As mentioned in previous posts, I am working my way through the Old Testament chronologically; and am in I Chronicles. Chapter 26 is on the organization of the Temple gatekeepers, followed by Psalms labeled with the Sons of Korah and related to the Temple Gate. Korah is one of two families assigned to the gatekeeper responsibilities. Below is a closer look at one of these Sons of Korah "gatekeeper: Psalms 44.
For the Director of Music. Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil.
Ryrie says a maskil is a contemplative or didactic poem. Which is more specific than the NIV footnote.
v. 1-3 It starts out with a telling of the author's history. How God worked in the lives of his ancient people. Saving them and making them flourish. By their own stories, it was the Lord and not the people.
v. 3b Because He loved them!
v. 4-8 Now the author is telling his own stories of the Lord bringing the victory. No by his own weapons, but by the decree of God.
I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory;
but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversary to shame.Psalm 44:6-7
Yikes. Plot twist.
This beautiful psalm of celebrating the Lord just became a cry of accusation against the Lord for now letting them be defeated and sold off to the enemy. "Rejected by God. Disgraced them for everyone to see. Crushed without cause; even though they had done everything right by Him"
Then in verse 22 the accusations stop and the author seems to begin to remember who God is, "Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered all day long."
In verses 23-26 the author cries out for the Lord to "awake", rise up, and rescue them.
He does end on the right note at the very end, "rescue us because of your unfailing love."
It's wild to me that such a negative Psalm was meant to be sung as a choir regularly. I've read in some of my books that it's ok to be mad and share your anger with God; but I always think of how He answered Job- and it didn't seem like He was too thrilled to be questioned. But this is His Holy Word.
There are some important points the author makes that tell us his cry is in desperation and not just a petulant child.
- He does remember who God has been since ancient days.
- He remembers who God has been in his own history.
- And he leads with this remembrance of who God is.
- They remain steadfast by Him, "for your sake we face death..."
- Thy still have enough faith in Him to cry to Him for rescue.
I want to consider this further; but I wonder if he allows this psalm to be in His canon, in the songs to be sung by His people; maybe I should look at my own times of trouble differently.
Psalm 44 Wiersbe Commentary
- They often sang songs after a great victory; but here must have been defeats along the way. Maybe this was their "Day of Prayer" in remembrance or grieving.
- It parallels Psalm 60, so he theorizes it was Edom or the Aramenians who defeated them.
- Defeat and suffering may come from sin, as promised by God; but He may have other reasons that we don't understand. Lime the martyring of Stephen. That's the biggest defeat- and yet- lives changed and some important things happened because of it.
- God can still love us and still let there be defeats. We're part of His plan. He's not here to serve us; but us to serve Him.
- Ultimately, they came to a place of submission and their trust in the Lord grew from the time of darkness.