Jeremiah 46 & Psalm 22

Jeremiah 46

    The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations.

    About Egypt. Concerning the army of Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates at Carchemish and which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:

    “Prepare buckler and shield,
        and advance for battle!
    Harness the horses;
        mount, O horsemen!
    Take your stations with your helmets,
        polish your spears,
        put on your armor!
    Why have I seen it?
    They are dismayed
        and have turned backward.
    Their warriors are beaten down
        and have fled in haste;
    they look not back—
        terror on every side!
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD.
    
    
    “The swift cannot flee away,
        nor the warrior escape;
    in the north by the river Euphrates
        they have stumbled and fallen.
    
    
    “Who is this, rising like the Nile,
        like rivers whose waters surge?
    Egypt rises like the Nile,
        like rivers whose waters surge.
    He said, ‘I will rise, I will cover the earth,
        I will destroy cities and their inhabitants.’
    Advance, O horses,
        and rage, O chariots!
    Let the warriors go out:
        men of Cush and Put who handle the shield,
        men of Lud, skilled in handling the bow.
    That day is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts,
        a day of vengeance,
        to avenge himself on his foes.
    The sword shall devour and be sated
        and drink its fill of their blood.
    For the Lord GOD of hosts holds a sacrifice
        in the north country by the river Euphrates.
    Go up to Gilead, and take balm,
        O virgin daughter of Egypt!
    In vain you have used many medicines;
        there is no healing for you.
    The nations have heard of your shame,
        and the earth is full of your cry;
    for warrior has stumbled against warrior;
        they have both fallen together.”
    
    
        The word that the LORD spoke to Jeremiah the prophet about the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to strike the land of Egypt:

    “Declare in Egypt, and proclaim in Migdol;
        proclaim in Memphis and Tahpanhes;
    say, ‘Stand ready and be prepared,
        for the sword shall devour around you.’
    Why are your mighty ones face down?
        They do not stand
        because the LORD thrust them down.
    He made many stumble, and they fell,
        and they said one to another,
    ‘Arise, and let us go back to our own people
        and to the land of our birth,
        because of the sword of the oppressor.’
    Call the name of Pharaoh, king of Egypt,
        ‘Noisy one who lets the hour go by.’
    
    
    “As I live, declares the King,
        whose name is the LORD of hosts,
    like Tabor among the mountains
        and like Carmel by the sea, shall one come.
    Prepare yourselves baggage for exile,
        O inhabitants of Egypt!
    For Memphis shall become a waste,
        a ruin, without inhabitant.
    
    
    “A beautiful heifer is Egypt,
        but a biting fly from the north has come upon her.
    Even her hired soldiers in her midst
        are like fattened calves;
    yes, they have turned and fled together;
        they did not stand,
    for the day of their calamity has come upon them,
        the time of their punishment.
    
    
    “She makes a sound like a serpent gliding away;
        for her enemies march in force
    and come against her with axes
        like those who fell trees.
    They shall cut down her forest,
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD,
        though it is impenetrable,
    because they are more numerous than locusts;
        they are without number.
    The daughter of Egypt shall be put to shame;
        she shall be delivered into the hand of a people from the north.”
    
    
        The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, said: “Behold, I am bringing punishment upon Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh and Egypt and her gods and her kings, upon Pharaoh and those who trust in him. I will deliver them into the hand of those who seek their life, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his officers. Afterward Egypt shall be inhabited as in the days of old, declares the LORD.

    “But fear not, O Jacob my servant,
        nor be dismayed, O Israel,
    for behold, I will save you from far away,
        and your offspring from the land of their captivity.
    Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease,
        and none shall make him afraid.
    Fear not, O Jacob my servant,
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD,
        for I am with you.
    I will make a full end of all the nations
        to which I have driven you,
        but of you I will not make a full end.
    I will discipline you in just measure,
        and I will by no means leave you unpunished.”

(Jeremiah 46 ESV)


Psalm 22

To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

    My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
        Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
    O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
        and by night, but I find no rest.
    
    Yet you are holy,
        enthroned on the praises of Israel.
    In you our fathers trusted;
        they trusted, and you delivered them.
    To you they cried and were rescued;
        in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
    
    But I am a worm and not a man,
        scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
    All who see me mock me;
        they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
    “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him;
        let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
    
    Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
        you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.
    On you was I cast from my birth,
        and from my mother's womb you have been my God.
    Be not far from me,
        for trouble is near,
        and there is none to help.
    
    Many bulls encompass me;
        strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
    they open wide their mouths at me,
        like a ravening and roaring lion. 
    
    I am poured out like water,
        and all my bones are out of joint;
    my heart is like wax;
        it is melted within my breast;
    my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
        and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
        you lay me in the dust of death.  
    
    For dogs encompass me;
        a company of evildoers encircles me;
    they have pierced my hands and feet—
    I can count all my bones—
    they stare and gloat over me;
    they divide my garments among them,
        and for my clothing they cast lots.  
    
    But you, O LORD, do not be far off!
        O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
    Deliver my soul from the sword,
        my precious life from the power of the dog!
        Save me from the mouth of the lion!
    You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!
    
    I will tell of your name to my brothers;
        in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
    You who fear the LORD, praise him!
        All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
        and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
    For he has not despised or abhorred
        the affliction of the afflicted,
    and he has not hidden his face from him,
        but has heard, when he cried to him. 
    
    From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
        my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
    The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
        those who seek him shall praise the LORD!
        May your hearts live forever!  
    
    All the ends of the earth shall remember
        and turn to the LORD,
    and all the families of the nations
        shall worship before you.
    For kingship belongs to the LORD,
        and he rules over the nations.
    
    All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
        before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
        even the one who could not keep himself alive.
    Posterity shall serve him;
        it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
    they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
        that he has done it.

(Psalm 22 ESV)

Suffering Savior

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)

 

This Psalm is meant to be a lament for an innocent sufferer, but also through the Spirit's inspiration and work in the writing of Scripture, this Psalm serves as a striking portrait of Christ's suffering upon the cross. The following lines of verse are worth contemplating:

  • My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (v. 1) This was the cry of Christ as He had a natural unwillingness to experience the horror of separation from God. (Matthew 27)
  • But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. (v. 6) Christ was scorned and despised by His own people. (Matthew 27)
  • All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; (v. 7) Christ was mocked by those who sought His crucifixion. (Matthew 27)
  • "He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!" (v. 8) Those who despised and mocked Christ at the cross challenged Him to deliver Himself if He truly was the Son of God. (Matthew 27)
  • Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. (v. 11) Christ felt complete isolation upon the cross as all His closest companions had abandoned, betrayed and denied Him. (Matthew 26)
  • I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; (v. 14) As Christ was pierced upon the cross, blood and water poured out from His side. (John 19)
  • They have pierced my hands and feet. (v. 16) Through His hands and feet, Christ was nailed to a cross which was a form of execution that had yet to be invented at the time of the Psalmist. (John 19)
  • They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. (v. 18) Christ's executioners cast lots and divided His garments among themselves. (Matthew 27)
  • For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. (v. 24) Christ was not forgotten nor forsaken but was resurrected in glory. (Matthew 28)
  • The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live forever! (v. 26) We have hope in our sufferings because of the sufferings of Christ. (Matthew 5)
  • For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations. (v. 28) Christ has ascended to the right hand of the Father and rules over all creation. (Mark 16)

The New Testament gospel narratives (especially Matthew) echo the language used throughout Psalm 22. Christ our Savior was a thoroughly innocent and faithful person who was brutally and unjustly executed, and mocked by the very people who should have supported Him. Therefore, this Psalm can prove extremely helpful in the midst of our own sufferings as we can cry out with the Psalmist, “My God, My God” and at the same time rest in the hope that Christ our Savior who reigns over all things can truly sympathize with our sufferings.