While Psalm 21 is all about the reigning, conquering King of the universe, Psalm 22 gives indication of the kind of suffering this King will go thorough when He appears the first time. This is something that the Jews had missed at the first advent of Jesus. They were expecting someone who would overthrow the Roman government and reestablish their own sovereign state. But alas, the promised King was uncharacteristically born to a poor family in a barn, putting a big dent to Jesus' credibility as the promised King among the Jews. To this day, many Jews are still awaiting the arrival of this reigning, conquering King.
David, in vivid prophetical description of Jesus' agonizing death on the cross, plumbs the depth of his own suffering and, aided by the Holy Spirit, gives a startling revelation of future events spanning hundreds of years. The very first words of Psalm 22, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" echoes Jesus' cry on the cross. Then in verse 7, Jesus' poignant experience in the hands of the Jews while on the cross was clearly depicted: "All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads, 'He trusts in the Lord,' they say, 'let the Lord rescue him...'"
When Jesus experienced excruciating pain and thirst, David, through his own experience hundreds of years before, remarkably predicted the exact agonizing pain of Jesus on the cross. This is how he described his own suffering in verses 14-18:
"I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment."
Amazingly, David has just perfectly described the Savior's future incomprehensible suffering that brought about redemption to humanity's fall. One of the greatest proofs of the accuracy, reliability, and infallibility of the Word of God is its fulfilled prophecies.
With great determination and remarkable faith, in the midst of his intense suffering, David continues to hold on to the greatest hope he has - God himself. He proclaims and affirms, "But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me."
With God on his side, David emerges victorious, his faith unscathed, and now he encourages everyone to put their trust in the Lord, to fear, praise, and honor Him. He cries out triumphantly, "I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!"
Psalm 22, though it directly expresses David's own experience, is all about the future suffering and the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus for our sins which is fulfilled in Calvary. His death freed us and gave life to our dying soul. As we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus, submit and follow Him, we discover that there is more to this life than we have ever known. Like David this is what I proclaim and will continue to proclaim:
"They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!"