In my reading this morning Psalm 44 caused me to pause and think about my current situation and the crisis of the world. There are many people as Psalm 14 states that say there is no God and they will point to the suffering of God’s children, those who call themselves by His name, as evidence that God does not exist. This is evident in the current plague. In Psalm 44 the people cry out God are you asleep. In the midst of this plague upon the world it may seem God has turned away. I want to share with you a portion of Psalm 44 and the commentary from the Expositors Bible Commentary with my prayer that you find comfort in the steadfast love of God.
All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, and we have not been false to your covenant. Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way; yet you have broken us in the place of jackals and covered us with the shadow of death. If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart. Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever! Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression? For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly clings to the ground. Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!
V. Prayer for Deliverance (44:23–26)
The questions of faith usually do not receive an answer. The reason for and the purpose of suffering for the people of God find no resolution in this psalm. There is neither despondency nor evidence of anger with God. The voice of collective and individual lament expresses the difficulty of suffering without cause. The mood of confidence in the Lord has been set by the two beginning strophes. It is faith that looks up to God for his deliverance.
23 The questions of faith express the conviction that a chasm exists between the promises of God and reality. It is out of their deeply felt need and, to some extent, out of wonder that the people of God ask, “Why do you sleep?” It is not that they believe that their God is asleep (cf. 121:4). It emphasizes their need of his immediate attention to their plight. They plead with him to “awake,” i.e., rouse himself up as the Divine Warrior (cf. 7:6).
24–26 The present adversity has created a darkness, because “the light” of God’s face, which their forefathers had experienced (v. 3), is hidden (v. 24; cf. 13:1; 22:24; 88:14). They ask how God can ignore them and fail to see their “misery and oppression.” In dependency on God’s favor, they prostrate themselves to the ground (v. 25). They do not have the power to rise up, but in prayer they implore their covenant God to rise up on behalf of them. The petition begins and ends with two imperatives: “Awake … Rouse yourself!” (v. 23); “Rise up and help us; redeem us” (v. 25; cf. 94:1–2).
Redemption pertains to the welfare of God’s people in body and soul. The people come to Yahweh and petition him to look again at their low estate (v. 25; cf. 119:25). In the conclusion of their prayer, they submit themselves to the love of God. He covenanted himself to the people and promised them his “unfailing love” (ḥeseḏ, v. 26; cf. 6:4; Exod 34:6–7; Mic 7:18, 20). This is also Paul’s response to suffering, when he affirms that no adversity can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:36–39).
VanGemeren, W. A. (1991). Psalms. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Vol. 5, pp. 342–343). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.