Psalm 44

Psalm 44
by Pastor David Groendyk


This is an enigmatic psalm for the believer. It’s a hymn of praise to God for his mighty deeds, but it’s also an impassioned plea for help in the midst of great suffering, as well as a display of confidence in God’s desire and ability to save.

Verses 1–8 are the high point of this psalm. God has done miraculous deeds in days of old. The psalmist is surely looking back to the days of the ten plagues in Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, and then the victorious conquering of the various nations in the land of Canaan. The psalmist recognizes that it is not through any kind of human power or weapon or plan that the people of Israel succeed, but through God’s power alone. Without his ordaining, Israel has no hope. And as a result, God alone gets all the glory (v. 8)! What are you tempted to put your trust in for success and help besides God? Notice also that the psalmist (and his peers) heard about this great power from their ancestors. This underscores the need for every generation of believers to explicitly pass on the witness of God’s salvation to the next generation. Are you actively engaged in telling the next generation about God’s salvation?

Verses 9–16, however, take a sharp left turn. God’s people have been rejected, disgraced, defeated, slaughtered, scattered, sold, derided, scorned, taunted, made a laughingstock, and shamed. What’s happened? How could this be? It reminds us that God’s great power and salvation do not exempt us from hardship in this life. Additionally, just because we do have God on our side doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to vocalize our troubles. As we go through different trials in life, we are free to express our pain. It’s a reality in a fallen world that we will go through pain. The Bible doesn’t minimize that reality. When you go through trials, do you go to God with your pain? Always remember that he wants us to cast our burdens and anxieties on him! Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking that he doesn’t want to hear from you!

What makes this pain particularly aggravating is verses 17–22. Why do God’s people suffer? Sometimes it’s because God must chastise his people in order to draw them back to himself (for example, in Psalm 79). But God’s people haven’t done anything wrong here! The psalmist repeatedly claims total faithfulness to God. God is not chastising his people. Thus, the reason for this suffering is a mystery. This is often the way with God’s people. Even being good Christians doesn’t exempt us from hardship. Do you recognize verse 22? Paul quotes it at the end of the famous chapter Romans 8. God’s people often suffer persecution simply for being Christians. But Paul’s emphasis in Romans 8 is that, despite the seeming abandonment by God, the love of God has not left us. Christ is still interceding for us. Nothing will ever ultimately conquer us. Therefore, we can have all the confidence in the world in our God for help. Do you have confidence that God still loves you in the midst of your trials?

Verses 23–26 show us the result of having confidence in God’s love. Turn right back to God and ask for his help! These are bold petitions from the psalmist, aren’t they? “Awake!” “Rouse yourself!” “Rise up!” “Redeem us!” Only because we know God loves us, and only because we know that he has committed himself to us by way of a covenant, can we have the boldness to make these requests. Do you come to God in prayer timidly or boldly? What can we learn from Romans 8:31–39 about making bold requests of God?