Have you ever been lost? It’s terrifying! Felt utterly alone? Forsaken by everyone? The last one standing on your principles? You’re in good company. David felt that way. Jesus felt that way. Stephen experienced it in Acts 7. Many Christians throughout the ages have felt that way, but we are never alone. Jesus said in Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”(KJV)
There are quite a few familiar phrases in this Psalm, starting with verse 1: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (NIV) Verse 8 says, “All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: ‘He trusts in the Lord, let the Lord rescue him. Let Him deliver him, since he delights in Him.’” (NIV) Verses 16-18 give an exact picture of Christ’s death on the cross.
But then David changes his focus to praise. “In the congregation I will praise You.” (vs 12 NIV) This reminds me of Paul and Silas sitting chained in a dark, dank Philippian jail cell, arrested for preaching the Gospel. Then in the middle of the night they just started singing praises to God and praying. The story in Acts 16 says that there were other prisoners there as well hearing the prayers and praises. And what was God’s response? And earthquake, deliverance, and a chance to share the Gospel with their jailer.
I don’t know what David was suffering through at the beginning of the Psalm, but somehow in the midst of it God gave the strength to praise. And when David’s focus shifted, he saw his Deliverance. He understood that no matter what man did to him, “Dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over nations.” (vs 28 NIV)
When we quit focusing on the waves crashing around us and lift our gaze instead to God, we see that He is in control and will lead us through the trials we currently face. In the end “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him.” (vs 27 NIV)
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace. (“Turn you eyes upon Jesus” by Helen H. Lemmel)
As you adjust your focus and give Him praise, you can say with the Psalmist, “He has done it!” (vs 31 NIV)