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  • "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabach-thani?", that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Some of them that heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias." Matthew 27: 46-47, KJV

    Jesus is not crying out in pain, but to proclaim his identity to the onlookers as he is crucified. For three more hours, his mortal body will hang on the cross in agonizing pain. Even as he suffers this pain, he is trying to bring the faithful into the fold.

    Psalm Twenty Two

    My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me? Why are you not hearing my cries?

    Oh my God, I cry in the day, and you do not hear. I cry in the night, and am not silent.

    But You are holy, You the God of Israel.

    Our fathers trusted You, and you delivered them.

    They trusted you and were saved, they called on you and were not disappointed.

    But I am a worm, not a man. I am hated by the people. All who see me laugh and curse me.

    They call me names, they shake their heads, they say, "He trusted in God to deliver him, so let God deliver him."

    You took me out of my mother's womb, oh God. You gave me hope when I was still feeding from my mother's breasts. I was promised to you before I was born. You are my God from the beginning.

    Don't stand far away from me, God. I am in danger and no one will help me.

    Demons surround me, God. They tempt me with earthly pleasures, they mock my faith in you.

    They roar at me and threaten to devour me like hungry lions.

    I am weak, my bones are dislocated, my heart is broken, every part of me is in pain.

    I am dried up like pottery in the oven, my tongue lies swollen in my mouth, and I know I will soon die.

    Dogs are gathering about me. The wicked have assembled to pick over my carcass.

    They have pierced my hands and my feet. My body is so gaunt they can see my bones. They are gambling for my clothing while I am dying.

    Do not stand afar from me, Oh God, my strength. Come quickly to save me.

    Deliver my soul from the sword. Deliver my body from the dogs. Save me from the lion's mouth. For You have heard me.

    I will declare your name to all my brothers and sisters. In the midst of the crowd will I confess that You are God. All who stand in awe of God will praise you. All the descendants of Jacob will glorify You. All the children of Israel will be in awe of Your power.

    You have not ignored the weak or the poor or the sick. You have not ignored those who did not believe, but answered their prayers when they called upon You, so they would know you are God.

    I will praise you out loud among the people, God, I will fulfill Your will among the people.

    You will feed the weak and the poor, Oh Lord, You will satisfy their hunger. They who will seek You will praise Your name and proclaim your power and might. Your love for us will be known forever.

    All the world will know that You are God, they will all worship and praise you. All nations of the earth will praise Your name. For You are the ruler of all mankind, Lord, the earth is Yours, and all the people are at Your command.

    Every man is under Your hand, God, for which of us can save our own soul?

    Your seed will give us Your salvation, Lord. All the world will see He is the Messiah we have waited upon. We will bear witness to Your power and Your mercy.

    David was assuring God through his song the nation of Israel would not falter in their faith. He is promising God the people will endure whatever they must, but through it all will never reject God.

    You see, it's easy to have faith in God when everything is going your way. But what about the times when things are not so easy?

    I think most Christians have this routine in their lives they think should go like this: Get up, pray, get showered and dressed, pray, eat breakfast, drop the kids at school, go to work, pray, have lunch, go back to work, get off work, pick up the kids, pray, have dinner, relax, play with the kids after they have finished their homework, get the kids to bed, spend some time with your spouse, pray, go to bed.

    But what about the man or woman who has lost their job? When the bills are piling up and the children need new shoes and the refrigerator is getting bare, how easy is it to praise God and give Him thanks?

    David did it in the midst of his enemies. Jesus did it in the middle of a crowd of people who were mocking him while he was dying. Stephen (we'll get to him later) did it while being stoned to death for the crime of heresy. Job (the next study after Psalms) did it when his entire world was taken away from him.

    Do you begin your prayers with praise?

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