Scripture reading – Psalm 44

The author of Psalm 44 is not named; however, the circumstances of its writing are without question a time of trials and troubles. The psalm’s writer certainly understood history (Psalm 44:1-3) and recalled with fondness the stories the ancients had passed down by word of mouth and written history. The psalmist wrote:

Glory Past (Psalm 44:1-8)

The opening verses of Psalm 44 should give parents and grandparents pause to ask themselves, “What have I taught my children?”

Psalm 44:1-3 – 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.

2  How thou [LORD] didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst [struck] them; how thou didst afflict the people [nations], and cast them out.

3  For they [the children of Israel] got not the land [Canaan; the Promised Land] in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm [might; strength] save them: but thy right hand [i.e., 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 psalmist recalled the stories passed down from generation to generation

by his elders. He remembered the LORD promised Abraham and his lineage the land and how He had favored and delivered Israel from their enemies.

Pause and think: Can your children and grandchildren recite Bible stories that they have been taught? Can they recall evidence of God’s works and providences?  Have you shared your faith with them and your relationship with Jesus Christ? Are you teaching them spiritual truths?

Challenge: It is not enough for our children to know the facts of history or Bible stories. 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 faith in God, writing,

“Thou art my King, O God…5Through thee will we push down our enemies: Through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. 6 For I will not trust in my bow, Neither shall my sword save me. 7 But thou [LORD] hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame [confounded and confused] that hated us. 8 In God we boast [praise; celebrate] all the day long [continually], and praise [give thanks] thy name for ever [perpetual; everlasting]. Selah.” (Psalm 44:4-8).

Faded Glory (Psalm 44:9-16)

The psalmist had faith that God was able to deliver Israel out of her present troubles, but he confessed he felt the LORD had forsaken His people (44:9). Israel had suffered defeat, and fallen to an enemy that scorned and derided them (44:10-16).

A Protest of Fidelity (Psalm 44:17-21)

Have you faced an enemy and felt there was no justice? Did you examine your heart, question your motives, and feel the LORD had forsaken you? 

The present state of Israel and the enemy’s threats moved the psalmist to confess he was cast down and heavy-hearted. He reasoned that he and Israel had not forgotten the LORD, nor broken covenant with Him (44:17). He moaned that the people were 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 (Psalm 44:22-26)

Psalm 44:22-26 moves me to ask, “Where do I turn when I feel there is no place to turn for help?”

The circumstances the nation of Israel faced were undoubtedly disheartening. The enemies of the country took no pity on the people. The psalmist observed how God’s people were “counted as sheep for the slaughter” (44:22). He prayed as though God were asleep and had forgotten to 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 was in 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 or Israel’s merit, but in light of the mercies of the LORD. He prayed, “Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake” (44:26).

Closing thoughts:

I encourage you to become a student of history, particularly the history of your family and nation, and ponder the evidence of the sovereignty and providences of God. Because the majority who follow “Heart of A Shepherd” are citizens of the United States, I close with the prayer of George Washington, this nation’s first president. In his farewell letter to the governors of the thirteen states, Washington wrote:

“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…Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Oh, that the LORD might raise a new generation of leaders with the same integrity and godly character to lead our nation and world.

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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