“In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.”
This week in the online Bible study I participate in, we were asked to explore and examine Psalms 22:4-5. As is generally the case, after a quick read of the verse, I began to discover a wealth of information God spoke into my heart, simply from these two verses. Most of it is centered around the word trust. This one word is full of meaning, only a part of which we will explore in this post.
Dictionary.com defines trust (in part) as:
- reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
confident expectation of something; hope.
confidence in the certainty of future payment for property or goods received; credit: to sell merchandise on trust.
a person on whom or thing on which one relies: God is my trust.
The first part of Psalm 22:4 says “In you our fathers put their trust…” Comparing that to the definition given above, we begin to see the character of God reveal itself. Our fathers had reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc. of God. They had confidence in Him. Our ancestors were confident in the expectation of the promises given us by God; they had hope. They were confident that they would receive the blessings God had promised them, given their obedience to His commands. God is indeed the trust of our spiritual fathers. While the stories given to us in the Bible show the weaknesses and frailties of those who came before us in faith, they also paint a picture of a God who never forsaked the promises He gave. They show how our ancestors continually saw a God worthy of trust.
The next part of the verse gives us a picture of the blessings that come from that trust. Verse four continues saying: “they trusted and you delivered them.” What did God deliver them from? The Psalms are rich with verses talking of God’s people crying out to the Lord in their distress and God delivering them from their distress. (Psalm 34:17 and Psalm 107:6 are only two such examples.) Does this mean that God plucked them out of danger or trouble and into a peaceful, perfect world? Of course not. When I think of delivery, I picture my faithful UPS man (I live in a rural area, so he visits my home frequently), bringing my packages to their final destination. God is our deliverer. He brings us through the difficulties, trials, and distress. He has freed us from the burden of our sins through Christ’s death on the cross (see Revelation 1:5). He did not promise us ease and lack of trials, only that he would deliver us IF we trust in him.
This is affirmed in verse 5. The first part of the verse says: “They cried to you and were saved…” When our fathers cried out, they TRUSTED in the deliverance promised by God. The verse tells us, they were saved. I again think the definition given at dictionary.com sheds some light on the meaning of saved in this verse. The definition given (in part) is:
- to rescue from danger or possible harm, injury, or loss: to save someone from drowning.
- to keep safe, intact, or unhurt; safeguard; preserve: God save the king.
to keep from being lost: to save the game.
to avoid the spending, consumption, or waste of: to save fuel.
Being saved could mean to rescue from danger or possible harm, injury, or loss. It could mean to keep us safe, intact, or unhurt; safeguard; preserve, both in the physical and spiritual sense. However, I find the next two definitions to be interesting thoughts to ponder. Christ saved us to keep us from being lost. He is our shepherd. He also wants to avoid the spending, consumption or waste of each one of us. He wants us to use our physical, mental and spiritual capabilities to their fullest. In other words, he is trying to trim away all the extra for us to find our sweet spot for living. Our ancestors had trust in God’s saving power, and he has proven faithful over and over again.
The final part of verse five gives us the ultimate reassurance: “in you they trusted and were not disappointed.” We have already explored the aspect of trust, but here is an amazing promise if you do trust: they were not disappointed! God did not let them down. He did not go back on His promises. He delivered them. He saved them. And the wonderful news is that he continues to do this today for those who trust in him. No doubt each of you has been disappointed by someone or even disappointed someone else. What an amazing promise that in Christ, we will not be disappointed. He will deliver us through heartache, depression, confusion, pain, and any other trial we might face. “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (Psalm 91:4) He will wrap us up and deliver us to our final destination: in the arms of our Father in heaven.
May you feel the richness of his promises to you in the coming week!