Series: Songs of Worship—Getting Real With God
Speaker and Writer: Elia King
Refresh: Open with prayer. Ask God for understanding through the Holy Spirit.
Read: Psalm 22:1–18 (ESV). As you read the English Standard Version, note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Have you ever asked a question, expecting an answer, and received no response? This might be one of the most irritating facts of life for me as a parent of two kids under the age of ten. Sure, it can be irksome or surprising to get an answer I’m not expecting to questions like, Who left the front door open? Or, Who set up this elaborate obstacle course of Lego and other sharp toys and then turned off the lights? OK . . . admittedly that last question was a little complex. Sometimes the questions are more simple: Would you please go and put on your socks and shoes? Or, Did you finish all of your breakfast?
These seem like direct questions with easy answers. But as a parent, there are few things that make my blood boil faster than asking what I presume to be an easy-to-answer question, only to get zero response. It is one thing to get an answer I wasn’t expecting. But it’s another thing altogether for my questions to be met with silence.
In one of the most famously-quoted Psalms in the collection, the Psalmist asks God a very direct question. He may have been hoping for a simple answer. But like so many who have asked the same question, the Psalmist must have known the answer to that question could not be so simple. But he asked anyway. Why have you forsaken me? Why have you abandoned me now, when I need you the most?
Quite unlike a distracted child who is too busy to stop playing to acknowledge our questions, he must have known with some fiber of his being that God must have heard. But something feels different in the relationship. The friend who was once close now feels distant and disconnected. The one who was quick to answer now feels slow to respond. This does not add up, and the Psalmist gives us the vocabulary to ask, Why?
Recalibrate: What questions has God left unanswered in your life?
Respond: Ask God for the wisdom to understand why some questions in your life have gone unanswered.
Research: The word for “worm” used in this text is refers to a specific type of insect: the coccus ilicis worm. Do a Google search for coccus ilicis. What significance do you think this has in Jesus’ reference to this Psalm during the crucifixion story recorded in the Gospels?