Today’s reading is Psalm 44. Together with Psalms 42 & 43 they form a common prayer of “God why have you forgotten us?” Why indeed, is the common cry of our hearts too.
Vs 1-8 recall Israel’s past and the Lord being with them in might as they defeated their enemies. They rightly did not boast in their bow or sword (even though they used them to great effect) but they boasted in the Lord for what he did and praised his name.
Vs 9-16 describes their situation now. They feel God has left them, they have suffered defeat and been shamed before their enemies. At this point, if we are doing a bible study we usually look for the sins of idolatry, self reliance, ignorance of the Lord and his decrees..and as a consequence the punishment in military defeat. And most of the time we’d be right! BUT NOT THIS TIME.
Vs 17-22 declares that they think have not been disloyal to the Lord at all. Either they are misguided and ignorant of their sin or their claim is true.
This is where we too find it difficult. We ask the question, Why do “bad things happen to good people?” or we may find harsh comfort in the declaration that “s**t just happens” as some would say. Both seem to rob the Lord of his power and benevolence to change the situation. We too would be correct to search our hearts diligently and soberly and look for the thing (SIN) we may have done for us to be in the position we are in. But like Israel we might well come to the same conclusion: “God where are you and why is this happening?” Paul quotes verse 22 in Rom 8:36 applying it to the reality of the current Christian community.
In Vs 23-26 Israel rather bravely conclude that God must be asleep and forgotten his people! They of course know this is absurd BUT it is how they feel “Rouse yourself” they cry (remember this Psalm is sung by a Levitical choir – sons of Korah)
Sometimes (maybe often) we too need to cry out with Vs26
Rise up and help us; redeem us because of your unfailing love
Resting in and crying out for God’s unfailing love is a much better response than concluding that “s**t just happens” don’t you think?