Psalms 1 - 50by Mike Raiter
There's a popular hymn which says: ″Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.″ The truth in this song is that there is joy in a life of obedience. However, there may be times when we are trusting and obeying the Lord, yet problems come and rob us of joy. At such times, we may wonder: What is God doing in my life?
In Psalm 44, all God's people cry out to the Lord. The psalm can be divided into three parts. In verses 1 to 8, the Sons of Korah remember God's faithfulness in the past. He rescued them from Egypt and brought them into the promised land (v. 2). He alone gave them victory by His mighty power (vv. 3, 5-7). Why was He so kind to Israel? ″For you loved them″ (v. 3). He promised them that, as long as they remained faithful to His covenant, they could trust Him to keep on rescuing them from their enemies and blessing them (see Deuteronomy 28).
″But . . . you no longer go out with our armies″ (Psalm 44:9). Now, God's people are confused. God had promised blessings as a reward for obedience. They have been faithful to His covenant, but He appears to have allowed their enemies to triumph over them (v. 10). What event in Israel's life is the psalm referring to? Perhaps when Assyria attacked Israel during the reign of godly Hezekiah (2 Kings 18-19), or when Moab and Ammon came against faithful Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20). On both occasions, Israel was enjoying a time of spiritual renewal, but faced ″a day of distress″ (2 Kings 19:3).
In the final part of the psalm (Psalm 44:23-26), Israel asks God to wake up. Once, when Jesus' disciples were in a boat in the midst of a terrifying storm, they cried out to Jesus, who was sleeping: ″Lord, save us!″ (Matthew 8:25).
There will be times in this life when the ways of God will seem confusing to us. However, we know more than Israel about the power of God, and how He has demonstrated His love for us through the sacrifice of His Son (Romans 5:8). We may not have all the answers, but we can trust a Father who ″in all things . . . works for the good of those who love him″ (8:28).
Read Romans 8:36. In describing some of the sufferings we face, Paul quotes Psalm 44:22. How does Romans 8 give us a fuller answer to the questions posed by Psalm 44?
The foundation for Israel's hope in God is the story of how He saved them. How can we, as individual Christians and as a church, ensure that we remember, ″what you did . . . in days long ago (Psalm 44:1)?