Psalm 44 – Cut and Run

package of Justin's organic hazelnut chocolate butter on blue placemat   Bible opened to Psalm 44 with Justin's organic hazelnut chocolate butter on toast on green plate

Today’s passage: Psalm 44

Today’s chocolate: Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter

I did something different today. My last pack of Justin’s peanut butter cups had a coupon for a free squeeze pack of nut butter, so I jazzed up a slice of toast with my free pack of chocolate hazelnut butter. It’s good! It’s a tasty way to jazz up your toast.

I also want to post a retraction. In my posts for Psalm 42 and Psalm 43, I attributed their authorship to David. In fact, they are by the sons of Korah. It even says so in the dedication that precedes the psalm: “For the choir director, a Maskil of the sons of Korah.” What an idiot I am! I simply assumed, “Oh, David is the most famous psalmist, and Psalm 42 is the most famous psalm, therefore hurr durr!” I have forfeited all credibility. Into the shadows I slink, ashamed.

Seriously, though, I’ve gone back and edited the posts for those two psalms. But I wanted to bring this to your attention, lest you persist in errors brought about by my idiocy. Psalms 42 and 43 are by the sons of Korah.

So is Psalm 44. It’s a communal psalm, for the “we” of Israel to sing as a group, recalling God’s saving and empowering work in the days of “our fathers.” It also paints a familiar picture of disorientation: past victories have given way to present defeat, and the community takes it as God’s rejection of them. The psalmist doesn’t just say that God has let this happen, either. He says, “You give us as sheep to be eaten…You sell Your people cheaply, and have not profited by their sale” (11-12). He’s baffled that God has thrown his people to the wolves; God gains nothing from it, and the community, he claims, has done nothing to deserve it. “If we had forgotten the name of our God or extended our hands to a strange god, would not God find this out?” (20-21) he asks.

If God turned his back on you, would you turn your back on God? The sons of Korah wouldn’t. Instead, with a psalm for Israel to sing as one voice, they ask:

Arouse Yourself, why do You sleep, O Lord?
Awake, do not reject us forever.
Why do You hide Your face
And forget our affliction and our oppression?
…Rise up, be our help,
And redeem us for the sake of Your lovingkindness. (23-24, 26)

They’re suffering and they don’t understand it, but they don’t cut and run on their relationship with God. Instead, they pray: they ask God the questions on their minds and hearts, and they ask God for his help and redemption.

If you’re ever down and out and mad with God about your situation, or sad, or afraid, ask God your questions. Ask him for the things you want. Get honest with him. If he’s really a good God, he’ll give you the answers and provisions you need, when you need them. And sometimes, one of the things you need is simply someone to vent to.

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