The Psalms are filled with cries for help to God in times of trouble and distress. Many of the psalmists pour out their hearts to God, asking for his divine intervention, deliverance, and salvation. There are numerous examples throughout the book of Psalms that could be considered a “cry for help.” However, one, in particular, stands out as an obvious and direct plea for God’s help against enemies.
Psalm 22 is considered by many scholars to be a cry for help from King David. Thematically, it focuses on an innocent sufferer surrounded by enemies. David often appealed to God for help when he was pursued by King Saul or other enemies that sought to kill him. In Psalm 22, David pleads:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.” (Psalm 22:1-2)
David continues describing his desperate situation, being surrounded by “many bulls” and “strong bulls of Bashan,” which were symbolic of his fierce enemies wanting to kill him (Psalm 22:12). He feels forsaken by God as his enemies mock him, saying:
“He trusts in the Lord, let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” (Psalm 22:8)
David is in agony as his enemies pierce his hands and feet, an eerie foreshadowing of Christ’s crucifixion. Yet, he continues to cry out to God for deliverance and help:
But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.” (Psalm 22:19-21)
The psalm ends on a hopeful note, with David praising God after his prayer for help. He foresees the coming generations serving God because of his deliverance.
Other Psalms Cries for Help
In addition to Psalm 22, there are numerous other psalms that include desperate cries for God’s divine help and intervention:
Psalm 13 starts with the plea, “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?” (Psalm 13:1). The psalmist feels forgotten by God and surrounded by enemies who rejoice at his downfall. Still, he cries out for God’s help and deliverance.
Psalm 28 is a cry for help asking God not to “drag me away with the wicked” or let the wicked attack and devour him. The psalmist pleads for God to hear his cry and be his rock of refuge against the enemy.
David pleads for God to “contend with those who contend with me” and “fight against those who fight against me.” He asks God to put his enemies to shame and defeat them in their plots against him.
Psalm 69 is an urgent plea from David drowning in trouble asking God to “save me, O God!” Enemies without cause seek to destroy him, and he needs God’s deliverance.
This psalm is a prayer asking God not to remain silent while the wicked slander and falsely accuse him. David pleads for God to help and deliver him speedily.
David cries out for God to rescue him from evil men determined to make trouble for him. He asks God to keep him safe from the plans and traps of the wicked.
Summary of Main Psalms Cries for Help
Here is a summary of the main psalm cries for help covered:
|Main Cry for Help
|Plea for deliverance from enemies seeking to kill David
|Feeling forgotten by God, asking for help against enemies
|Asking for refuge from the wicked who want to destroy him
|Asking God to fight enemies who contend against David
|Urgent plea to God for deliverance from those seeking to destroy David
|Asking God not to be silent but to deliver from slanderers
|Plea for protection from evil men setting traps for David
Deeper Analysis of Psalm 22 as a Cry for Help
Let’s go deeper into analyzing Psalm 22 as an desperate cry for help:
Plea in a Time of Agony
Psalm 22 opens with David crying out the words Jesus would later echo on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). David wrote this psalm during a time of profound suffering and agony. His enemies were surrounding him, mocking him, and trying to kill him. In his pain and anguish, David cried out, pleading with God not to forsake him but to come quickly to his aid.
Pierced Hands and Feet
In a prophetic picture of Christ’s crucifixion, David says “they pierce my hands and feet” (Psalm 22:16). Though referring to his enemies injuring him, this foreshadowed Jesus having his hands and feet pierced on the cross. David’s cry that God not be far away was answered ultimately in Jesus, Immanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
Insults and Mocking
David’s enemies mocked him, saying “He trusts in the Lord, let the Lord rescue him” (Psalm 22:8). Centuries later, as Jesus hung on the cross, the religious leaders mocked him saying, “He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him” (Matthew 27:43). Jesus uniquely fulfilled this psalm as the Son of God dying for the sins of the world.
Praise After Deliverance
David ends the psalm with confident praises to God for hearing his cry for help. Though in agony, he trusts God will deliver him so he can “declare your name to my people” (Psalm 22:22). His plea turns to praise as he anticipates God’s salvation.
Application for Believers Today
What can believers today learn from Psalms cries for help like Psalm 22?
God Hears Our Cries
No matter how desperate our situation, we can cry out to God, knowing he hears us. We are never alone or forsaken, but can boldly ask God for his deliverance.
Trust Despite Trials
We should trust God’s faithfulness just like David did, even when we face mockers and enemies on every side. Our trials are temporary, but God’s salvation is eternal.
God Understands Suffering
Through Jesus becoming human, God understands the depths of human pain and suffering. We have a sympathetic Savior who intercedes for us even when we don’t have the words (Romans 8:34).
Prayer Lead to Praise
As we bring our petitions and needs to God, we can wait confidently for his salvation that leads us to proclaim his goodness. Our heartfelt cries become shouts of joy.
In summary, Psalm 22 stands out as a prominent cry for help from King David amid deep agony and foes seeking his death. It foreshadowed Christ’s suffering centuries later. This psalm models calling out to God in desperate times, trusting in his deliverance, which leads to praise. When we face trials and difficulties, we can pour out our heart to God like David, knowing he hears our cries for help.