Leviticus 18 & Psalm 22

Leviticus 18

    And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the LORD your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.

    “None of you shall approach any one of his close relatives to uncover nakedness. I am the LORD. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's wife; it is your father's nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father's daughter or your mother's daughter, whether brought up in the family or in another home. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your son's daughter or of your daughter's daughter, for their nakedness is your own nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's wife's daughter, brought up in your father's family, since she is your sister. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's sister; she is your father's relative. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother's sister, for she is your mother's relative. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's brother, that is, you shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law; she is your son's wife, you shall not uncover her nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother's wife; it is your brother's nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, and you shall not take her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter to uncover her nakedness; they are relatives; it is depravity. And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.

    “You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor's wife and so make yourself unclean with her. You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.

    “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.”

(Leviticus 18 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)


Something to Consider

Psalm 22: 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 ought to be considered:

  • 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)

As we see, the gospel narratives (especially Matthew) echoes 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.