What a Comeback!
Welcoming Jesus Back!
by Pastor Frank Rice
We’re often amazed by athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, and others who seem to be “washed up,” yet they make significant comebacks and rise to even greater heights and accomplishments than ever. We may remark, “How did that happen?” No comeback has ever been as dramatic, miraculous, convincing, powerful, and well-documented as the one occurring almost 2000 years ago. A dead man came back to life, just as He had promised!
I. The Psalmist Expresses Absolute Desperation (Vv. 1-21a)!
❖ The Psalmist experiences a sense of total abandonment (vv. 1-5). (Only a completely ignorant reader could fail to recognize that this script would be played out a thousand years later.)
- “David is the author, but we have a difficult time finding an occasion in his life that would call forth this kind of psalm.” (Wiersbe)
- “The intense personal note in this psalm shows it was wrung out of David in some bitter experience, but the statements really go far beyond anything David personally experienced.” (Phillips)
- He expresses a deep sense of forsakenness by God. This same writer is famed for his open, honest, intimate prayers! But now God seems distant, disconnected, and deaf (v. 1)!
- His desperation knows no time constraints; continuous pleas for help seem to be ignored and go unanswered (v. 2).
- He refuses to give up hope, recognizing that Israel’s God is different than the so-called gods of the nations (v. 3)!
- He recalls the experiences of the fathers; they trusted Him, they cried out to Him in their desperate times, He delivered them and did not disappoint (vv. 4-5)! Where is He now?!?
- His physical agony pales in comparison to the extreme emotional and spiritual agony that is being experienced. It doesn’t take long to realize that this is the description of a criminal being executed!
❖ The Psalmist experiences abject and open humiliation (vv. 6-11).
- All who gawk at his misery consider him insignificant, disgusting, repulsive, worthless, and deserving of contempt, especially in light of previous claims (vv. 6-8)!
- Yet there is hope, confessing his complete dependence on God from the time he emerged from the womb (vv. 9-11).
❖ The Psalmist recounts the intense hostility and abject vulnerability of his suffering which is on public display (vv. 12-21a).
- He describes his vicious antagonists; menacing bulls, raging lions, snarling & starving dogs, waiting to rip him to shreds (vv. 12-15).
- He describes his utter exhaustion and physical collapse and the activities of his abusive audience (vv. 16-18).
- He refuses to give up hope, crying out desperately for deliverance from the sword, the power of the dog, the mouth of the lion, and the horns of the wild oxen (vv. 19-21a)!
“This psalm contains thirty-three distinct prophecies which were fulfilled at Calvary.
Yet it was written a thousand years before the birth of Christ.” (Phillips)
II. The Psalmist Seems to Make an Incredible Comeback (Vv. 21b-31)!
❖ There is an inconceivable assertion of answered prayer (v. 21b)! His desperate cries have been heard! The distance has been dissipated! The desperation has ended!
❖ Because of this miraculous comeback, there is a commitment to share it openly with his people (vv. 22-26)!
- The delivered one promises to declare His deliverer’s name and praise Him in the midst of fellow Jews (v. 22).
- The delivered one calls upon his own nation to do likewise; to praise Him, to glorify Him, and to fear Him (v. 23).
- The delivered one cites the reasons for this response (v. 24)! The LORD does not abandon His people but responds to their pain and suffering, in His time. Never early. Never late!
- The delivered one renews his commitment to openly praise his deliverer and to keep his commitments to Him. Those who seek Him will be satisfied (vv. 25-26)!
❖ Because of this miraculous comeback, there is a commitment to share it with all nations (vv. 27-31)! Everyone should know!
- His deepest desire is for all the nations of the earth to know the LORD, the One who is able to deliver from the most desperate situations, including death itself (v. 27)!
- He declares that the sovereign LORD is the One who rules and governs not only Jews but also Gentile nations (v. 28)!
- He declares that every mortal will benefit from the sovereign LORD’s rule, and will worship and submit to Him (v. 29).
- He declares that every subsequent generation shall willingly serve and speak of His righteousness (vv. 30-31)!
The psalm “closes with a glorious anticipation of God’s rule over and gracious care of the nations” and “the expectation that future generations will serve Him because they too will know the story of redemptive history and will join in the proclamation of the good news that Yahweh has acted graciously on behalf of His people.” (VanGemeren)
Only a completely ignorant reader could fail to recognize that this script would be played out a thousand years later in the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.