“Truth for Truckers” *March 14, 2014* Psalm 44 “Arise for our help”
This Psalm is listed as written for instructing [Maschil] the sons of Korah, who were of the priestly tribe of Levi. Its movements are divided up into four sections with (v.1-8) developing their Confidence in God. Then (v.9-16) unfold the Calamity from God with (v.17-22) recording their Case in Chief. The Psalm ends with their Cry unto God (v.23-26) emphasizing five significant requests from the Lord.
In the first eight verses the Psalmist gives testimony to God’s working in the past history of the nation of Israel bolstering their Confidence in God: ‘We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work Thou didst in their days, in the times of old. How Thou didst drive out the heathen with Thy hand, and planted them; how Thou did afflict the people, and cast them out. For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but Thy right hand, and Thine arm and the Light of Thy countenance, because Thou had a favor unto them.’
This first three verses cover the conquest of the land under Joshua showing that ‘Our fathers’ recognized and relayed the fact that God was fully responsible for purging and providing the nation of Israel with the promised land just as He said He would. It was the miraculous working of the LORD that accomplished it all and they are here giving Him the glory for His working.
Then, the Psalmist declares: ‘Thou art my King O God: command deliverances for Jacob’(v.4). This statement and following request sets the tone for the remainder of the Psalm for present deliverance is needed, and based on the past record of God’s working (v.1-3) He is able to do it again, and therefore the request is made here somewhat abruptly and up front so to speak.
The statement of confidence in God continues in (v.5-7) with the past, present and future tenses utilized to show God’s complete ability to deliver: ‘Through Thee will we push down our enemies: through Thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. But Thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.’
These statements of confidence parallel the previous record of God’s great deliverance of the land of promise when He did it then, and now He is called upon to do it again. This demonstrates the writer’s ability to present a sound and compelling request based on past history of the LORD’s willingness and power to perform. He caps this section with a meaningful declaration of devotion to the LORD: ‘In God we boast all the day long, and praise Thy name forever. Selah’.
He directs His words to the LORD and ends with the word Selah showing a musical notation that calls for meditation upon what was just recorded. But, just as his confidence in God seemed to be at its highest point, suddenly Calamity from God enters, and the tone and tenor of the Psalm takes a sharp dive into darkness and despair as a multitude of downward and depressing statements of calamity are clicked off in almost military style addressed to God Himself:
1. Thou hast cast off
2. Thou hast put us to shame
3. Thou goest not forth with our armies
4. Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy
5. They which hate us spoil for themselves
6. Thou hast given us as sheep appointed for meat
7. Thou hast scattered us among the heathen
8. Thou sellest Thy people for nought
9. Thou dost not increase Thy wealth by their price
10. Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and a derision
11. Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people
12. My confusion is continually before me
13. The shame of my face hath covered me
14. For the voice of him that reproaches and blasphemes by reason of the enemy
This sudden turn of events which the Psalmist puts squarely into God’s realm of responsibility shows his ability to discern the facts of God’s full control over the events that He allows to enter into the life of His people but is not the author. Yes, His sovereign control over the entire universe is a fact that should give us great peace in time of sudden calamity. However, it does not end there, witness the marvelous testimony of their Case in Chief: ‘All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten Thee, neither have we dealt falsely in Thy covenant. Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from Thy way; Though Thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death…‘Yea for Thy sake are we killed all the day long; we counted as sheep for the slaughter.’’ (v.17-22)
In spite of the desperate situation, there was no forgetting God, or falsehoods, or turning back, nor decline in their faithfulness to God even though they recognized the Lord was indeed in control of their dire circumstances. This section closes with the ultimate in affliction: Being put to death for God’s sake demonstrates not only the ultimate affliction, but it also show the full devotion to God’s will similar to the Lord Jesus Christ’s attitude as He went to His death for God’s sake: ‘Not My will but Thine be done’ showing the highest form of worship ever when He gave Himself a propitiation for our sins so that God could be just and the justifier of an ungodly sinner like me and all of mankind. (I John 2:2).
In conclusion, the Psalmist’s Cry unto God (v.23-26) giving five imperative requests to the Lord:
- Awake, why sleepest Thou, O Lord?
- Cast us not off for ever
- Arise for our help
- Redeem us for Thy mercies sake.
These requests show the Psalmist’s enduring faith in his God as he calls out to Him for help, fully expecting the Lord to hear and answer, basing it all upon the eternal mercies of God and His past action. This sure foundation of the mercy of God demonstrates the Psalmist’s wisdom as he appeals to God for His deliverance, an appeal which the Lord will answer because He is the God of eternal mercy to His children and to all who will call upon Him (Psalm 136).
Drivers, sometimes the Lord allows us to go through the deep waters that seem to over-flood our soul. But, He is ever in control and always brings us through to the victory side as we remain faithful to Him. ‘He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power [Holy Spirit] which works within us!’ (Ephesians 3:20)
Chaplain L.E.Wolfe www.btmi.org I-85 Exit 35 SC McPilot Stop in, and please pray for our ministry!