The Daily Office: Day 32- Fortified by Scripture
Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. 7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 8 "He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!"
9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother's breasts. 10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother's womb you have been my God. 11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.
12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.
14 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; 15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— 17 I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
Psalm 22 is a prophetic, Messianic Psalm that is quoted by Jesus on the cross as His life ebbs away. David at times, may have felt forsaken by God, and the prayer is somewhat autobiographical, but parts of the Psalm point only to Jesus and His sacrificial death for you and me. David's feet and hands were not pierced, and his garments were not gambled over. Verses 16-18 speak only of Jesus' experience on Golgotha and are an amazing description of Christ's passion.
Jesus often quoted the scriptures and lived a life that was saturated by the word of God. In his initial testing in the desert, Jesus can resist the devil and steady His mind through His Father's word. At the end of His life Jesus continually speaks scripture to describe His experience. As He carries His cross Jesus quotes one of the prophets. While dying, Jesus quotes portions of Psalm 22 and Psalm 35. After His resurrection, on the road to Emmaus, Jesus unfolds how the law and prophets speak explicitly about Him.
Jesus is letting us know that there is nothing like scripture to fortify us and lead us through life and sustain us as we face death. I think we moderns have strayed from the rock-solid reality of scripture and have thought that other things can support us just as well. Jesus points us back to living by, "every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Jesus directs us back to the word of God that reveals the Son of God.
Do you find the Holy Spirit reminding you of passages of scripture to stand upon during your daily challenges? David said that God's word was like a treasure that he hid in his heart to keep him from sin and a lamp unto his feet and light unto his path. (Psalm 119) Memorize a portion of scripture today and save it as a treasure in your heart.
Lord, help me to remember that the scriptures are literally God-breathed and when quoted and meditated upon, can blow the Spirit's life into me. Let your words sustain me today as food for my soul. In Jesus' name. Amen.