Psalm 44 begins with a history review of God’s faithfulness to His people. “O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old”. One part of our role as parents is to share a spiritual legacy with our kids and grandkids. We need to tell the stories of days gone by – stories of all the amazing things God has done in the generations past. God has done many great and powerful things that we need to capture and share openly with those in our patch.
The people realize that God was the source of what they had. “Not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them”. There is admission that God was the source of all they have. It is far more important to have God’s favor than our own strength and power. And having God’s face to shine upon us is the ultimate success. His hand and His face trump all else around us. The discussion here is not only what the writer has experienced, but the generations before as well. It is ultimately the spiritual heritage that they have lived.
There is confidence in God’s ability to protect them from their enemies because God has been faithful in the past. “Not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me”. They know that it is only through God that they will be victorious over their enemies. But with all the great history and heritage, there is a prayer for God to come to the aid of His people. They are in crisis and disappointed with the current circumstances. And they cast blame against God:
- “you have rejected us and disgraced us
- you have not gone out with our armies
- You have made us turn back from the foe
- those who hate us have gotten spoil
- You have made us like sheep for slaughter
- You have scattered us among the nations
- You have sold your people for a trifle
- You have made us the taunt of our neighbors
- You have made us a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples
- you have broken us in the place of jackals
- you have covered us with the shadow of death
- for your sake we are killed all the day long”
They have quite a list of complaints about God and what they perceive to be happening to them right now.
The psalmist protests what is happening. “Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way”. In his mind, they have not changed in their relationship with God, but somehow He has just left them to their enemies. We don’t get a glimpse as to the ‘why’ behind God’s apparent silence here. But we do see the freedom of the conversation that He allows to happen with those who love Him. We can go to God and tell Him how we feel. And we need to seek Him and pray, just as they did here, to see His hands and His face in our lives. We too need to pursue God with prayers that are clear, simple and urgent like theirs. God hasn’t left them. And they just need to keep walking or running to Him.