Why art Thou so far from helping me … be not far from Me for trouble is near … Be not Thou far from Me O Lord, O My strength” Psalm 22:1,11,19 KJV

Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning… Be not far from me, for trouble is near … But You, O LORD, be not far off; O You my help…”Psalm 22:1,11,19 NASB

The plaintive cry went up from Calvary, not once, but as recorded by the Psalmist, three times in these cries. Each emphasizes the source of His greatest suffering: the distance. The sense of isolation, of abandonment, the interruption of the enjoyment of an eternal fellowship – these were the depths into which His holy soul sank. He was brought into the dust of death.

For mortals who know so little of the divine presence, we cannot begin to fathom what each moment of that separation meant to His tender soul. Each must have been equivalent to an eternal weight of woe; each must have been like an exceeding great sorrow, a sorrow which would have bowed a natural man in death.

John recorded for us how that this unique Son dwelt in the bosom of the Father. He had a place of nearness and intimacy, a reciprocal love between Father and Son, uninterrupted and unmeasurable. But there was also a delight which as a Man walking with His God was enjoyed moment by moment. Here for the first and only time was a man Who loved the Lord His God with all His heart. And here for the first time was a Man Who walked in the love of God, uninterrupted and undiminished day by day.

But now – so far! His cries sound almost like what must have issued from the scapegoat as it made its way bleating into the wilderness of Beersheba.

But the “why?” of verse 1 is answered by an overflowing heart of worship: “But Thou art holy.” He justifies the hand that is smiting. He worships the hand that is crushing Him at Calvary.

In verse 19, He adds to His question, another expression of dependence which must have brought infinite joy to the heart of God: “Be not Thou far from me, O Lord, My strength.”  Omnipotence confessing that God is His strength! He plumbed the deepest depths of sorrows; He expressed the highest form of worship and He confessed the greatest expression of dependence.


Look at some of the “but” expressions in Psalm 22

Think of some of the pictures we have of unmeasured distances in either parables or illustrations: the Shepherd in Luke 15; Jonah in Jonah 1, etc.