My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? — Ps 22:1
We here behold the Savior in the depth of His sorrows. No other place so well shows the griefs of Christ—as Calvary; and no other moment at Calvary is so full of agony—as that in which His cry rends the air, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me!” At this moment, physical weakness was united with acute mental torture from the shame and ignominy through which He had to pass; and to make His grief culminate with emphasis, He suffered spiritual agony surpassing all expression, resulting from the departure of His Father’s presence. This was the black midnight of His horror; then it was that He descended the abyss of suffering.
No man can enter into the full meaning of these words. Some of us think at times that we could cry, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me!” There are seasons when the brightness of our Father’s smile is eclipsed by clouds and darkness; but let us remember that God never does really forsake us. It is only a seeming forsaking with us but in Christ’s case it was a real forsaking. We grieve at a little withdrawal of our Father’s love; but the real turning away of God’s face from His Son—who shall calculate how deep the agony which it caused Him? In our case, our cry is often dictated by unbelief; in His case, it was the utterance of a dreadful fact, for God had really turned away from Him for a season.
O you poor, distressed soul, who once lived in the sunshine of God’s face but are now in darkness; remember that He has not really forsaken you. God in the clouds—is as much our God as when He shines forth in all the luster of His grace. But since even the thought that He has forsaken us gives us agony—what must the woe of the Savior have been when He exclaimed, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me!”
Lift them up forever. — Ps 28:9
God’s people need lifting up. They are very heavy by nature. They have no wings, or, if they have, they are like the dove of old which lay among the pots; and they need divine grace to make them mount on wings covered with silver, and with feathers of yellow gold. By nature sparks fly upward but the sinful souls of men fall downward. O Lord, “lift them up forever!”
David himself said, “Unto You, O God, do I lift up my soul,” and he here feels the necessity that other men’s souls should be lifted up as well as his own. When you ask this blessing for yourself—do not forget to seek it for others also.
There are three ways in which God’s people require to be lifted up.
They require to be elevated in character. Lift them up, O Lord; do not allow Your people to be like the world’s people! The world lies in the wicked one—lift them out of it! The world’s people are looking after silver and gold, seeking their own pleasures, and the gratification of their lusts—but, Lord, lift Your people up above all this; keep them from being “muck-rakers,” as John Bunyan calls the man who was always scraping after gold! Set their hearts upon their risen Lord and the heavenly heritage!
Moreover, believers need to be prospered in conflict. In the battle, if they seem to fall, O Lord, be pleased to give them the victory. If the foot of the foe be upon their necks for a moment, help them to grasp the sword of the Spirit, and eventually to win the battle. Lord, lift up Your children’s spirits in the day of conflict; let them not sit in the dust, mourning forever. Do not allow the adversary to vex them sorely, and make them fret; but if they have been, like Hannah, persecuted, let them sing of the mercy of a delivering God.
We may also ask our Lord to lift them up at the last! Lift them up by taking them home, lift their bodies from the tomb, and raise their souls to Your eternal kingdom in glory!
Morning and Evening - April 15
Public domain content taken from Morning and Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon.