Day 131: Why The Pharisees Missed It, and Why We Sometimes do Too (Psalm 20)

Through the Bible: 2 Samuel 10; 1 Chronicles 19; Psalm 20

“Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.” (Psalm 20:6)

When I read Psalm 20:6, it’s a little easier for me to understand why the Pharisees didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah. Remember that Messiah literally means “the anointed one.”

Look at Matthew 27:41-43, and notice how targeted their taunts were at the foot of the cross:

  • “He saved others; he cannot save himself.”
  • “He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.”
  • “He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him.” (This last one is word for word from Psalm 22:8).

As if to say, “Two can play at that game,” Jesus responds by quoting Psalm 22:1: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (See Day 125: The Rabbi on the Cross (Psalm 22)

If you were steeped in the Hebrew Scriptures as the Pharisees were, then you would have expected this to be the moment. If Jesus was the Messiah, then this would be when the Lord would answer from His holy heaven and save His anointed with His mighty right hand.

Instead, the Lord’s anointed bowed His head and yielded His spirit. For the Pharisees, that was all the proof they needed that Jesus wasn’t who He claimed to be.

So they missed it, not because they didn’t know the Scriptures, but because they didn’t understand them. They were so sure they had the correct interpretation that they could not imagine God fulfilling them in any other way (which He did, by the way— three days later, God raised Jesus from the dead.)

Sometimes, I am so sure God is going to do something in a certain way that when He chooses to do it differently, I think He hasn’t done anything at all. I’ll ask God to help me love my wife the way He loves her, and instead we wind up having an argument. I’ll ask the Lord to help me walk more closely with Him, and instead I find myself facing a health scare or a financial hardship.

But here is what I am learning: These aren’t really insteads. They are answers. God doesn’t ignore my prayer for peace with Him by allowing me to experience hardship; He answers it by allowing me to experience hardship.

God, I want to know your Word better. But Father, I beg that you help me know You through Your word. Don’t let me be a Pharisee who misses the new thing you are doing because it may not conform to my preconceived ideas of how You work. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, open my mind to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45).

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