Psalm 44

For the Chief Musician. By the sons of Korah. A contemplative psalm.
1 We have heard with our ears, God; our fathers have told us, what work you did in their days, in the days of old. 2 You drove out the nations with your hand, but you planted them. You afflicted the peoples, but you spread them abroad. 3 For they didn’t get the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them; but your right hand, and your arm, and the light of your face, because you were favorable to them. 4 You are my King, God. Command victories for Jacob! 5 Through you, will we push down our adversaries. Through your name, will we tread them under who rise up against us. 6 For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. 7 But you have saved us from our adversaries, and have shamed those who hate us. 8 In God we have made our boast all day long, we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah. 9 But now you rejected us, and brought us to dishonor, and don’t go out with our armies. 10 You make us turn back from the adversary. Those who hate us take plunder for themselves. 11 You have made us like sheep for food, and have scattered us amongst the nations. 12 You sell your people for nothing, and have gained nothing from their sale. 13 You make us a reproach to our neighbors, a scoffing and a derision to those who are around us. 14 You make us a byword amongst the nations, a shaking of the head amongst the peoples. 15 All day long my dishonor is before me, and shame covers my face, 16 At the taunt of one who reproaches and verbally abuses, because of the enemy and the avenger. 17 All this has come on us, yet have we not forgotten you, neither have we been false to your covenant. 18 Our heart has not turned back, neither have our steps strayed from your path, 19 though you have crushed us in the haunt of jackals, and covered us with the shadow of death. 20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, or spread out our hands to a strange god; 21 won’t God search this out? For he knows the secrets of the heart. 22 Yes, for your sake we are killed all day long. We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter. 23 Wake up! Why do you sleep, Lord? Arise! Don’t reject us forever. 24 Why do you hide your face, and forget our affliction and our oppression? 25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust. Our body clings to the earth. 26 Rise up to help us. Redeem us for your loving kindness’ sake.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–8

Former experiences of God’s power and goodness are strong supports to faith, and powerful pleas in prayer under present calamities. The many victories Israel obtained, were not by their own strength or merit, but by God’s favour and free grace. The less praise this allows us, the more comfort it affords, that we may see all as coming from the favour of God. He fought for Israel, else they had fought in vain. This is applicable to the planting of the Christian church in the world, which was not by any human policy or power. Christ, by his Spirit, went forth conquering and to conquer; and he that planted a church for himself in the world, will support it by the same power and goodness. They trusted and triumphed in and through him. Let him that glories, glory in the Lord. But if they have the comfort of his name, let them give unto him the glory due unto it.

Verses 9–16

The believer must have times of temptation, affliction, and discouragement; the church must have seasons of persecution. At such times the people of God will be ready to fear that he has cast them off, and that his name and truth will be dishonoured. But they should look above the instruments of their trouble, to God, well knowing that their worst enemies have no power against them, but what is permitted from above.

Verses 17–26

In afflictions, we must not seek relief by any sinful compliance; but should continually meditate on the truth, purity, and knowledge of our heart-searching God. Hearts sins and secret sins are known to God, and must be reckoned for. He knows the secret of the heart, therefore judges of the words and actions. While our troubles do not drive us from our duty to God, we should not suffer them to drive us from our comfort in God. Let us take care that prosperity and ease do not render us careless and lukewarm. The church of God cannot be prevailed on by persecution to forget God; the believer’s heart does not turn back from God. The Spirit of prophecy had reference to those who suffered unto death, for the testimony of Christ. Observe the pleas used, ver. #(25, 26). Not their own merit and righteousness, but the poor sinner’s pleas. None that belong to Christ shall be cast off, but every one of them shall be saved, and that for ever. The mercy of God, purchased, promised, and constantly flowing forth, and offered to believers, does away every doubt arising from our sins; while we pray in faith, Redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.

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