Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 44 – C

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 44:17-22

All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, and we have not been false to your covenant.
Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way;
yet you have broken us in the place of jackals and covered us with the shadow of death.
If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.
Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.

Our psalmist continues with the claim that the nation has not forgotten God, nor been false to the covenant. Since it is difficult, if not impossible to date this psalm, it seems either the psalmist was in the middle of a national revival, or that he was exaggerating the practice of the nation. I fear it may have been the latter, only based on my understanding of the nations history, (and my own personal experience of self deception).

If the former, that is their hearts were leaning to the Lord, it appears that God had not kept the promise of the covenant. Deuteronomy 28 laid out the promise that a faithful Israel would reap blessings, and an unfaithful Israel would suffer defeat, spoiling, shame, dispersion and exile. Compare the list of complaints the psalmist provided in our last post with Deuteronomy 28:15-28. It seems the psalmist is pulling the very curses from Deuteronomy and laying them out in front of God in our psalm.

It appears He is connecting the works of the nation with a reaction from God as described in Deuteronomy, and claiming God is not keeping His end of the bargain up. Someone is not keeping up with the covenant!

All of this bargaining with God is assuming the Israelites covenant keeping, and not allowing for the freedom of the Lord to exercise His wisdom in teaching His people through suffering. This is reminiscent of a time in the gospels when the disciples asked the Lord about a man born blind. Jesus disconnected sin from the sickness in this instance, and said the blindness was for the glory of God. (Read out it in John 9). Afairly radical idea for men who were under the thinking of Deuteronomy.

The psalmist was seeing the problem in the same manner, I believe, as the disciples. It is a very common association, and one that I struggle with personally. I so want to associate God’s gifts with my good behavior, and blame Him for difficult times, sometimes seeing my actions worthy of some discipline.

Note the familiar verse 22, where the psalmist claims that they are experiencing death because of God. This is the ultimate claim against God, and under the Deuteronomy 28 covenant, is the ultimate reaction of God to a rebellious nation.

For believers after the resurrection, this complaint by the psalmist becomes a standard lifestyle according to the apostle Paul. Death is not the conqueror that the psalmist claims, the enemy that seemed to be indicating God’s disfavor.

Through the Lord Jesus, death has been conquered and per Paul’s instructions, even in death, the believer is more than a conqueror. Death (and suffering) is not the indicator of dissatisfaction from the Lord, as the psalmist, (and our modern thinking may lead us to believe).

Though our enemies are many, Paul assures us that through the Lord Jesus

neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Where are you in your relationship with the Lord Jesus? If under duress, do you blame God? If experiencing success (in any arena of life) do you pat yourself on the back?

Of course, as the psalmist claimed to be in good relationship with the covenant keeping God, we more so, and we have the Helper to teach us of the secrets of our heart.

would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.

Yet in all of our pilgrimage, whether sweet or sour, we are to give thanks in all things, and to think on the things of God, as found in Philippians 4:8-9.

Honest complaint before the Lord is allowed by the example of the saints before us, yet for the standard instruction and peace of God in our lives, we are to seek after

whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Let us look to the One who accepted shame, exile and death. He turned the ultimate defeat of an ignominious death into the greatest victory, and that not for Himself, but for us also who seek to follow Him. Let us mimic His character through the Spirit of God, seeing the work of God in our lives by thinking His thoughts and not ours.

He is good, all the time.

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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