Why hast Thou forsaken me is a cry of someone who is in a state of utter
desperation and/or feels that God has departed.
We have heard people say similar things when they have lost a loved one, and from people who care about animals and see seemingly endless atrocities committed upon them.
And we believe that is the way that animals trapped in laboratories, on factory farms, and in slaughterhouses must feel.
But just in case we feel this way, and God doesnít care, then we need to remember that even Jesus shouted out from the cross: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34)
God did not abandon Jesus, and He is not abandoning us or any other part of His creation; He cares about all of us, and we believe that He weeps at all the corruption, insensitivity, injustice, and all the pain, suffering, bloodshed, and death that are inflicted upon millions of human beings and billions of animals every year.
Last week we talked about the fact that the Lord even talks to Satan and allowed him to attack Job to some degree, and this week we will look at Jobís feelings as expressed in Job 23:1-17.
1. Then Job replied,
2. "Even today my complaint is rebellion;
His [Godís] hand is heavy despite my groaning.
Job feels abandoned by God and in a way is inwardly crying out, why hast Thou forsaken me?
3. "Oh that I knew where I might find Him,
That I might come to His seat!
4. "I would present my case before Him
And fill my mouth with arguments.
5. "I would learn the words which He would answer,
And perceive what He would say to me.
Today, we have Godís word in our Bibles, but most people donít perceive
Godís heavenly intent, because it conflicts with their lifestyle,
particularly when it concerns animals and eating them.
And because of this, we question how many people would really perceive what He would say to us.
6. "Would He contend with me by the greatness of His power?
No, surely He would pay attention to me.
7. "There the upright would reason with Him;
And I would be delivered forever from my Judge.
In the Bible we are told that Abraham and Moses reasoned with the Lord, but we also believe that such reasoning must be in Godís heavenly will.
8. "Behold, I go forward but He is not there,
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
9. When He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him;
He turns on the right, I cannot see Him.
10. "But He knows the way I take;
When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
11. "My foot has held fast to His path;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
12. "I have not departed from the command of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
This is living in the heavenly will of God; this is also rising above the depression and disillusionment that leads us to say, why hast Thou forsaken me.
13. "But He is unique and who can turn Him?
And what His soul desires, that He does.
14. "For He performs what is appointed for me,
And many such decrees are with Him.
15. "Therefore, I would be dismayed at His presence;
When I consider, I am terrified of Him.
16. "It is God who has made my heart faint,
And the Almighty who has dismayed me,
17. But I am not silenced by the darkness,
Nor deep gloom which covers me.
Job seem to float between the two extremes of having strength and
willingness to want to reason with God, which also says that he knows God is
always there; and the feelings of total loss that makes him feel like
saying, why hast Thou forsaken me.
Psalm 22:1-18 is a psalm of David that seems to be a prophetic look at Jesusí death, but at the same time it also reflects some of the situations in our own lives and the lives of others.
1. My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
This is the groaning of someone who feels total loss and has apparently lost
most, if not all, of their hope.
We can easily imagine these feelings in people who are innocently caught in the midst of all the warring madness going on in the world today, or in people who are losing or have lost a dear loved one.
And we also believe that these are the feelings of the billions of animals trapped in laboratories, on factory farms, and in slaughterhouses where all they see is their pending torture and death.
So, if we can feel and understand what they are feeling in our souls and spirits, then we need to do everything in our power to help end all the evil and corruption that is happening to Godís creation.
We need to be the peacemaking children of God who help end any living being from being in such despair that they cry out, why hast Thou forsaken me.
2. O my God, I cry by day, but Thou dost not answer;
And by night, but I have no rest.
We pray that we all understand this kind of loss and despair, but at the same time hang on to the hope of knowing God and His salvation.
3. Yet Thou art holy, O Thou who art enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
4. In Thee our fathers trusted;
They trusted, and Thou didst deliver them.
5. To Thee they cried out, and were delivered;
In Thee they trusted, and were not disappointed.
As we look around the world, we see that there are millions of other human
beings and billions of animals every year, upon this earth, that have not
However, even in the midst of all of this horror, there is still the deliverance that comes with death and everlasting life with God in heaven; and this applies to both our fellow human beings and the animals, just as it did with Jesus.
6. But I am a worm, and not a man,
A reproach of men, and despised by the people.
7. All who see me sneer at me;
They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,
We believe that these are the feelings of many of the people who want to kill other people and themselves, because they have no hope in the Lord our God.
8. "Commit yourself to the LORD;
let Him deliver him;
Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him."
9. Yet Thou art He who didst bring me forth from the womb;
Thou didst make me trust when upon my mother's breasts.
10. Upon Thee I was cast from birth;
Thou hast been my God from my mother's womb.
We all need to remember these things.
11. Be not far from me, for trouble is near;
For there is none to help.
Then the psalmist writes about why we may feel like crying out, why hast Thou forsaken me.
12. Many bulls have surrounded me;
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
13. They open wide their mouth at me,
As a ravening and a roaring lion.
14. I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It is melted within me.
15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And Thou dost lay me in the dust of death.
16. For dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
17. I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me;
18. They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.
All is never lost, for we always have everlasting peace and life in heaven
with the Lord, even with Jesus who cried out from the cross, why hast Thou
As we look at Hebrews 4:12-16, we really need to think about our innermost feeling about crying out to God, why hast Thou forsaken me.
12. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
If the word of God can do this, then we really should be able to focus upon our feelings of loss and despair and realize that God has not forsaken us or even the animals, because God has charged us with being the peacemaking children of God who do everything in their power to help free creation from its present corruption.
13. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
God does see all the horror and despair that is going on in this corrupt
world, and we believe that He feels all the pain and suffering.
It is we humans who have caused all these problems, and it is we humans who have to return to God and be the peacemaking children of God that Jesus calls us to be.
14. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
In other words, no matter how bad things get, we need to hold fast to our faith, for it is that faith that can and will carry us through to a peaceful world, even if it is in heaven.
15. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Jesus knows our feelings, and even in His pain and despair upon the cross, he cried out, why hast Thou forsaken me.
16. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that
we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.
Instead of running away from God, as many people do when overwhelmed with
emotional problems, we need to realize that we, and the ones we care for,
including all the animals, will receive the Lordís grace and mercy.
If we feel like crying out, why hast Thou forsaken me, we also need to realize that He has not forsaken us, and instead seek His grace and mercy.
God does care.
God does feel our pain and suffering.
God can help, if we seek Him by faith.
There is no need to cry out, why hast Thou forsaken me.
We can have the peace we want.