WHERE ARE YOU, GOD?
Father, inspire me with fresh insight and a new vision of you. At times I battle with divided loyalty and waning trust.
Read PSALM 44
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil.[b]
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[c] 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.[d]
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 neighbors,
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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIs your faith strong today or are you struggling a bit? Invite God to speak to you.
Psalms 42 and 43 spoke of a longing for God. In one sense so does this psalm, but it comes from a deeper sense of confusion. In some ways it reflects the feelings of Jeremiah, except that Jeremiah saw the approaching disaster as the just punishment of God; here there is a sense of injustice and undeserved suffering. In that sense it is closer to Job. Once God was with them (vs 1–8), but no longer (vs 9–16), despite their faithfulness (vs 17,18); this led to confusion (vs 19–25) and desperate prayer (v 25).
Most Christians experience times like this. Inexplicable suffering comes our way and God seems not to provide any answers. First, remember that however hard it may be in the depths of our pain and confusion, we can, like the psalmist, be confident of the ultimate reality of God’s unfailing love (v 26); the Hebrew word carries ideas of the covenant and God’s total commitment to us.
Secondly, see how Paul picks up verse 22 in Romans 8:36, emphasizing again that God’s love is unconquerable. Sometimes these things are simply the result of living in a broken world. As Derek Kidner puts it, ‘… suffering may be a battle-scar rather than a punishment; the price of loyalty in a world which is at war with God’.*
Adapt verse 26 as a prayer for any you know who are struggling to understand their suffering.
Mighty God, you love me and have a plan for my life. Although at times it seems I have been forgotten, that is never the case. Praise God you are always there with me.
*Derek Kidner, Psalms 1–72 (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), p170
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