A Wondrous Attraction for Me

A Wondrous Attraction for Me

2 of 3 message in the “Old Rugged Cross” series. Find the rest here.

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Old Rugged Cross

A Wondrous Attraction for Me

Psalm 22:6-8, 21-31

We are currently looking at two old songs of the Cross.

The hymn “The Old Rugged Cross” which was written 100 years ago by George Bennard and Psalm 22 which was written 3,000 years ago by David the warrior, king, and poet.

David’s song was written so long ago it was written 1,000 years before Jesus was even born.

However, even though it was written long before Jesus’ birth, it paints a picture of his death- even lifting direct quotes from Jesus on the cross.

We looked at the first 5 verses last week, I want to take a look at the middle and end this morning.

Let’s start reading at verse 6.

David has just finished mentioning that his forefathers trusted in God in the desert and they were delivered- but David is saying, they trusted in you and they were delivered but it feels like I don’t receive the same help.

I’ve trusted in you and I feel forgotten.

And he goes on to say in verse 7, people have noticed and they are laughing at me.

verses 7 & 8.

Verse 8 is really similar to what we read about happening to Jesus on the cross in Mark 15 and Matthew 27

Mark 15

30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise* also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot* save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.

Matthew 27:43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”

However, in reaction to these insults David says:

Read verses 9-10

Verses 11-20 are filled with references to Christ’s suffering on the cross and we’ll tackle those next week, but for now skip down to verse 22

Read to the end of the chapter.

Many years ago we needed some flyers printed to distribute at Chandler Elementary School about the Bible Club that we were doing there and I had heard that a local printer had a really great price on simple black and white printing on colored paper, so I emailed them and asked if this was something that they could do in the next few days.

They said sure.

A few days went by and I didn’t hear anything so I called and said, hey I was wondering about those flyers. I really need to get them sent out at the end of the week.

The guy’s response caught me off guard,

“How was I supposed to know you needed them by the end of the week? Was *GOD* supposed to tell me that?!”

I was totally thrown by that response and I said, I’m sorry I wasn’t more clear we’ll print them ourselves and I hung up the phone and thought, what in the world…

I wasn’t sure if the guy was more frustrated with me because of this simple misunderstanding or was there something else going on here…

In that moment it occurred to me that his comment hadn’t just been at me, but also my God…. So then I wanted to call him back…. But I didn’t. I tell you what I did instead here in a minute…

David writes in his poem, that people weren’t just mocking him, but rather they were mocking David’s trust in God.

They were saying- He trusted in God. Let God help him not.

This is the same thing that happened to Jesus.

Jesus is dying on the cross, his mother is there, some of his followers are there, people who loved Him and then there are people at the cross watching Him die and making fun of Him…

I want you to think for a second of what kind of person goes to watch someone die and makes fun of them as they die.

I’m sure that it would be easy for us to imagine someone who had loved one who had been hurt or killed by a violent man going to the execution of the violent man and taking great joy at their execution-

but Jesus was  a violent man.

In fact, he was the exact opposite- but there are people there making fun of him as he is dying.

David and Jesus both experienced what the Bible refers to as “scorn.”

  1. Scorn is angry belief.

“They laugh me to scorn”

Scorn is the feeling or belief that someone or something is worthless or despicable or the expression of that belief.

Now this sounds like the opposite of faith, but it isn’t.

Just like hate isn’t the absence of love, it’s an anger that comes from a lack of love, anger that comes from what once was love, anger that comes from unrequited love or stolen love-

You don’t hate people you’ve never even met and have no knowledge of.

Scorn has an element of belief to it, but it’s angry.

The people that scorned Jesus were somewhat familiar with Him and that’s obvious from the things they said to him and about him.

The people that scorned David were somewhat familiar with him and that’s obvious from the things they said about Him…

“Militant Atheists are really angry with a God they don’t believe in.” – Daniel Aaron Webster.

Most of the time, the problem is not convincing someone to believe in God, it’s helping them overcome what hurt them, what made them angry, what causes them to find God despicable.

George Bennard wrote the Old Rugged Cross after speaking at an evangelistic crusade where a group of young people heckled him during his sermon.

He was troubled at how they had no regard for the message of the gospel.

That’s the reason He wrote,

“Oh, that old rugged Cross 

so despised by the world

Has a wondrous attraction for me”

I’ve been in situations where I’m speaking at a camp for young people and there’s a group of kids that from the very beginning look at you like they are just daring you to try and speak to them.

They come into the camp angry at the speaker, whom they’ve never met… They come into the camp looking for a reason to dislike their counsellor…

It’s not a matter of faith and belief, it’s a matter of anger, hurt, and resentment…

Sometime when people are angry with you, it’s an indication that you’ve done something wrong to them. Other times it’s simply an indication that someone has done something wrong to them.

That printer’s response to me made me question what I had done wrong, because after all I’m not perfect. However, after I thought about it, that exchange told me more about him than it did me.

I love David’s response to this- I love the lines that follow… Let’s look at them again verses 9 & 10.

David doesn’t respond by saying, God rain down fire and death on them and show them that you are real… Rain down fire and death on them and let them know how wrong they are…

David’s response is one of hope and faith…

  1. Hope is grateful faith.

But You are the one who give me hope-

since I was a child you’ve been giving me hope (9-10)

From the very beginning, God has been drawing us, drawing us, drawing us to Himself, drawing us to the cross.

What did George Bennard write?

“Oh, that old rugged Cross 

so despised by the world

Has a wondrous attraction for me”

The story of God’s Word again and again is God searching for and calling to His people- searching for and calling for the lost.

Drawing them to Himself…

John 12

31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

33This he said, signifying what death he should die.

Through all of it, Jesus was heading for the cross so that He would draw all men unto Himself.

Scripture also tells us that deep within us there is this longing that only God can satisfy-

God has been drawing us to Himself all along.

God has been there every step of the way your entire life and He hasn’t merely been standing there watching, He’s been calling out to you, screaming your name, trying to show that He’s here, trying to draw you to Himself.

David said, you gave me hope when I was still nursing.

You’ve given me hope from Day 1. – Teens refer to a long time friend as their Day 1.

God’s always been there.

And through all of it, through the good times and bad, through the times you should of died, through the times you made foolish mistakes, through the times you were angry and when you were sad, God has been there all along the way- and there were times you couldn’t sense God, you wondered where He was or IF He was, but He was there all along the way…

David opens this song wondering where God is, but His refrain is that God has been there all along… Even in the worst of times, He’s been there.

On the cross, in the worst of circumstances, in the most excruciating pain, in the feeling of being forsaken, experiencing the scorn and mocking of the people standing there, feeling the wait of his mother’s grief, and his followers confusion,

Jesus was there to draw you to Himself-

So even the cross has a wondrous attraction to us…

Last year Leonard Cohen past away and he was famous for many songs, but his most familiar is Hallelujah.

“Love is not a victory march

It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.”

But that song almost never was.

It’s been covered by numerous stars and its been called a piece of epic modern songwriting, but it didn’t start that way.

Following from: https://joshuamcnall.com/tag/malcolm-gladwell/

“Cohen worked obsessively on Hallelujah for five years—FIVE YEARS—writing upwards of SIXTY verses. That’s insane. And if you’ve heard his “finished” version, you know—it’s terrible. It sounds like a Baptist choir got drunk and then sang background for a sad Neil Diamond. It’s offensive.”

“Cohen’s album and the song are rejected, because its awful.

Cohen keeps tinkering…

Then, John Kale hears the latest iteration. He likes it, and asks Cohen for the lyrics. Cohen faxes fifteen pages!

Kale then chooses three verses, mostly those with biblical imagery. He changes the entire feel of the song, and covers it.

No one buys it.

No one, that is, except a woman named Janine, in Brooklyn—for whom Jeff Buckley cat-sits. That’s right: cat-sits. While there Buckley puts on some of her albums and he hear’s Hallelujah (still an unknown song).

Buckley performs the song at a small show.

A record exec is there, and he immediately signs him.

Buckley’s 1994 version of Hallelujah is inspired.

It is “the famous one.” But almost no one pays attention.

Then, in 1997, Buckley drowns in Memphis.

And in the aftermath of tragedy, as often happens, people take notice.

The path that this Epic song took to be completed and gain popularity is as winding and disjointed as a cow path…

Our lives are like that…

There are twists and turns that we didn’t see coming.

When we look back it’s amazing the happenstances, the coincidences, the sharp turns, the path is anything but logical…

but God was there all along the way- using every twist and turn to draw us to Himself, because as David says since we were born he’s been giving us hope.

One of the verses in Cohen’s many versions of Hallelujah goes like this:

I did my best, it wasn’t much

I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch

I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you

And even though it all went wrong

I’ll stand before the Lord of Song

With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

That’s what David says in verse 22, I’ll stand in the congregation and I will praise you.

and in verse 23- I’ll tell those that believe to glorify you because verse 24

24For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when you cried unto him, he heard.

  1. David replies to scorn with hope and praise.

Because you’ve given me hope, I’ll tell everyone about you…. (22-31)

We live in an age of disdain and scorn.

We live in a time of great anger, unrest, and mockery.

Our response should be as David’s.

God gives me hope- He’s given me hope from day one.

Let me tell you about Him.

Let me show you all He’s done for me.

So I wanted to pick the phone back up and call that printer and give him a piece of my mind.

That’s what my flesh wanted to do, but thankfully the Spirit won over my flesh in this instance.

Instead, I dropped a card in the mail apologizing that I hadn’t been more clear, I offered to buy him lunch, and I hoped we’d have an opportunity to do some printing with him in the future.

He didn’t take me up on lunch, but he has done some printing for us.

George Bennard was disturbed at how the youth acted at that revival meeting, so he wrote a song about the wonderful beautiful cross.

David was perplexed by the people who scorned him and made fun of him, so he taught the people to give glory to God.