If God helped earlier generations that followed Him, would He also help those who are currently following Him? This is the assumption, but also question of those who wrote Psalm 44. In verses 1-4, they recall how God helped their forefathers. His mighty hand (vv. 2, 4) gave them protection, victory, and love (v. 3). In verses 5-8, the writers (sons of Korah) describe how God has also helped them in the past to be victorious over their enemies (v. 7). They do not trust in their own strength but boast in God’s strength and praise His name (v. 8). When we read Scripture, we should be encouraged to trust God in how He helped saints of the past. We also should recall how He has helped us in the past overcome our enemies. Remembering God’s faithfulness to others and ourselves brings hope and renews confidence in the Lord in current circumstances.
Although God had helped their families and their own past situations, they were presently suffering (vv. 9-16). “But now” (v. 9) shows how their perception has changed from confidence to doubt. There is no doubt they blame God for their current condition. They accuse God, saying, “You have, You gave, You made” as they attribute their battle loss, feelings of rejection and abandonment to God. What a dramatic shift from verses 1-8 where they completely trusted the Lord! Now they think God caused all their suffering, never once looking to their own sin. God is still all-powerful and although they knew and acknowledged that previously, why do they blame Him for their current situation?
The Old Testament is full of examples of how Israel repeatedly abandoned the Lord, were defeated by enemies because of God’s divine punishment, repented, and were delivered. Even the kings in Samuel and Kings show the abandonment and return to the Lord! Verses 17-22 show their complete denial being disloyal to God even saying they had not forgotten or turned away from Him (vv. 17-18). They truly believe the God Who could see everything has missed their complete allegiance to Him (vv. 20-21). One has to ask, “Is God wrong or are they wrong? Is He being cruel to them? Has God somehow missed their loyalty and punished them unjustly?” They do say they are being martyred for His sake (v. 22). Are they suffering for their loyalty? Perhaps they have been truly loyal to God, wicked people are persecuting them, and in their suffering are beginning to lose strength and faith in God.
In the remaining verses (vv. 23-26). They ask the Lord to end their suffering. The Christian must know suffering will come because of following the Lord (Philippians 1:29; 1 Peter 3:17). We will have to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). We also suffer the consequences of sin (Galatians 6:7-8). It is right to ask God for mercy for both situations, but it is wrong and sinful to cross the line and blame and insult a holy God. The motive of our heart must be pure in our request for mercy. Some consequences of sin can follow us for a lifetime. Perhaps a merciful Judge will grant us leniency. Some persecutions can also follow us a lifetime. It is not up to us when trials and persecutions will end, although we should ask for mercy. It is up to us to trust the Lord in His purposes and plans. He will one day set things right. Consequence for sin should drive us back to God. Suffering in persecution should do the same. Praising Him for His past and anticipated help is right. However, where our faith is truly tested is in our present suffering. Our present sufferings (whether we created them or someone else did them to us) are not worthy to be compared to the future glory He has for us in heaven (Romans 8:18). He ultimately has our good and His glory in mind (Romans 8:28).
- Are you blaming God for your sinful consequences?
- Are you trusting God during righteous persecution?
- Are you confusing the two?
Lord, help me to persevere and trust You completely. Help the attitude of my heart be worshipful and not wrathful towards You. You have been so good to me and nothing would ever make me believe anything different. Whatever comes my way, help me stay faithful to you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.