Journey to the Cross - Day 17 - Why Have You Forsaken Me?
Pocket Full of Easter
Journey to The Cross 2006
Day 17: The Seven Last Words of Christ
2. Why Have You Forsaken Me?
Have you ever felt forsaken? Perhaps you were left “at the alter” or your best friend betrayed you. Maybe you bravely spoke the words of God to an unfriendly crowd or defended truth and righteousness in a world where evil was more popular. When the world forsakes us, it can seem eerily like God has forsaken us.
Read Matthew 27:46.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? KJV
• Imagine Jesus hanging on the cross, nails in His hands. What would it feel like to have the world’s fears, doubts, guilt, and shame on your shoulders?
• How would it feel to have your beloved children hate and reject you?
• Now imagine yourself at the foot of the cross. As the blood of Jesus drips on your face, allow it to wash away your fears, doubts, guilt, and shame.
• Pray for the lost people in the world – those that feel broken and forsaken.
• If you feel forsaken, let yourself pray Jesus’ prayer, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Listen to His answer.
• Tell God your joys, fears, and needs. Praise Him in everything.
• Pray for knowledge of God’s will for you today and the power to carry that out.
• Ask the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures you are about to read.
Morning Bible Study
While Jesus was dying, He used the words of the Bible for comfort. As He cried the words, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me, he was actually quoting the ancient worlds of Psalms 22:1.
Read Psalms 22:1-4.
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
• How was David feeling at the beginning of his prayer?
• As he doubted God, what did he remind himself?
Throughout the Bible, we see places where people felt abandoned. In their despair, they offered their honesty to God and He faithfully answered. Read Isaiah 49:14-16.
But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. KJV
• What did Zion say?
• What was God’s answer?
Poor Gideon was discouraged. He knew God had been previously faithful but surely, God had forsaken them now. Read Judges 6:13-14.
And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? And where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? But now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? KJV
• What did Gideon say to God?
• How did God respond to Gideon? What was His promise?
Psalms 9:9-11 makes a promise and then gives instructions about what to do when we feel forsaken.
The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings. KJV
• What does God promise to be for the oppressed?
• When we feel forsaken, what 2 things are we supposed to do?
In Genesis, God separated the light from the dark. He will do the same in our life if we allow His light to shine upon our hearts. Read 2 Corinthians 4:6-10.
2 Cor 4:6-10
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. KJV
• What light has God shined on our hearts?
• What are we to expect while living on earth?
• What is the promise we have in the dying of Lord Jesus
Troubles may surround us but we never have to be demoralized. We may not have answers, but God does. On those days when we are spiritually terrorized, we can take comfort in the knowledge that God has not forsaken us. The world rejected, tortured, and killed Jesus and yet, He rose from the dead. The same power that overcame death, will overcome our doubts and discouragement.
Children can be cruel. As a child, I had problems with my feet. When every other girl was wearing dainty black shiny “Mary Jane” shoes, I had to wear heavy, ugly brown, corrective ones. My ankles turned over and I naturally walked with my toes pointing inward or “pigeon toed.” As my shoes clodded across the wooden floors, children snickered and pointed. As I listened to the words “pigeon, pigeon, pigeon” being chanted, I wanted the dry unvarnished floors of the classroom to open up and swallow me.
If that wasn’t bad enough, I also had bucked teeth. There was a gap between my protruding teeth large enough to blow bubblegum through. Words like “chipmunk” and “can opener” haunted the dreary reality of my school days and dreams at night. Each day as I left school, I couldn’t wait to reach the comfort of my mother’s sympathetic arms. As I cried out my pain to her, she would tell me how beautiful I was.
My mother did more than just listen to my cries. She took action. A little girl named Gloria was everything I wanted to be. Beautiful and dainty, she dressed well and glided when she walked. Gloria always wore a strand of delicate white pearls around her neck. I told Mama, and she bought me a strand of pearls and made sure my clothes were stylish and beautiful. Mama took me to doctor who taught me how to walk with my toes pointed outward and Mama and I practiced daily. Mama put a book on my head and encouraged me to cross a room proudly. When I was old enough, she and Daddy had braces put on my teeth. The corrective shoes came off at the end of sixth grade. In Junior High, I looked in the mirror and knew I looked as well as anyone else. I remember deciding to believe Mama when she said I was pretty. The world may have forsaken me but my loving parents never did.
Those difficult times in my early childhood taught me valuable lessons. I learned to see with the eyes of the heart. I felt compassion for those who were different and made a point to befriend and defend them. The wisdom of that pain led me to take the five dirty lonely neighborhood children to church, much to the chagrin of my parents. At age 12, I talked a group of my friends into sponsoring a foster child. We babysat and used our money to buy clothing and toys for an abandoned child. Our afternoons and weekends were spent visiting her crowded foster home, taking her shopping and to the movies, and making her the center of our world. That early recognition of the loneliness of feeling forsaken helped me recognize it in the eyes others. When I thought God had forsaken me, He was preparing me for His call in my life. Glory to God in the Highest!
Today, if you feel forsaken, cry out to God, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me. Then, like the words of the ancients, remind yourself that God never forsakes those who put faith in Him. Sing praises to His name and declare the works of God to others, always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.