resurrection. And so, you have 21 verses of cries from the cross. You have the resurrection; it turns to praise, and it turns to redemption as those who come in meekness eat and are satisfied as a seed serves Him. A seed not even yet born.
And so, David shows us wonderfully, marvelously, blessedly the gracious sacrifice, the gracious sacrifice. The writer of Hebrews put it this way, “Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant.” The writer of Hebrews says, “He brought Him forth from the dead and made Him that great Shepherd of the sheep.” Now listen, in Psalm 22, you have the gracious sacrifice.
In Psalm 23, you have the what? The good Shepherd. Look at it, will you? Just going to read it. We don’t have time to go into it; I hadn’t planned to. Just to read it, “The Lord is my Shepherd” – why? Because He’s alive. In Psalm 22, listen, you have His sacrificial work. In Psalm 23, you have His priestly work. He is alive, and, “I shall not want.” Why? Because He intercedes; because He bears my needs; because He carries my cares; because He meets my supply.
And he talks about supply in verse 2, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, and leads me beside still waters.” He talks about a spiritual renewal in verse 3, “He restores my soul: He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” He talks about solace in verse 4, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I’ll fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”
He talks about security in verse 5, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” He says He is a High Priest, a good Shepherd who cares for His sheep with supply, spiritual renewal, solace and security, and ultimately, verse 6, “Goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord” – how long? – “forever.” It’s because of the priestly work of Christ.
So, the Lamb of 22 becomes the Shepherd of 23, and 23 closes with an introduction of the eternal kingdom. I’ll dwell in His house forever. We’ve gone from His sacrificial to His intercessory work. But that’s not all. The gracious sacrifice became the good Shepherd who one day becomes the glorious Sovereign.
Look at Psalm 24. There’s coming a coronation day, a day when the Shepherd becomes the King. And because He died on the cross, and because He rose from the grave, and because He’s fulfilled His high priestly work, there’s going to come a coronation. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they who dwell therein. For He hath founded it above the seas, and established it upon the floods.” The all-creating One, the Source will reign. He is not only the Source, He is the Sanctified in verse 3, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?” Who’s going to be with Him in that time? “He who hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them who seek him, who seek Thy face, even Jacob.”
He is a holy God. He is the sanctified One, the all-holy One, and only those with clean hands and a pure heart come to His kingdom. Finally, He is the strong One. He is the Source. He is the Sanctified, and He is the Strong, verse 7, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” The greatest battle He ever waged was waged where? At the cross.
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors” – we’re talking about the gates and the doors of the eternal kingdom – “and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.”
Listen, beloved, we find everything in these three Psalms, from His sacrificial work, to His intercessory work, to His coronation. There’s a big difference between 22:1, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me,” and 24:10, “Who is the King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.”
But summing it up, let me say this: in one glimpse, through the heart and the mind of David, you have seen the fullness of the majesty of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, from the cross to the kingdom. You know why He did it? Why did He do it? For you and for me. All I can think of is the hymn, “Hallelujah, what a Savior.” What a tremendous Savior to do such a tremendous work.