“They have pierced my hands and feet” (Psalm 22:16)
Psalm 22 is a Psalm of David and is a lament of an individual in extreme distress, one that is innocent yet under the attack and mockery of immoral people. This individual cries out to God with no relief or answer to his prayers, however, knowing the time will come for vindication and worship again with God’s people.
Knowing that this individual is suffering yet innocent, in extreme distress, at the whim of immoral people mocking him, and crying out to God with no answer, we can ask ourselves who this is ultimately a picture of. The New Testament authors use this very Psalm in describing, and attributing its depiction to, the suffering of Christ:
“they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” (Psalm 22:18)
“And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. (Matthew 27:35)
“All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads” (Psalm 22:7)
“And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads” (Matthew 27:39)
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;let him rescue him, for he delights in him” (Psalm 22:8)!
“He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God’” (Psalm 27:43).
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning” (Psalm 22:1)?
“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Matthew 27:46)?
Our Psalm focuses on verses 11-22. The individual observes that as God “took me from the womb,” “made me trust you at my mother’s breasts,” and having been his God from his mother’s womb, he can confidently pray, “Be not far from me” (v.11). He goes on to mention the enemies that surround him (v. 12-18). Finally, as in v. 11, he confidently requests of God relief (v. 19-21), and in v. 22 praises his God in the midst of the congregation.
This Psalm gives us an image of Jesus, who was the supreme suffering servant, who now, as the head, rejoices in the midst of his Church (Psalm 22:22; Hebrews 2:12)
*The lyrics in the sheet music may differ in a few spots compared to the song example but not with such difficulty that you can’t pick which one you choose to sing.