The second stanza of the suffering Messiah’s petition is different from the first in that He previously stated there were no others to help, but here He notes that so dire are His circumstances that only God alone can help Him.
Christ’s Supplication To God
But you, Adonai, don’t stay far away! My strength, come quickly to help me! Rescue me from the sword, my life from the power of the dogs. Save me from the lion’s mouth!
You have answered me from the wild bulls’ horns. (Psalm 22:19-21 CJB)
This silent prayer offered by Christ as he hung on the cross begins with a plea to the Father to don’t stay far away! For Jesus this dreadful distance from the Father, his Strength, was unbearable. So he cried, come quickly to help me. Rescue me from the sword, my life from the power of the dogs.
The petition then follows a similar pattern as before but begins with a depiction of his suffering (v. 20) followed by a description of His enemies (v. 21). Only God can deliver Him from death (the sword…the power of the dogs). His enemies are again described with zoomorphism (vs. 12-13) as a lion, whose teeth would pierce, and as wild bulls horns (v.21), whose horns would gore.
The sword is the symbol of governmental power (Rom. 13:4). Here, it refers to the Roman government with its power of capital punishment. The dogs refer to the Gentile soldiers.
“You have answered Me” makes a clear and triumphant break between verses 21 and 22. Therefore, this section ends on an optimistic note and begins an important turning point in the mood of the psalm. As Christ died on the cross, he anticipated the Father’s deliverance, believing his cry had been heard.
Here is a great video on Psalm 22.
I hope you have enjoyed todays post and video. We have one more blog post regarding Psalm 22. In my next blog post we will be studying, “Christ’s Salvation For God.