Psalms Chapter 44: Part 2 Verses 9-26 [Where are you God?]

Psalms Chapter 44: Part 2 Verses 9-26 #Betrayed #Forsaken #Castdown 

(Unless otherwise cited this devotional is from the King James Version-Psalms 41 mainly because it is public domain.) But read this Psalm in the NIV for clarity of the Genre.)

Context:

The community accuses God of breaking His covenantal promise to take care of chosen people, even though they have been loyal to their Warrior King/God. Part 2 demonstrates in verses 9-26 Israel’s current status as a “defeated nation.” The psalmist cries out to God-the Warrior King-to save Israel. 

  • 9But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies.
  • 10Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves.

The psalmist describes how God orchestrated the defeat and humiliation of Israel-in His eyes that is!

  • 11Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen. “This description connotes that the nation was butchered, then eaten as one would eat sheep or goats.  Zech. 11 speaks about the leadership of a nation or “flock lead to slaughter.”
  • 12Thou sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price.
  • 13Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us. [This verse is indicative of a lot of Christians all around the world. They are scored, shamed, and in many cases put to death for their beliefs.]
  • 14Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people. 
  • 15My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me,
  • 16For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy and avenger.

The nation of Israel is telling God that he has abandoned them. “9But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame.” Their historic victories are no more. The defeat of its armies is a fearful this for this nation. David knows that the other nations’ armies are not better than Israel’s. He blames God for deserting them.

  • 9But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies. (Judges 4:14; 1 Sam. 8:20).
  • 10Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves. [A point of reference. When they won their battles, God sent them into battle. He did not fight on their behalf when they chose to go into battle by themselves.]
  • 11Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen. According to Cayce (2018), “So God, when he is said to deliver up his people into the hands of their enemies, is said to sell them to them (see Judges 2:14). And selling them for nought suggests, that in their apprehensions he had no esteem of them and value for them. Just as men, when they have any person or thing to dispose of they have no regard unto. But choose to be rid of, will part with it for nothing: and as it follows” (Cayce 2018, Psalms 44:12).
  • 12Thou sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price. The people are actually accusing God of being in the slave trader business.  Jeremiah 51:6-7 The Babylonians are known for their expertise in the slave trade.  It is interesting how we cannot come to terms with our own role in our demise, isn’t it?
  • A chasm has developed between the nation of Israel and God. They cannot see where their sins may be the cause for this feeling of separation. How many times have we felt a distance between us and God? When that happens, we should be searching our souls. Not like the farmer looking for the needle in the haystack, but for the person eating a bag of popcorn, but taking out the unpopped kernels before they break their teeth. It is essential that we see ourselves as causing the separation and not God. He does not abandon His children.
  • 13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.  When we commit sin, we are in a state of shock and confusion. Sin leads from one type of sin to other types of sin. Sometimes we fall into the pit of human depravity that is so dark that we make excuses for our behavior, but we are enjoying the pleasures of sin.  Jeremiah 3:25 We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: [WHY?] for we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”
  • Unrepented sin leads to more sin. We will apologize if we think it will make us look good. But an apology without reconciliation is nothing more than an act of penance without a change of heart and behavior.
  • 14Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.  Even the heathen cannot believe how far Israel has fallen. What happens when a pastor fall because of some sort of sin? It hits the national news. Every news station is publicizing this one man’s indiscretion. Before long Christianity and holiness is called into question.

The history of every pastor who has fallen is rehearsed, and the atheists rejoice!   According to Longman (2014) “They are a byword , a negative example that is put forward so others won’t follow (a mocking song; 1 Kgs 9:7; 2 Chr. 7:20; Jer. 24:9; Ezek. 14:8; Joel 2:17). Their enemies are happy because they want revenge.”

Note how many times He used the word “Thou/You” in this section.

Previous examples of God leaving Israel to fend for themselves are found in:

  1. Josh. 7 ESVThe Defeat at Ai-caused by The Sin of Achan Verses 10-26.
  2. 1 Sam. 4 ESVThe Philistines Capture the Ark
  3. Lam. 3 ESV: The Babylonians

 

  • 17All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.

In Deuteronomy 28 God made a promise to Israel that he would not desert them if they kept His covenant with them. In verse 7 He also told them what would happen to them if they didn’t. “The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.” This is not an act of vengeance on God’s part.This is Israel reaping what it has sown: just as we reap what we sow in this life. 

However, they are convinced that they have done nothing wrong.

  • 18 Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way; 19 Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.

Sometimes we suffer for the rest of our lives because of the consequences of the sins even after we have been forgiven. God forgives and forgets our sins.  Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Guilt is not what He is looking for when we ask for forgiveness.

Dear God, We Are Going to Die!

The nation continues with its accusations against God. Again they repeat this phrase. The nation has forgotten that God knows about the hidden secrets in their hearts. 

  • 20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; How did they worship Him? Grudgingly? Worshipping God with a judgmental heart, or a heart and mind that is elsewhere while one is in His temple is not a worship experience that is devoted to Him. Yes, we can raise up our hands and vocally say/sing words to Him from a song, but where is our heart in this process? Where is His place in our lives?
  • 21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart. Yes, he knows everything, and that may be why this nation is suffering. Maybe that is why we have so much illness and disease in this world right now. God wants us to have healthy and well lives, but we must seek Him. He is not a God created by human hands. He feels our pain. Yes, his strength is perfect and He can sustain or heal us, click, just like that.
  • 22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. The same phrase from verse 11.

Wake Up, God! We Need Help!

  • 23Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off forever.
  • 24Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?
  • 25For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth.
  • 26Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.

The nation thinks that God is pretending that He is sleeping/ or not aware of what is happening to the nation. When parents are facing the death of a child, they may well feel as if God is on vacation. Their sense of urgency is heightened by their perception that God has not heard their cries. We pray without ceasing for a problem and the problem persists. Are God’s ears stopped up? Has He placed us on “mute?”

Longman declares that “The psalmist appeals to God’s unfailing love (or covenantal loyalty; ḥ esed ), for God to rise up (see Ps. 7:6) and aid them in their distress.”

This psalm is a reminder that we can go boldly before the throne of grace.  We can go before the throne of grace and KNOW that God has heard us. However, I love this statement from Longman “However, the covenant is not a mechanism that thwarts God’s freedom. We know that God loves us and will care for us, although that care may not express itself as we think it should.” That is why children die and leave their parents behind, even after hundreds of people praying for them to live. That is why sicknesses may not be healed immediately. Not necessarily because the person has sinned. But, because our timing is not the same as God. Just look at what Paul wrote in Romans 8:31-36

  • 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
  • 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
  • 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
  • 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
  • 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
  • 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; “we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Why do missionaries die on the mission field? Is God incapable of protecting them? No! Nothing can separate us from His immense love for us.

Regardless of being led like “sheep for the slaughter,” friends, when life becomes icky sticky, remember that we are “more than conquerors.” Rom. 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Do you remember who was led to the slaughter so we could experience grace? Jesus. He could have had a pity party and felt that this was a cruel injustice. After all, He is not the one who sinned. The devil thought that he had won the battle and the war.

But on the resurrection morning, I am sure that there were groans in hell that were intense. God was victorious! We will reign with Christ in the New Jerusalem! Be not faint-hearted my friends. This week I have heard about the death of a baby, a friend, the transition of a dear friend’s husband into glory, and the “close to death” experiences of another friend’s close friend. Is God asleep on His throne? NO. He is calling His children home to receive their reward! Remember, Rom. 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

 

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