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In Case You Missed It -- Genesis 36:1-37:1, Psalm 22

Genesis 36 closes the story of Esau. Moving forward, Genesis focuses on Jacob and his family. Before leaving Esau, today’s chapter lists many kings already coming through the line of Abraham, as promised, but just through Esau’s family (Genesis 36:31). Today I focus on the words of a much greater king in Abraham’s line: David. Psalm 22 is famous because its first words are also those that Jesus cried in his dying breaths on the cross (Psalm 22:1, Matthew 27:46). Jesus knew the Psalms better than anyone. Reading this psalm reveals that Jesus’ most painful words were also mixed with great hope. In fact Jesus’ words interpret Psalm 22, and Psalm 22 helps us to interpret Jesus’ cross. Like David, Jesus felt forsaken by God, “scorned by everyone, despised by the people,” and he experienced the ridicule of those saying, “He trusts in the Lord, Let the Lord rescue him” (Psalm 22:8). It is ironic that, though in Jesus’ case God does not seem to “rescue [him] from the mouth of lions” (Psalm 22:21), it is precisely because God does not save Jesus from death that David’s hope comes true: “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the earth will bow down before him” (Psalm 22:27). David thought that God’s rescue out of death would allow him to bring others to praise God. Jesus shows that God’s rescue even in death is what ultimately brings the nations to God. Jesus’ death makes true the promise, “The poor will eat and be satisfied.” Our savior’s words on the cross take on complex meaning when considering Psalm 22. Read this psalm and reflect on what Jesus had in mind as he made his famous cry. He suffered to bring us the gladness David desired.

Jeremiah Vaught