Scripture reading – Psalm 44
The author of Psalm 44 is not given; however, the circumstances of its writing are without question a time of trials and troubles. The scribe of the psalm certainly had a knowledge of history (44:1-3), and in its verses recalled with fondness the stories the ancients had passed down to him by word of mouth, and written history.
Glory Past (44:1-8)
The psalmist writes, “We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work [acts; deeds] thou [God] didst in their days, in the times of old [ancient times]. 2 How thou [the LORD] didst drive out the heathen [nations] with thy hand [power], and plantedst [struck] them; how thou didst afflict [hurt; afflict] the people [nations], and cast them out. 3 For they [the people of Israel] got not the land [Canaan; the Promised Land] in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm [might; strength] save [deliver; preserve] them: but thy right hand [typically the stronger hand], and thine arm [might; strength], and the light of thy countenance [face; presence], because thou hadst a favour [took pleasure] unto them.”
The opening verses of Psalm 44 should give parents and grandparents pause to ask themselves, “What have I taught my children?” Can your children recite Bible stories, and recall God’s works and providences? Have you shared your faith with them and relationship with Jesus Christ? Are you teaching spiritual truths?
It is not enough to know history, for the sons and daughters of every generation must come to know the LORD personally. The psalmist knew the testimony of the LORD in history past, but he also asserted his personal faith in the LORD (44:4-8). He wrote, “I will not trust [be confident] in my bow [strength of the bow], neither shall my sword save me. 7 But thou [LORD] hast saved [delivered] us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame [confounded; confused] that hated us. 8 In God we boast [glory; praise; celebrate] all the day long [continually], and praise [confess; give thanks] thy name [fame; renown; reputation] for ever [perpetual; everlasting]. Selah.”
Faded Glory (44:9-16)
The psalmist had faith that God was able to deliver Israel out of her present troubles, but that did not keep him from objecting that he felt God had forsaken them (44:9). He rehearsed with the LORD how he felt abandoned, Israel had suffered defeat, and fallen victim to an enemy that scorned, and derided them (44:10-16).
A Protest of Fidelity (44:17-21)
The psalmist was cast down, and heavy-hearted, and reasoned with God that he and Israel had not forgotten the LORD, nor broken covenant with Him (44:17). He moaned that the people had not backslidden (44:18), and reasoned, “21Shall not God search this out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart” (44:21).
A Petition for Grace (44:22-26)
Where do you turn when you feel there is no place to turn?
Israel was facing overwhelming sorrows, and an enemy that “counted [them] as sheep for the slaughter” (44:22). The author recalled the glories of Israel’s past (44:1-3), and the testimonies of how the LORD had gone before His people and given them victories (44:4-8), and he longed to see the same in his day. He prayed as though God were asleep, and had forgotten to guard and keep watch over Israel: “23Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? Arise, cast us not off for ever, 24Wherefore hidest thou thy face, And forgettest our affliction and our oppression?” (44:23-24).
Desperate and longing for help, the psalmist acknowledged he had come to a low place. He confessed, “Our soul is bowed down to the dust: Our belly cleaveth unto the earth” (44:25). He called on the LORD for help, not based on his own merit, but in light of the mercies of the LORD: “Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake”(44:26).
Closing thoughts: I close inviting you to become a student of God’s Word, and human history! As an American, I know the founding fathers of this nation were not perfect; however, they were conscious that a Sovereign God was directing the course of history. In his farewell letter to the governors of the thirteen states, George Washington, the first president of the United States, wrote the following prayer:
“Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection; and Thou wilt incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another…that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Oh, that the LORD would raise up men of integrity, and godly character to lead our nation once again.
Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith