Songs of Praise: Psalm 44

Psalm 44
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All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you,
and we have not been false to your covenant.
Psalm 44:17
Sometimes, great trials and difficulties come crashing into our lives and we have no idea why. We believe we’ve been faithful to God, worshiping on Sundays, active in church, yet sometimes disaster blindsides us.
It’s confusing. We expect God’s blessing, but in the middle of crisis it seems totally absent.
I think of Job and all he endured. God described Job as His most upright and blameless servant, yet He allowed Satan to wreak havoc in his life (Job 1:6-19). The psalmist tells the same kind of story. He’s confused by the oppression of the enemy. He even goes so far as to tell God to Wake up! as if He ever falls asleep on the job.
There is more behind the affliction than God forgetting His people. It is essential to our faith to remember who God is. He is always good, always purposeful, always just, always loving in everything He allows. It’s impossible for Him to be any other way.
The Word tells us God uses affliction in the lives of His people to purify their hearts.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
Isaiah 48:10 ESV
We may see ourselves as faith-full, but as the psalmist pointed out, God knows the secrets of our hearts, and there is ALWAYS room for improvement. There are sins and unbelief we don’t recognize in our lives until our feet are held to the fire and our hearts put to the test. Job’s affliction led him to a deeper intimacy and understanding of God. He went from merely hearing about God to seeing God for himself (Job 42:5).
The psalmist began by saying their knowledge of God was hearsay, but God is now giving them an opportunity to test their faith to the point of seeing Him, knowing Him, in the midst of their affliction.
Paul quotes a verse of this psalm in his letter to the Romans, which confirms this idea:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39 ESV
The purpose of the refining fire of affliction is to grow our faith, to come to the point where we know with confidence that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
How do you view God when your life comes crashing down on you?
Do you blame Him?
Do you wonder what you’ve done wrong?
Do you begin to doubt His existence?
Do you press hard into Him?
He loves you. He will never leave you or forsake you. But He will not leave you as you are and He will not allow you to deceive yourself.
The next time things go terribly wrong, remember His love. Remind yourself He wants to reveal what’s hidden in your heart that keeps you from drawing closer to Him, from seeing Him. He doesn’t want you to just know about His love for you secondhand, through hearsay. He wants you to see it, experience it, for yourself.
Yes, it can be confusing when your world is rocked by grief. But know His love for you is steadfast and immovable.
Father God, have I only heard about You? or have I seen You?
I want to know You intimately. In the midst of devastating confusion,
bless me with the faith to see and know Your love for me.

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