All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. Psalm 22:28 (Hebrew text)
Remember – Do you know the beginning of the 22nd Psalm? “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” That doesn’t sound like a victory song, does it? If all you know about the 22nd Psalm is the second line (the first in our English translations), then you really don’t know what this psalm is about. You see, it’s not a song about being abandoned. It’s a song about vindication, domination and glory.
Go read the song again. It starts out looking pretty bad. But remember that Hebrew is a phenomenological language. It describes the way things appear to the eye of the beholder. And if you were standing on Golgotha on that day, it would certainly appear as though everything was lost. Your hoped-for dream of throwing off the oppressor was crushed. Your rabbi was dying on the cross. Everything looked as if it ended in disaster. As far as you are concerned, God has abandoned His chosen one. If you stop reading at the end of the first stanzas, you won’t see the victory and the power. All you will see is the grave.
The psalm describes what it looks like when things seem to be failing. Then it describes the jeering, mocking cat-calls of the crowd. It paints a picture of apparent total rejection. But things change when the reality behind the appearance is revealed. Suddenly, the song becomes a cry of victory and vindication. The one who appears to have been abandoned by God is no longer despised, no longer afflicted, no longer hidden from the face of YHWH (verse 25). The rejected one begins to praise God in front of his detractors. Suddenly we discover that the humble, the oppressed and the forgotten are near to the heart of God. And then the victory cry, “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn.” The victim is vindicated. God’s real purpose is revealed.
Think about this verse for a minute. Notice that it doesn’t say, “All the ends of the earth will be evangelized.” It doesn’t say that the gospel will be preached to all nations. It says that everyone will remember. That implies that they already knew but had forgotten. When God’s true purpose is revealed, their minds are opened and they remember. What do they remember? That God is God and that their plans and perceptions are not the real story. God is in control. And how it is possible for them to remember this if they have not been evangelized? Ah, for that answer, we need to turn all the way back to Genesis. We need to remember that the homophone for “male” (zakar as a noun) is the verb “to remember” (zakar as a verb). The truth of God’s power and majesty is built into the DNA of being a man. It only needs to be uncovered for men everywhere to remember that the Lord is King. Isn’t this exactly what Paul says in the first chapter of Romans? The wicked are not held accountable because they denied that Yeshua was the Messiah. They are held accountable because they refused to acknowledge who God is and they were not grateful. They already knew. And now, when the final curtain is pulled back, they will remember.
How about you? Does your life reflect the whole psalm, or did you stop reading at verse 21? Are you living on the basis of appearances, or do you see the victory ahead? Are you remembering?
Topical Index: remember, zakar, male, victory, Psalm 22:28