The gospel of health, wealth, and prosperity is spiritual snake oil. Life is what it is, and sometimes it ain’t real pretty. Faith in God does not eliminate the occurrence of heartache, pain, persecution, or trials in your life. If anything, it increases them (Mark 10:30; 2 Timothy 3:12). The path to Oz is yellow brick; the path to heaven is blood red.
In Psalm 22, David describes beforehand the intense sufferings of Christ (vv. 1-21) and the glorious song of praise it was transformed into (vv. 22-31). It also documents Jesus’ stubborn, passionate, unflinching, unconquerable faith during history’s six darkest hours. The Messiah tenaciously refused to allow His circumstances to eclipse His faith.
- Though He asked, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?” (v. 1), He also praised Jehovah for His perfect track record of faithfulness: “Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed” (vv. 4-5).
- Though He was the reproach of men, despised by the people, ridiculed, mocked, and taunted (vv. 6-8), He tenaciously clung to His God: “But You areHe who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God. Be not far from Me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help” (vv. 9-11).
- Though His enemies were like strong bulls (v. 12), raging and roaring lions (v. 13), and unclean dogs (v. 16) and His bones out of joint, His heart like wax, His strength as dry as fired pottery, His tongue parched, His hands and feet pierced, His bones exposed, and His garments divided by lots (vv. 14-18), He asks in faith for Jehovah’s deliverance (vv. 19-21).
Like the empty tomb it brought, “You have answered Me” (v. 21) stands as a massive, immovable, monument to God’s enduring ability to take the faithful’s sighs and transform them into unending praise. “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, and fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, He heard. My praise shall be of You in the great assembly” (vv. 22-25).
This is not spiritual snake oil. This is the Savior and the salvation that the prophets of old inquired and searched carefully for.