Psalms 44 Commentary

Psalm 44 Has God forgotten his people?

Some national disaster has overtaken Israel and the people ask if God has deserted them. The tone of the psalm is not one of humility, but one of outspoken boldness in questioning God’s purposes. It shows some lack of faith and submission before God (cf. Rom 8:28,31-39). But God may yet be gracious and answer such a prayer.

Through the words of the psalmist the people recall how God enabled their ancestors to conquer and inhabit Canaan (1-3). They remind God that he alone gave Israel victory, and the people praised him accordingly (4-8). Why, then, has he now deserted them? He has allowed them to be conquered, plundered, scattered and enslaved (9-12). They feel disgraced because of the insults that neighbouring nations throw at them (13-16).

What makes the insults hard to bear is that the people can see no reason why God has allowed this calamity to befall them. They do not feel as if they have forgotten God or been unfaithful to him (17-19). If they had worshipped foreign gods they could understand such severe divine punishment, but they can see nothing at all of which they have been guilty (20-22). They call upon God to wake from his sleep and do something to help them. They ask him to remember his covenant love for them and rescue them from their enemies (23-26).

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