Bible Commentaries
Psalms 44

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-26

Psalms 44:1-26

Psalms 44:1-26 :

We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work you did in their days, in times of old. How you did drive out the heathen with thy hand, and you planted them; and how you 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 thy arm, and the light of thy countenance, because you had favor unto them. Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob. 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 ( Psalms 44:1-6 ).

Now, this psalm begins in a very powerful kind of an affirmation of God and a dependency upon God and, "Lord, we have heard, our fathers have told us, how that in times past You were with them, You helped them, You delivered their enemies into their hands. How that they came into this land and You gave this land over to them. You drove out the enemies. It wasn't their strength or their power, but God, it was Your hand upon them that brought them into the land then gave them victory here. Lord, we have known all about it. We've heard about it. And You are our God. We acknowledge You as our King. But what is wrong?"

Now we get into the complaint of the psalmist. Up until now we were in good shape. "We know Your power. We know what You have done, and You are our God. But something has gone wrong here."

But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and thou hast put them to shame that hated us. In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever and ever ( Psalms 44:7-8 ).

And then the Selah brings the end of that part of the psalm. That is it. "God, we're trusting in You. You are it. You've done it." Now, here begins the complaint with verse Psalms 44:9 . The Selah ends the first thing of confidence in God.

But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and you go not forth with our armies. You make us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves. You have given us like sheep appointed for meat; and you have scattered us among the heathen. You sell your people for nothing, and you do not increase your wealth by their price. You make us a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us. You make us a byword among the heathen, the shaking of the head among the people. My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face has covered me, for the voice of him that reproached and blasphemed; by reason of the enemy and the avenger. 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. If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; Shall not God search this out? for he knows the secrets of the heart. Yea, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever. Why do you hide your face, and forget our affliction and our oppression? For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaves unto the earth. Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies' sake ( Psalms 44:9-26 ).

Now it is an interesting psalm because there is vivid contrast. Again, the beginning with God, "We have heard of what You have done in the past. We know of Your power. Our fathers have told us what You have done. You are our God." And yet, the difficulty of trying to understand our present circumstances which are so adverse. "If it is true that You take care of Your people, if it is true that You deliver Your people, then why are we in this present dilemma? For we have served You. We have kept Your covenant. Why, God, are we having these problems?"

Again, let me emphasize that God nowhere has promised that He would keep us from problems. He has promised to be with us in every trial. "But beloved count it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing has happened to you" ( 1 Peter 4:12 ). And yet, when we see a friend going through a deep trial we say, "Boy, this is weird. Wonder why God is allowing this, you know." Or if I am going through a heavy trial I am always thinking of it as some strange thing that has happened to me. Why should I have to go through this trial? I guess it is almost instinctive for us to shun suffering. We don't want to suffer. We don't like to suffer. We would like to have an easy path through life. We would like to have everything come up roses. But life isn't that way. Life has many pitfalls. Life has many sorrows. Life is filled with trials. But as a child of God I have the confidence and the assurance that God will be with me through any experience that I might have to pass. More than that, He has already gone before me.

"There is no temptation that has taken you but what is common with all man. But God, with that temptation, will provide for you the way of escape" ( 1 Corinthians 10:13 ). For He will not allow you to be tempted beyond your capacity to bear it, to endure it. But the trial of your faith is more precious than gold, though it perisheth, because that trial of your faith is producing, really, the enduring qualities.

Now fire is an interesting substance. And one of the ways by which God is defined is, "Our God," it says, "is a consuming fire." Now God is love, God is light, God is good. But then also our God is a consuming fire. What does He consume? He consumes the dross, the chaff, the sin, the evil. You see, fire is interesting because it has the capacity of destroying or of transmitting into permanency. It all depends on the material that is in it. Now if you have got a bag of sticks, then fire will consume it. But that same fire that consumes the sticks can forge the steel into permanency. In order for steel to be hardened, forged, you've got to put it through severe fire, tremendous heat. But it is tempered, transmitted into permanency. Now God is a figure of fire. We are all dwelling in God, in the fire. But what is the fire doing to you? It all depends on what you are. If you are a child of God, that fire is burning the dross. If you are not a child of God, that same fire is destroying you.

Now, we do have experiences in life that we do not understand. It is interesting that this particular psalm does not come out with any glowing happy ever after at the end. It ends with a cry, "O help me, God, for Your mercies' sake." But it isn't one of the, "And lived happily ever after," kind of things. It just ends with the cry, "O God, I need help." But because the cry is unto God, the end is assumed. God will take care of it. God is watching over me. God does know the trial and the path that I take. And God will bring me through. Someday I am going to come out on top, victorious through Him. God will see that I do. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 44". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.