Rebecca Van Noord
Psalm 44 is bold. Who asks the Lord to “wake up”? Who asks Him why He is sleeping?
The psalmist doesn’t stop with these questions. He makes claims regarding God that seem like accusations: “you have rejected and disgraced us,” “you have given us as sheep for food,” and “you have sold your people cheaply” (Psa 44:9, 11, 12). How do we deal with these types of psalms? Should we be as bold in our relationship with God?
But these claims aren’t made without reason. The psalmist opens his lament with, “O God, we have heard with our ears; our ancestors have told us of work you worked in their days, in days of old” (Psa 44:1). He had heard stories of God’s past faithfulness—how he delivered His people in battles. He also knew that God had claimed His people, that His favor to them was a testimony to the surrounding nations. But the psalmist experiences something different. Why is Israel “a taunt to our neighbors, a derision and a scorn to those around us” (Psa 44:13)?
The psalmist wrestles with his experience because he knows God’s will. He appeals to God’s faithfulness, love, and reputation among the nations. It’s not much different from our own experience, as we wrestle with evil, sorrow, and pain, and as we wonder about God’s work in the world.
But in the midst of the confusion, we still need to place trust in God. Although the psalmist questions boldly, he acknowledges, “In God, we boast all the day, and we will give thanks to your name forever” (Psa 44:8). At the end of the psalm, he still petitions God for help, on the basis of His love: “Rise up! Be a help for us, and redeem us for the sake of your loyal love” (Psa 44:26).
God has redeemed us for the sake of His loyal love, and He is present and active—even when it seems otherwise. Colossians 1 tells us to give thanks to the Father, “who has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves … because all things in the heavens and on the earth were created by him … and in him all things are held together … because he was well pleased for all the fullness to dwell in him, and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by making peace through the blood of his cross” (Col 1:12–20).
Do you trust in God’s love and deliverance, even when circumstances seem grim? Do you boldly petition Him for help, acknowledging His good character in the process?
This article was originally published in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.