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.
Pray for the suffering, persecuted church throughout the world.
Many a soccer team has its stories of the good old days. An FA-cup giant-killing feat, or a promotion to a higher division – so why is this team now locked in a desperate fight to avoid relegation? Similarly, the psalmist asks on behalf of his beleaguered nation why, after generations of military success, are they now suffering defeat after defeat? With a note of sarcasm, he asks why God is asleep (v 23). We almost expect the heavens to open and a bolt of lightning to strike at such disrespect!
For me, the psalms are the most brutally honest part of the Bible. In addition to worship, praise and thankfulness, they express the exasperation and confusion of relating to an omnipotent God. Why does he act the way he sometimes does? Why does he apparently not act at all, particularly in relation to suffering and injustice in the world? Is it because our lifestyles and our prayers aren’t up to scratch? Well, no. God would have told us if that had been the case (vs 17–22). Is it because we’ve been tempted to trust in ‘my bow’ and ‘my sword’ (v 6) rather than ‘your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face’ (v 3)? Maybe, because we’ve all occasionally tried to take things into our own hands, to hurry things along. However, that’s not the whole answer.
The psalm gives no easy answers. It ends with a miserable, oppressed man groveling in the dust and reaching out to the one certainty, that God’s love never fails (v 26). It’s a cliffhanger. Thankfully, we know what the culmination will be. Paul quotes this psalm before writing his great assurance that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.1 Thank God for that.
Remind yourself of the times God has clearly shown his love to you. Fold them around you. Feel the security they evidence. Take confidence to face the day.
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.
1 Rom 8:35–39
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.