The Afflicted Heard

“For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, neither hath He hid His face from him: but when he cried unto Him, He heard.” Psalm 22.24

Remarks on the text by J. K. Popham.

This Psalm is emphatically the Psalm of the Lord Jesus Christ. It belongs to Him; much of it is His own language when He was here below. The Holy Ghost was in the psalmist, speaking as the Spirit of Christ; and it is very remarkable to find Christ thus clearly and solemnly set forth, speaking in the Spirit of prophecy in the Psalm. And as it belongs to Him as a whole, this text is His. It struck me, this morning, as a very blessed scripture; first, as being Christ’s own word, and then as belonging to His mystical body, filled with His Spirit, moved by His Spirit, following in His suffering footsteps, praying His heavy prayer. But the verse preceding the text gives it a very remarkable aspect: “Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him; and fear Him, all ye the seed of Israel.” And the text gives the reason for this exhortation, “For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted.” So the sufferings and the death of Christ are to be, throughout our journey, in the church of Christ, matter for praise and glorifying and fearing God. If we are led into this great truth, we shall see what is written by Isaiah concerning Christ, is blessedly true: “With His stripes we are healed;” (Isa. 53:5) that the groans and tears and prayers and griefs and brokenness of heart of the Lord Jesus, are the matter of the praises of His children.

Praise the Lord, for He hath not despised nor abhorred the sufferings, the afflictions, of His afflicted Son. Praise the Lord, for He heard His afflicted Son when He prayed. Glorify the Lord, because His Son was covered with shame. Glorify the Lord, because the Lord Jesus Christ suffered His judgment to be taken away, suffered dogs to compass Him about, suffered His enemies to take away His garments and to cast lots for His vesture. Praise the Lord, because the Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am a worm and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” (Ps. 22:6) Led of the Spirit into this truth, we shall see that the ground of our hope and the cause of our thanksgiving and praise must always be the suffering, despised, persecuted, afflicted Lord Jesus Christ. And then, as the ointment ran down Aaron’s beard to the skirts of his garment, covering the whole person; so the Lord Jesus being the Life and the Head of His children, truly brings them, each one, to say in his time and measure the very things that Jesus Christ here says in the text; and brings each one to prove what He Himself, their Head, proved. He was afflicted, and His Father did not despise His affliction.

He prayed, and His Father heard Him pray. So every troubled, afflicted, tormented child of God praying, crying, will prove that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ will not despise nor abhor his affliction, nor turn away his prayer from Him. And as these truths, thus feebly expressed to you, have more or less distinctly occupied my mind through the day, I wish by the help of the Lord to bring them before you. They are substance. They will bring us to heaven, if we know them. They are part of the glory of Christ, and they become the life and the experience of the church.

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