By Henry Mahan
Mr. Spurgeon said, 'This Psalm may have been actually repeated word by word by our Lord when hanging on the tree. It begins with 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' and ends, according to some, in the original with, 'It is finished.'
David and his afflictions may be here in a very modified sense; but, as the star is concealed by the light of the sun. He who sees the Lord Jesus will probably neither see nor care to see David. Before us, in this Psalm, we have a description both of the darkness and of the glory of the cross--the sufferings of Christ and the glory which shall follow.'
v. 1. What is the one great cause of such a thing as for God to forsake his Son at such a time? There was no cause in him: why then was he forsaken? Christ was our substitute, who was numbered with the transgressors and who bore our sins in his own body. He endured our death, judgment, and hell, being separated from God for a time.
v. 2. Our Lord prayed in the daytime of life and in the night season of death. Our Lord prayed when he was heard and even in this dark hour of desertion, when he was not heard. He believed perfectly for us, his elect.
v. 3. Our Lord seems to marvel (as do all who know that the Father and Son are One) how the holy God could forsake him and be silent to his cries. But the argument is, 'thou art holy.' His mercy, love, and grace are seen in God's giving his Son to die for us; and the holiness of God is seen in the forsaking of Christ.
God must be just and holy, even in the expression of his love.
vv. 4-5. Our Lord pleads the past dealings of God with his people. Three times he says, 'They trusted,' and never left off trusting and were not put to shame. They trusted Jehovah (God our Saviour), Who in Christ will always hear. The plural pronoun 'our Father' shows Christ's oneness with them and us.
v. 6. 'I am a worm.' What abasement! What a miracle! What a contrast between 'I AM' and 'I am a worm.' He was made lower than the angels (Psalm 8: 4-5), in the form of a servant, identified with Jacob, the worm (Mal. 3:6). He was forsaken that we might be accepted (Eph. 1:6).
vv. 7-8. Our Lord endured every cruelty, scorn, and insult. Not only did he bear the wrath of God but the contempt of men.
Read the account in Matthew 27:39-44. Find the five forms of taunts hurled at Christ in these verses.
vv. 9-10. The Son of Man was marvelously begotten of the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:34-35). God prepared a body for him (Heb. 10:5- 7). From the womb he was God incarnate, the sinner's hope: and he knew from that day his mission was sure and secure (John 6:37-39).
v. 11. Our Lord's great woe was that God had forsaken him. His great prayer was that God would sustain him even in this hour. 'There is none to help.' He must tread the winepress alone ('by himself purge our sins') and, being a man, must have Divine help. Our Lord is the Lamb slain from the beginning, but he must die! Our Lord has a people, but he must pray for them! Our Lord has all power, but as our substitute he prays for Divine presence.
vv. 12-13. The mighty ones in the crowd are meant. The priests, Pharisees, rulers, and captains all surrounded the cross of this naked, rejected one, mocking him.
vv. 14-17. Our Lord describes his condition and suffering. his greatest agony and suffering were soul miseries (Isa. 53:10-11), but the death of the cross was indescribable agony. He was utterly spent, like water poured out on the ground. The intense pain made his heart to feel like wax melted in the heat. His strength and moisture were dried up and his tongue swollen with thirst. They drove nails in his hands and feet; and he was so stretched upon the cross that one could see all his bones against the skin, pulled out of joint.
v. 18. Every act of the wicked men at Calvary was prophesied in scripture (Acts 4:26-28: Acts 13:29-30.).
vv. 19-21. O what a perfect Saviour! 'Having loved his own, he loved them to the end;' and even in his lowest hour of suffering, he wants nothing but his God. 'O Lord, my strength, deliver my soul from the sword (Zech. 13:7), my darling from the power of the dog.' Was not this prayer for us, his own? (John 11).
vv. 22-31. Here in these verses is the foretaste of deliverance and victory! Our Redeemer beholds the glory of his triumph and the results of his suffering and rejoices (Isa. 53:11-12). 'I will declare thy name unto my brethren.' He speaks here of his church. He is not ashamed to call them brethren (Heb. 2:10-12).
'The seed of Israel' is all believers (Gal. 3:7, 29). 'All the ends of the world and nations shall worship thee.' Our Lord has a people of every nation (Rev. 5:9).
They shall come from all parts and declare his righteousness, those who are born of God; and it shall be said, 'the Lord hath done this!'