Saturday, 17th October 2020
Title: The Calm after the Storm
By Wong Yoke Ming
Psalm 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
“If ever there was a Psalm of the cross, this is it”, wrote Charles Haddon Spurgeon, in his book “Treasury of David”. The very words that Jesus cried out from the cross!! And as we read through the verses in this Davidic Psalm, we have a sense of the deep pain and separation that Jesus had to bear even before the cross He was nailed to was dropped into the ground.
Did He depend on relief from men? Of course not – He refused to acknowledge that Pilate had ‘power’ over Him (John 19:10); He refused the wine vinegar that was offered to dull the pain; in His tortured state, He hung on that cross stark naked (fulfilling Psalm 22: 12-18); and He gave up His Spirit with the words “It is finished” (John 19:30) – the same words (although in Greek) as the last verse of Psalm 22 (“he has done it” written in Hebrew).
Tortured and nailed to the cross, our Lord endured the extremities of human cruelty, yet never lost sight of His Deliverer – Eloi! Eloi! – not “Abba”. His use of the Name “El” reflected His faith in the “All Powerful” (as in “El Shaddai” – Almighty God). In Psalm 22:31 reads: “they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn” – a people who had not existed then: the Christian people. Only One has ever been born righteous: but for those born again, the ‘new’ man (in Old Testament times “yet unborn”) is now in place of the ‘old’.
And the new man now begins to face the tribulation that Jesus told us about (John 16:33).
Have we ever ‘cried out’ the words of this Psalm that mirror the cry of dereliction from the cross? In the constant tensions that we face today, are we still relying on the strength of our own knowledge?
If even our Lord Jesus Christ felt so deserted and alone on that cross, we can be sure that we would feel that dereliction in time to come, maybe for some even now – the same “Where is God in my pain?” as we take up our cross and follow Him. Are we to turn to human deliverance or will we cry out to “El Shaddai”?
Henry Blackaby wrote that we will encounter a “crisis of belief” (“Experiencing God” – Henry Blackaby and Claude King) at various times in our lives. In today’s world of Covid-19 pandemic and “lock-downs”, even loss of loved ones, economic challenges and even, sometimes, the unspoken loneliness of isolation, have we reflected on the cry of dereliction from that “old rugged cross”?
Can we even imagine the pain of separation, that Jesus felt, from a perfect trinitarian oneness or the utter humility of the “Creator” becoming the “created” (Phil. 2:5-8) – that He may taste the same trials that we face and infinitely more than that! But Jesus assures us that He has overcome a fallen world.
These are desperate times, which for sure, will lead to extreme times – but these extremities will demand steadfast faith from the Christian. Covid19 has not gone away. The clusters are growing, the infection rate is climbing, medical experts warn of Covid-19 resurgence in the coming months. We are beginning to see confirmation of new infections in our own neighbourhoods, also in the popular shopping malls – all the people who have been to such places, where are they? Have they all been traced and tested? We can never be sure, but we have certainty in a God Who has overcome.
But Psalm 22 is not the end. After the strife of Psalm 22, and because “He has done it”, we have Psalm 23 that follow: “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want”…. “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever”.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You Who has shown me the pain and suffering I would have gone through if You had not given Your Son to suffer as I should have. As I read the Psalms, may they remind me that these would have been my judgement – the pain of separation, the pain of humiliation and the stripping off of my dignity as a child created in Your image. But Your great love for Your children caused You to send my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to bear these sufferings in my place. The best of all is Your reminder that I have a Great Shepherd and I have the promise of eternal peace in Your house. Thank you O God. In Christ’s Name we pray, AMEN.
诗篇22：1 “我的神! 我的神! 祢为什么离弃我?”
查尔斯·哈登·司布真（Charles Haddon Spurgeon）在他的大卫的宝藏一书中写道：“如果有十字架诗篇的话，就是这首了。”耶稣在十字架上呼喊的正是这句话! 当我们阅读这首大卫所写的诗篇中的经文时，我们感同身受耶稣在钉十字架之前所承受的深深的痛苦和分离。
我们的主被折磨并钉在十字架上，承受着残酷的人类极端残忍对待，却从来未曾忽视他的拯救者 — 以罗伊! 以罗伊!（Eloi）—不是“ 阿爸”(Abba)。他使用“ 以”( “El” 又译为以勒、以利) 这个名字来反映他对“ 全能”（如“ 以勒沙代El Shaddai”—全能的上帝）的信心。在诗篇22:31中写道：“他们要把他的公义传给以后出生的民，说明这是他所作的。” —以后出生的民指的乃是那时还不存在的人民：基督徒的人民。唯有一人曾生于公义：而对于那些重生的人来说，“新人”（在旧约时代是“尚未出生”）现在代替了“旧人”。
如果连我们的主耶稣基督都感到如此地被独自弃绝在那十字架上，我们可以肯定我们也会有感到被遗弃的时候， 也许对一些人来说现在就是被遗弃的时刻 — 同样的，当我们背起十字架来跟随祂， “在我痛苦时，上帝在那里? ”我们是转向人群来寻求解脱， 还是向以勒沙代（El Shaddai全能的上帝）呼唤?
亨利·布莱克比（Henry Blackaby）写道，在我们的生命中我们会遇到“信仰危机”（“体验上帝” —亨利·布莱克比和克劳德·金）。在现今的新冠肺炎大流感和“封锁”世界中，面对失去亲人，经济挑战，有时甚至是隔离的孤寂，我们是否也体会到在“古老的十字架”上被遗弃时的呐喊?
这是个绝望的时代，肯定会导至极端的时代—而这些极端使基督徒必须持有坚定信念来面对。新冠肺炎尚未消除。医学专家警告说，在未来几个月中，病毒簇正在增加，感染率持续攀升。我们开始看到新感染的确在我们自己的社区以及购物商场。所有去过这些地方的人都在哪里? 是否都对他们进行了跟踪和测试? 我们永远不能确定，但是我们对已经战胜的上帝却是有确定的。
祷告：天父，祢让我知道如果不是祢的独生爱子的替代， 那些痛苦和苦难都是我应当遭受的。诗篇提醒我这就是我的判诀 — 隔绝的痛苦、屈辱的痛苦以及剥夺我在孩童开始就以祢的形象和样式所造的尊严。但是祢对祢孩子的大爱使祢差派我的主和救主耶稣基督来代替我承担这些苦难。最难能可贵的是祢提醒我，我有一位好牧人，我在祢家中有永恒的平安的应许。上帝啊，谢谢你。我们奉基督的名祷告，阿们。