ODJ: big shoulders

January 19, 2015 

READ: Psalm 44:1-26 

For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep (v.22).

The Bible is not propaganda. Unlike some governments that share only positive reviews, Scripture records the words of people who are frustrated with God. Psalm 44 begins by remembering conquests that inspire trust in Him. “O God . . . our ancestors have told us of all you did in their day. . . . You crushed their enemies and set our ancestors free” (vv.1-2). The psalmist concluded, “You are my King and my God” (v.4).

But something had gone wrong. The psalmist complained that God no longer defended His people: “You have butchered us like sheep and scattered us among the nations. You sold your precious people for a pittance” (vv.11-12). The reader assumes that Israel must be guilty of some sin against God, such as idolatry. But the psalmist says no. “All this has happened though we have not forgotten you. We have not violated your covenant” (v.17).

What’s going on? The psalm concludes by imploring God to wake up and rescue His people, because “for your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep” (v.22). God inspired the descendants of Korah to write this lament, then left it unresolved for a thousand years. Its anguished cry gave generations of God’s children a model for the way to respond when they felt they’d been wrongly treated. Even Jesus encouraged us to keep knocking (Matthew 7:7-11).

It’s appropriate that Jesus weighed in, for His resurrection finally resolved this lament. Paul quoted Psalm 44 in Romans 8:36-39, declaring that though “we are killed every day,” nothing—not even death—can separate us from the love of Jesus. God’s love is stronger than death, and it’s strong enough to bear our lament. Cry out to God; He has big shoulders. —Mike Wittmer

365-day plan› Genesis 29:14-30

Read Job 3:1-26 to see a first-class lament. 
Do you think God is letting you down? Tell Him about it, and then worship Him for who He is.