Weds 7 October - Psalm 44
1 We have heard it with our ears, O God;
our ancestors have told us what you did in their days,
in days long ago.
2 With your hand you drove out the nations
and planted our ancestors;
you crushed the peoples
and made our ancestors flourish.
3 It was not by their sword that they won the land,
nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
and the light of your face, for you loved them.
4 You are my King and my God,
who decrees victories for Jacob.
5 Through you we push back our enemies;
through your name we trample our foes.
6 I put no trust in my bow,
my sword does not bring me victory;
7 but you give us victory over our enemies,
you put our adversaries to shame.
8 In God we make our boast all day long,
and we will praise your name forever.
9 But now you have rejected and humbled us;
you no longer go out with our armies.
10 You made us retreat before the enemy,
and our adversaries have plundered us.
11 You gave us up to be devoured like sheep
and have scattered us among the nations.
12 You sold your people for a pittance,
gaining nothing from their sale.
13 You have made us a reproach to our neighbours,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
14 You have made us a byword among the nations;
the peoples shake their heads at us.
15 I live in disgrace all day long,
and my face is covered with shame
16 at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me,
because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.
17 All this came upon us,
though we had not forgotten you;
we had not been false to your covenant.
18 Our hearts had not turned back;
our feet had not strayed from your path.
19 But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals;
you covered us over with deep darkness.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
21 would not God have discovered it,
since he knows the secrets of the heart?
22 Yet for your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
23 Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.
24 Why do you hide your face
and forget our misery and oppression?
25 We are brought down to the dust;
our bodies cling to the ground.
26 Rise up and help us;
rescue us because of your unfailing love.
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Meditation on Psalm 44
There is no other Psalm quite like this one.
If we could stop at verse 8 we would be rejoicing and celebrating.
Then we reach verse 9 which starts with two words that are laden with unexpected surprise.
Verses 1-8 GOD HAS BEEN GOOD
God’s goodness and mercy to His people are the theme of the first part of this song which the ‘sons of Korah choir’ would sing.
We remember God’s deliverance; God’s protection; God’s provision; God’s power; God’s victories – all summed up in verse 3: ‘not by sword… not by their arm… it was YOUR right hand, YOUR arm and the light of YOUR face, FOR YOU LOVED THEM.’
And, because of all that God had done for them, they boasted in God and praised Him forever.
Pause a moment. As a child of God, I am what I am because of the love of God in Christ. He has won the victory at Calvary and, because of His resurrection, I have His new life within me through the indwelling Holy Spirit. This is true for every believer. Therefore, we boast in God and we praise Him forever.
Verses 9-16 WHAT ARE YOU DOING GOD?
BUT NOW… look at the increasing trauma that the people of God are facing:
- retreating from enemies
- being given up
- sheep without a shepherd
- a laughing stock with the neighbours
Do you hear echoes of Job in these cries?
It seems as if the people of God have ‘snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.’
What is going on?
Michael Wilcock comments: ‘Of one thing the psalmist and people are sure is this – one of the disadvantages of believing in a great God is that He faces you with hard questions.
What the psalmist and people cannot see is the reason why.’
Nor can we, so often.
Verses 17-22 WHAT ARE WE DOING GOD?
The people lay out their defence:
- we hadn’t forgotten you or your name
- we hadn’t been false to your covenant
- our hearts hadn’t turned back
- our feet hadn’t strayed
- we hadn’t gone after other gods
Yet, we are suffering. Our lives seem worthless.
Come back to Job 31:35: ‘‘Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defence – let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing.”
Verses 23-26 WHERE ARE YOU GOD?
Here are the cries from the heart of those who long to know and experience God when it hurts …
- “awake LORD”
- “rouse yourself LORD”
- “don’t reject us”
- “rise up”
- “help us”
As we look around the world today there are millions of Christians for whom this is their heart cry.
Maybe, you are one of them.
Two encouragements for us.
- Verse 22 Paul refers to this in Romans 8:36 – ‘for YOUR SAKE we face death all day long.’
Kidner comments: ‘God’s people are caught up in a war that is more than local and suffering may not be a punishment but a battle scar … the price of loyalty in a world which is at war with God.’
Michael Wilcock says: ‘It is not that God has made a mistake; He really is still in control. It is simply that unaccountable things do happen in this world and either He will not give, or else we could not grasp, the explanation of them.’
Verse 26b … ‘because of YOUR UNFAILING LOVE.’ Hang on to that.
Thursday 8 October - Psalm 45
Friday 9 October - Psalm 46
Saturday 10 October - Psalm 47
Sunday 11 October - Psalm 48
Monday 12 October - Psalm 49
Tuesday 13 October - Psalm 50