Song of the Suffering Servant

First Movement: The Eloquence of Darkness—Part 2

Many bulls surround me; strong ones of Bashan encircle me. They open their mouths against me—lions, mauling and roaring (Psalm 22 vv. 12—13).

Continuing the theme of suffering, David portrayed a fifth scene of darkness: Christ’s intense suffering on the cross. He pictured the mocking crowd as a menagerie of wild animals. They were like ravenous wolves closing in on their prey. Murder, sin, and hate filled their wild eyes.

Verses 16-18 describe in uncanny detail the Roman execution—piercing the hands and feet, counting the bones, people staring and gloating, soldiers dividing the garments and casting lots for them.

David pleads for immediate help (vv. 19-21). He prays intensely for God to come close and deliver him from these wild, murderous, unclean predators.

What a model for me to follow when I am called to suffer. Romans 8:17-18 says it all: “And if children, also heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ— seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.”

It is easy to live under the mistaken notion that if I do the will of God, my life will be a paragon of perfection, free from anxiety and trauma. But I need to recognize that I may suffer because I am doing the will of God. This happened to David, and it happened to Christ in Gethsemane and on the cross.

My goal in life should be holiness, not happiness. But grabbing hold of this concept in our affluent society is difficult at best. The fullest, most richly textured life is the holy life. Only the refiner’s fire produces pure gold. The holy life yields the richest, most enduring rewards.

Personal Prayer

Lord, though I live in a pagan, materialistic culture, may I commit my life to the higher value of holiness over happiness. Let me experience a deep wellspring of joy, no matter what happens.

A Gospel Chorus Lyric

Eternity’s Values in View

With eternity’s values in view, Lord,

With eternity’s values in view;

May I do each day’s work for Jesus,

With eternity’s values in view.

Words and music by Alfred B.

Smith © 1941. Renewed 1969.

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