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WHEN GOD DOESN’T COME TO OUR RESCUE (PSALM 44)

SOMETIMES OUR MERCIFUL LORD

IS SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND

JohnTheBaptist

GOD HAD CALLED JOHN THE BAPTIST FOR A GRAND PURPOSE..

WHEN HE WAS STILL IN HIS MOTHER’S WOMB HE LEAPED FOR JOY UPON RECOGNIZING JESUS IN MARY’S WOMB.

maryandelizabeth1-500x370HIS WHOLE LIFE WAS DEDICATED TO THE MESSIAH

TO PREPARE THE WAY FOR HIM

HE BAPTIZED AND PREACHED REPENTANCE

WITHOUT FEAR OF THE POWERFUL PHARISEES

quote-o-generation-of-vipers-who-hath-warned-you-to-flee-from-the-wrath-to-come-bible-303531

.HE GLORIFIED HIS LORD, CRYING:

BEHOLD, THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD,

HE KNEW HIS PLACE, SAYING:

HIS SANDALS I AM NOT WORTHY TO UNTIE

I MUST DECREASE BUT HE MUST INCREASE.

HE SAW WONDROUS THINGS:

HEAVEN OPEN AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD DESCEND LIKE A DOVE.

SPIRITOFGOD

THEN HE HEARD GOD SAY OF THIS ONE:

THIS IS MY BELOVED SON IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED. 

JOHN KNEW JESUS WAS THE ONE.

WE ALSO KNOW THAT GOD WAS PLEASED WITH JOHN,

FOR JESUS SAID:

NO MAN BORN OF WOMAN IS GREATER THAN JOHN THE BAPTIST.

YET, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO JOHN:

“Herod the Tetrarch, who had been rebuked by him [John the Baptist] because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done, added to them all by shutting up John in prison.” (Luke 3:19-20)

An even more horrible fate awaits John, for the daughter of Herodias will dance, Herod will promise her half his Kingdom, and her mother will have her ask instead for the head of John on a platter. Understandably, John is confused. Was Jesus not sent to deliver His children from evil? So he sends word to Jesus:

Are you the one who was to come, or should we look for another?

(Matthew 11:3)

After all the exciting evidences, now it seems like God is sleeping.

This is the mood of Psalm 44.

OXYGEN Volume 09
AWAKE! WHY ARE YOU SLEEPING, O LORD? (Psalm 44:25)

I have often said that the “psalms are bi-polar,” meaning there are great highs and great lows, for that is how life is.

The psalms are bi-polar
The psalms are bi-polar

In this psalm we have both, back to back, beginning with a high, and ending with a low. And God allows us to be honest, to “end with a low,” because that is how we are really feeling. Each of us have had times when it felt like God did not come to our rescue. And sometimes, on earth, HIS BEST die terrible deaths. When Jesus answered John in prison, He pointed to the evidences that He was indeed the Messiah. He doesn’t deliver us from this present age, but oh, He does deliver us. We have something the psalmist and John the Baptist did not have that helps us realize that Jesus came for every generation — not just one. And that one day, this earthly suffering will seem so small.

risenhir

 I remember a few weeks ago a few of you wrote that your sacrifice of weeping is to be content where you are in hard circumstances right now AND NOT TRY TO ESCAPE. I thought that was beautiful, and I think Psalm 44 will minister to you. You can be honest with God, and He will find a way to give you comfort and hope, despite the difficulties you are living right now. And remember:

eyehasnotseendream-contest-backgrounds-for-powerpoint

SUNDAY: ICE-BREAKER

1. What stood out to you from the above, and why?

2. Is there an area where you are looking for rescue, but God seems silent?

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY

Here is Psalm 44 sung in Hebrew, but with English sub-titles. It will prepare you for this study. (Please copy and paste in your browser. I found this too late to get tech help!)

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=songs+of+lament+youtube+psalm+44&FORM=VIRE3#view=detail&mid=FB266AD36B5566082971FB266AD36B5566082971

3. Read Psalm 44:1-8 and describe the mood and the thankfulness for past rescues.

4. Share one way God has rescued you in the recent past.

5. Read Psalm 44:9-16 and describe the mood and the phrases that point to a lack of rescue.

6. How can you see Jesus in the above passage?

7. Read Psalm 44:17-22 and describe why this lack of rescue is particularly confusing.

8. Read Psalm 44:23-26. What phrases of lament strike you and why?

THURSDAY-FRIDAY SERMON

9. I FOUND THIS JEWEL OF A SERMON ON PSALM 44. LISTEN AND SHARE YOUR NOTES AND THOUGHTS:

https://refopc.org/2012/08/psalm-441-26-why-have-you-broken-us/

10. Having listened to this sermon, how might you pray this psalm in your circumstances right now — or how might you pray it for the persecuted Christians?

 

SATURDAY

11. What is your take-a-way and why?

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324 comments

  1. 5.  Read Psalm 44:9-16 and describe the mood and the phrases that point to a lack of rescue.   Oh my goodness.  The mood is dark and desolate.  Interestingly, I still see the Psalmists’ bowing to the sovereignty of God throughout.  Very Job like.  “You have rejected and disgraced us, not gone out with our armies, made us turn back from the foe, those who hate us have gotten the spoil, like sheep for the slaughter, scattered among the nations, sold for a trifle, the taunt of our neighbors, derision and scorn of those around us, a byword, a laughingstock, disgraced and shamed.”  Seen like this, I’m thinking of the old phrase “say what you REALLY think!”.    This is quite a litany of woes.  Oh, this sorrow runs deep. 
     
    6.  How can you see Jesus in the above passage?   Jesus, the perfect lamb of God – “like sheep for slaughter”.  Jesus was rejected and disgraced, he willingly turned back from the foe (telling his torturers that they would have no power over him but that such was given them by God), he suffered taunts (“he saved others, let him save himself”), derision and scorn.  Could it be that the perfect lamb of God experienced SHAME and DISGRACE????  BECAUSE OF OUR SIN?  “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”……the Lord God preserved these excruciating words of Jesus for all of us through the ages in His Holy Word.  He wants us surely to ponder and reflect upon the agony, the abandonment, the cost of our redemption.  Sobering, shattering and marvelous words of life. 

  2. 3. Read Psalm 44:1-8 and describe the mood and the thankfulness for past rescues.
     
    He reflects on the Lord’s faithfulness throughout history. He was, He is, and He forever will be the King, the One who saves. He reflects that God was their King, and now “You are my King” (v.4). God is unchanging, forever reigning. I love v. 6 “For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me.” I do not trust in my thoughts—my attempts to “make things better’ or fend off the Enemy. My own sword cannot save me. But God’s Word does save me-“ The Lord will fulfill His purposes for me; Your Steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands” (psalm 138:8), and I know, He will not—He will never forsake me, the work of His hands.
     
    4. Share one way God has rescued you in the recent past.
    Oh, I needed this question before #2! 🙂
    Yes, He has been incredibly gracious to me. Children after years of infertility… probably most profoundly in my marriage. I do not want to “boast” because it is not mine, but so clearly His work. And the true, real painful past He rescued us from is a miracle. What I share now with my husband is the greatest earthly gift I have, and I am so thankful for the daily reminder it is to me of what He can do. OOPS—just re-read (bad about reading closely sometimes!) and you said “recent past”—so I will say there have been health scares that did not manifest the way even doctors hinted at…and really just daily, He rescues me. I loved Wanda’s example! I’ve worked in Church finances for the last 15 years—and OH the number of mistakes, and it is such a sticky sticky area–not where you want to make mistakes often! But the Lord has been gracious and it always works out–and now there is a “funny’ peace that I know, I trust, He will always work it out. 
     

  3. 3. Read Psalm 44:1-8 and describe the mood and the thankfulness for past rescues.
     
    Oh my my my!  vs 1 is hitting home: “O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old:” I KNOW some of God’s work in my mom’s heart and what she shared about her grandfather. On my dad’s side of the family, I am WAY more aware of religious involvement for generations and some of the morals, but haven’t heard quite as much about heart changes (some of that may be because of my age when my dad died). GOD HAS RESCUED ME — but I don’t talk about it much. Convicting.
     
     
    Back to the question: The psalmist is pointing out some very big rescues. Thankfulness is the result of focusing on God and his faithfulness throughout history.
     
    4. Share one way God has rescued you in the recent past.   Well, this one will be vague, but it’s pretty major 🙂  A few days ago, I was interacting with someone who seemed defensive and then erred in his work.  Although I didn’t point out the problem, I also didn’t lavish praise on him.  He realized the problem himself and then blamed me!!  In the past, I either would have completely beat myself up or become defensive.  God rescued me in through the words he gave me at the time and work in my heart since.  Instead, this situation became an opportunity for self-examination and wondering how God will use this.  In addition, I am not afraid of or defensive about talking with this person again.  During the past couple of years, I have “beat up” enough that I’ve been too quick to either withdraw or become defensive.  BUT GOD stepped in and interrupted that cycle 🙂   And I wouldn’t even have realized it if it weren’t for this question.  (Thanks, Dee!).  Certainly, God deserves praise and thanksgiving for who He is and what He has done.  AND praising and thanking him changes my perspective, too.

    1. Renee–your #4 is really convicting! Defensiveness is one of my defaults–what a rescue-story–inspiring!!

  4. 5. Read Psalm 44:9-16 and describe the mood and the phrases that point to a lack of rescue.   
     
    Well, this is quite a depressing contrast to the first part of the chapter.  The passage is FULL of phrases that point to lack of rescue:  “You have …. rejected us, disgraced us, have not gone out with our armies, have made us turn back, made us like sheep for slaughter, scattered us among the nations, sold your people for a trifle, made us the taunt of our neighbors, the derision and scorn of those around us, made us a byword, a laughingstock …”
     
    And the psalmist feels shame.
     
    6. How can you see Jesus in the above passage?   This passage reminds of me of the following verses:
     

    He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Is 53:3
     
    He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. Is 53:7 (quoted in Acts 8)
    Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. (Matthew 26:14-15 ESV)
     

    This puts what we have been studying during the past weeks into perspective … All of John 15 is powerful, both encouraging and sobering. When/if I am rejected and disgraced, I want it to be for following Jesus — not because I’m obnoxious. Sometimes I turn obnoxious when the situation started out because I was following Jesus, but didn’t continue to abide in Him.

    1. Isaiah 53 rang loud and clear to me as well, Renee…….but I am now stirred by the verses from Matthew about betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver…..what a pittance and an insult.  

  5. Took the time to read all comments.  It is time-consuming, but so worth it.  Each of you bring a different perspective to the questions and God uses those differences in different lives.  As a teacher I had to meet each child where he or she was on any given day.  I could not do that, but God could, through others the students had contact with.  Such is the way of this blog.  Don’t forget that each of you is reaching one of us at the least.  Likewise, as a teacher, I did not fill obligated to teach each student in their preferred method daily.  Never would have accomplished the curriculum.  So, while I read and pray, I may not be led to respond to each of you.  I let God lead me on that.

    1. So true Shirley! Thank you for reminding me of this 🙂

      1. Sorry, I meant Sherryl :/

  6. Psalms 44:9-16 – It is an acknowledgment that God has allowed all types of afflictions to impact His people. I do not like being the target of injustices, demeaning talk, or suffer at the hands of others, but again, I must agree with God that these situations make me aware of my need of Him.  Without the reminders, would I remember God?  Would I bring Him glory and honor?  Would I effectively lead others to Him.  Probably not.  So, if my goal is to be used by Him, then I must accept what is necessary to keep me focused on Him, following Him.  I don’t have to like it, but I do need to understand its usefulness in my walk for Christ.

  7. SUNDAY: ICE-BREAKER
     
    1. What stood out to you from the above, and why?
    John didn’t understand what GOD was doing. This man recognized the Messiah. Recognized truth and could see a sincere person and a false person. Yet, he didn’t know Gods plan and was confused even questioned what he already knew and declared-Jesus was messiah. Now he’s asking Jesus are you He?? He was confused. And to die so pointlessly. John this great man, the prophesied Elijah returned. Elijah the man who went to heaven in a chariot of fire now being beheaded because of a promise made to a little dancing girl? Was it Gods plan for John the Baptist to die this way?
     
    2. Is there an area where you are looking for rescue, but God seems silent? Yes

  8. 3. Read Psalm 44:1-8 and describe the mood and the thankfulness for past rescues.
     
    The psalmist describes with gratitude and love how God has protected and rescued his ancestors  (“our father have told us”)   I am thinking that he is referring to his forefathers settling into the land of Canaan (the promised land).   They were told to drive out anyone who was wicked and opposed to God, as they settled the land.    Some of the victories in battle were pretty amazing (the falling of the walls of Jericho, for instance).   The psalmist says, “It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory;  it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.”    He could just feel the love of God in the story as it had been handed down by previous generations. 

    4. Share one way God has rescued you in the recent past.       I recently told about my husband falling in the shopping mall.   I think we were rescued in that event, first of all by his not breaking any bones; and then by two women shoppers who began first aid on him, and then the security guards who showed up to take over, and then the EMS paramedics who transported him to the hospital, and finally the ER staff who treated him.   God sent help from all points!!

    1. Oh Deanna!  We were typing in the very same moments, of the love of God expressed in verse 3!   What great bonding is this place of fellowship!

  9. Before I move to vs. 9-16, I just want to say how vs. 3 has stirred my heart this morning.   “It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory;  It was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.”    We’ve talked about the Lord’s right hand and how that imagery is used in so many ways in scripture.  And here it is again.  But what strikes me so deeply is this;  ‘the light of your face, for you loved them.’.    Oh how God delivers us from our burdens lovingly and personally.  It’s not just about His mighty power.  It’s about His tender love.  I don’t remember ever pondering this verse before and it captivates me.  His face lightens, His countenance shines with the love He has for us.  Boundless is His love and tender mercies.  

    1. Right hand again!

      1. Laura…..I thought of you when I read it!

  10. 5. Read Psalm 44:9-16 and describe the mood and the phrases that point to a lack of rescue.
     
    The psalmist is thoroughly discouraged because God who had been so good to his people, now is refusing to come to their rescue. God seems to have gone to sleep, to have turned his back on his people.   The psalmist uses words like “rejected,” “made us retreat,” “you gave us up to be devoured,” “you sold your people for a pittance,” “you have made us a reproach to our neighbors,” and “a byword among the nations.”    
     
    6. How can you see Jesus in the above passage?
     
    It reminds me of the story of the disciples out in the boat during a storm, and they become frantic because Jesus seems to be sleeping through it all and not caring if they survive or not.   
     
    But also, I can  see all of the above phrases in the answer to question #5 describing Jesus on the cross, feeling forsaken by God.   
     
    7. Read Psalm 44:17-22 and describe why this lack of rescue is particularly confusing.
     
    It is confusing from two standpoints.  One is that God had been so attentive to the needs of the psalmist’s forefathers – rescuing them and giving them victory in their battles.   The second reason is that the psalmist felt they were undeserving of the present treatment.   He says they had not forgotten God and had not been false to their covenant with God.   It isn’t like they had been worshiping foreign gods.   
      
     
    8. Read Psalm 44:23-26. What phrases of lament strike you and why?
     
    “Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  “We are brought down to the dust.”   It really can’t get much more pathetic than that!    
     
    I think it is of note that the psalmist probably does not really believe God has turned on his people or that God has gone to sleep.    If he did, he probably wouldn’t have prefaced his laments with a recitation of all the good things God had done for his people.

  11. 7.  Read Psalm 44:17-22 and describe why this lack of rescue is particularly confusing.    I’m thinking here of the tie – in to the first verses of this chapter.  The Psalmist noted that they have heard and have listened to what their fathers told them.  Their fathers had told them of the many mighty deeds of the Lord for his people.  But they ALSO must have heard about all that Moses, in particular, exhorted the people before they entered the promised land….time and time again he linked their obedience to God’s blessing.  In Deuteronomy 30:15&16, Moses says to the people “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.  If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply and the Lord you God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.”   Over and over again, in many different passages, the people heard these exhortations to obey – and be blessed.  This very connection between obedience and blessing had been handed down for generations.  And they are mystified – they said “we have not forgotten you, we have not been false to your covenant, our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way…..”   They are finding it hard to see through the fog and find God’s promised covenant love and faithfulness as they number the agonies they are experiencing.  It just doesn’t make sense to them in light of all they had been taught all of their lives.  After all, they had heard about the people of Israel after the exodus from Egypt …..and when things went badly for them – there was always sin in the camp to be exposed and judged.  This  place they are finding themselves seems like a bend in the road that doesn’t fit the story. 
     
    I was thinking that, even though we have all of the Scriptures to ponder and study…and the precious indwelling Holy Spirit to teach and direct and comfort….we STILL sometimes feel so abandoned, so hurt that we are seeking God with all of our heart and longing to live in fellowship with Him….and yet, as the troubles roll in wave upon wave and just flatten us – we find it hard to find the “blessing” in the moments.  How much more so the Psalmist…..for whom Christ was yet a distant promised Messiah?? 

  12.  
    I just came across an article by Dan Allender on Psalm 44 and lament. I thought it was worth sharing: http://www.leaderu.com/marshill/mhr01/lament1.html
    “Christians seldom sing in the minor key. We fear the somber; we seem to hold sorrow in low-esteem. We seem predisposed to fear lament as a quick slide into doubt and despair; failing to see that doubt and despair are the dark soil that is necessary to grow confidence and joy.
    Consider how many times you have heard another person encourage a struggling believer (perhaps, you): “It doesn’t help to get upset, you simply need to trust the Lord.” The assumption is that trust precludes struggle; faith erases doubt; hope removes despair. Therefore, lament is unnecessary if one trusts, loves, and obeys God.
    Sadly, we have misunderstood the great value of public and private lament. To lament-that is to cry out to God with our doubts, our incriminations of him and others, to bring a complaint against him-is the context for surrender. Surrender-the turning of our heart over to him, asking for mercy, and receiving his terms for restoration is-impossible without battle. To put it simply, it is inconceivable to surrender to God unless there is a prior, declared war against him…Not all anger at God is good, but an anger that moves the heart to confusion, to feeling trapped between our belief in him and our movement away from him, opens the heart to redemption.”

    1. Beautiful words here.  Clarity on a topic so misunderstood.

    2. Oh this was good Elizabth. The misunderstanding of a lament. The context of a surrender. 

    3. Elizabeth,  Thank you for this ~

    4. Elizabeth, Thank you!  SO good.  Will reread again later.  So much to ponder. I saw a whole bunch of quotable “sound bites” but didn’t want to turn it into that (yet, anyway).  Very rich article.

      1. glad you enjoyed it Liz, Wanda, Nila and I especially thought of you Renee–and Sherryl too I think had many of the same thoughts about lamenting last week.

    5. Thanks for sharing this, Elizabeth. I read this quote here yesterday and then again today. Now I am going to the link with the larger article. Much of what Allender says resonates with me. I sometimes find it so hard to relate to people who do not seem to lament and interpret my lament as lack of faith. Much to ponder here. I have also started rereading Brennan Manning’s “Ruthless Trust” and will see what he has to say on similar issues. I know he struggled with doubt and seemed to come through the other side.

    6. Elizabeth – thank you so much for this insightful article. I really didn’t think I “had time” to read it, but somehow did…and it is SO good!

  13. 5. Read Psalm 44:9-16 and describe the mood and the phrases that point to a lack of rescue.
     
    Rejection, fear; taunting; abandonment, led to be slaughtered—this is a painful read! We have been told we will suffer, even for doing good. Paul quotes this Psalm in Rom. 8:26 “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” There is such despair, and the only hope I find is in an eternal perspective—this is not home, it will not feel like home, but we do have a home that awaits. The journey though—oh. 
     
    6. How can you see Jesus in the above passage?
     
    Jesus faced the ultimate rejection, the ultimate abandonment, the ultimate taunting—and was the only innocent Lamb, slaughtered, in our place. 
     
    7. Read Psalm 44:17-22 and describe why this lack of rescue is particularly confusing.
     
    They have been faithful, they have not forgotten the Lord, yet they are suffering persecution. Like Job, their faith has been tested by fire. 
      
    8. Read Psalm 44:23-26. What phrases of lament strike you and why?
     
    Two words strike me most. “Awake” and “why”. I am not patient. And passivity can cause ugly irritation in me. So I relate to the command “awake”. I don’t know that I feel “brave” enough to command it of the Lord, but I have felt an urgency to see Him move. Maybe my way of saying “awake” is to try to stir the pot myself and make something happen! Then of course “why” gets to my core. There is much about suffering I don’t understand. I think I can only go back to Keller’s teachings on what it does NOT mean—it does not mean that He doesn’t care, He proved that already. It is not punishment, He took care of that already. Still the why’s are so hard. I am thankful though, that in His goodness, He doesn’t waste the pain. That helps me too. To know that something good, refinement, faith-strengthening, something of eternal value will come from it, if I let Him hold me in it.
     

    1. Dee. I will be praying. I honestly struggle with it. I want the Bible Study and I want to interact and love thehearts here. I do not want to give this up as when I came on I felt it was a rescue for the topic you were sharing on Emotional Abuse. I have enjoyed the otherstudies since but really need to pray about how I move forward. I pray no one take what I am saying the wrong way. I have never participated in Face Book as I knew I could not take the time to be on there and sometimes I felt people would post things and hope to get responses and sometimes though they would never say it if a response was not given that hurt them or if many were given it would “build them up” I honestly do not need anyone to respond to even this post my prayer is that I am not offending anyone as that is. Not my intention in am just sharing my struggle which has been inside of me for awhile here, I am a prayer warrior and even today had many needs being lifted in prayer and I praise God for my blog friendships of sorts, I know you really do not even know me but I have had glimpses of women her from all walks of life with the same goal in mind. We want to grow in Christ. Lord I pray wisdoom and direction for Dee I pray the time we spend her is less on reading each others comments and more on seeking YOU!

    2. Dee, as I recall, every so often we have this problem on the blog. It’s like it comes in cycles or waves. I think it might be because we have new people who join us, and just as we all do, they feel like they need to read and respond to every post. I realized a long time ago that I just don’t have the time to do that but wish I did! Everyone has so much to offer here! That’s why the fb page came to “be.” I don’t even have time to go look there sometimes! So, I think each one needs to understand this about the blog…..we can only do so much. The important thing is to do the study. Comment if you can to others that resonate with you. I do miss some things and that is a bummer; it is all I can do for now. Thanks for being so faithful to us 🙂

      1. Laura, you expressed this well…it does seem like there are “cycles or waves” when there are tons of comments…often at Advent, for example. There are times when I can go through and read everyone’s comments, and some weeks, I just “skim” and read a few and reply when I feel led. But this is true for each of us, at various times, that we may be only able to do so much…but the important focus is the study (for our own personal time with Him and getting to know Him better).

  14. Dee – are you meaning the comments that aren’t necessarily answering the specific questions?  Just wondering….maybe we need a week of disciplined “answer the questions and only the questions”??  Some of the caring and sharing could easily go over to the prayer page on Facebook – but not everyone desires to be on Facebook.  ?? 
     

      1. Sometimes (actually MOST of the time) I really am just posting answers to questions but people see my answer and say “I’m praying about that for you, Mary” which I SOOO appreciate but I hate that it’s a distraction from the study because that is definitely not my intent.  It’s just that, with some questions, like “Is there an area where you are looking for rescue right now?” obviously that will generate responses that are also prayer needs and people will want to express concern, otherwise you feel like you are being kind of heartless. I will pray that God will help you with wisdom and insight in handling this, Dee.

        1. I think Mary makes a good point here–her thoughts on blog thoughts/responses. Some of the more heart-piercing questions (which are great) lead to heart-felt answers (which is also great!) that generate a response, because, we all really do care for each other, and that’s a gift! Maybe those questions could be “answer on your own”–but then I know the reason we feel so close here and “real” is that we do share deep. Sometimes I wish it wasn’t all so public though. And I always “subscribe” to comments coming in my email–because I hate to miss one, and at least can pray if I can’t respond..sorry rambling…
          ok, still praying for wisdom for you Dee 🙂

        2. I’d have to agree with Mary and Eliizabeth.  (Hey….didn’t we see a picture of them earlier on this blog? …. sorry couldn’t resist that one.)   It would seem disingenuous to ponder heartfelt questions about ourselves, if we didn’t also lend words of support to others.  I’ve been kinda tossing this around in my mind for the last 24 hours too.  I do kinda think shorter studies per week would make it easier to keep up with both the study and the interactions…..but I realize that slows down the whole pace considerably, which may be hard for Dee.  I also wish it weren’t so public, but have no thoughts about how it could work any other way……

  15. 6. How can you see Jesus in the above passage?   Jesus was lauded when he rode through Jerusalem at Passover.  The people treated Him as a conquering King.  Much like the praise given to God in verses 1-8.
     
    And then it all changed.
     
    Just as in verse 9-16, we see the antithesis of vs. 1-8…..so it was with Jesus.  As Isaiah prophesied, so it came to pass.  “He was despised and rejected…esteemed not……stricken by God and afflicted…..pierced, crushed, wounded….truly He was a man of sorrows and grief…..and all that He suffered, was so He could take our punishment and bring us peace.  
     
    For us….the straying sheep who went our own way, He became like a sheep led to slaughter and did not retaliate, complain or resist.    For us straying sheep, the Great Shepherd, the Conquering King became the Lamb of God.  And on the cross, He was truly abandoned…..so that we would never be.

  16. 5. Read Psalm 44:9-16 and describe the mood and the phrases that point to a lack of rescue.     In a nutshell, the Psalmist and his people feel disregarded, abandoned and actually actively scorned and wounded.  They feel rejected and humbled.  To be humbled can be a good thing, with good results.  But being rejected, is one of the worst feelings of all.   They feel that God doesn’t go with them anymore to battle.  He has allowed (or caused?) their enemies to win the battle, gain the spoils and enslave them.   They are disgraced, scorned, shamed, taunted, reproached, reviled and derided.  And have become a ‘byword’ among the nations.   Hmmm.  ‘byword’….I don’t have an exact definition yet but saw it used in three renditions.  NASB follows with ‘laughingstock’ and NIV and Amplified follow with “the people shake their heads”.  Sounds like a people whose honor and credibility have been completely stripped from them.

    1. ‘Byword’ means an outstanding example, notorious, the embodiment of something.  It seems they became the ‘poster children’ of shame and disgrace.

  17. 3. Read Psalm 44:1-8 and describe the mood and the thankfulness for past rescues.
     
    I believe the psalmist feels strong and confident. Confessing the victories of past. Something that did stick out to me was that he’s not speaking from personal experience but trusting in everything he has been told about God. Sometimes we have to see God move for us on a personal level to truly trust and sometimes we can walk out the legacy of our parents or forefathers. 
     
    4. Share one way God has rescued you in the recent past.  
     
    I had a boss who didn’t want me to have my bible at work . She also began complaining about me to our headquarters. I started to feel worried about losing my job. Just by chance my bosses manager stopped in to pick something up and I had an opportunity to talk with her about how I was feeling. Which was worried about losing my job. I asked her if moving locations was an option for me. She took some notes and left. A couple weeks later my boss was demoted and moved to another location. What I was told was that she was discriminating against me and that was the reason for her demotion. I couldn’t believe it actually know one could believe it. I was totally The Lord rescuing me

    1. Nicole–what an amazing rescue–and also what a testimony to your boldness in your faith–wow! That is a wonderful “stone of remembrance’ for you to reflect back on

      1. Thank you Elizabeth!!

    2. Nicole, love your rescue story! Wow. 

  18. 5. Read Psalm 44:9-16 and describe the mood and the phrases that point to a lack of rescue.
     
    I think the psalmist sounds lost and despairing .  I think all the verses from 9-16 point to a lack of rescue.  In verses 11-12 I hear complete helplessness. They’re weak and without any help. What a scary thing to be in the middle of a battle. But I think it’s much much worst to be conquered or enslaved . That has to feel like complete abandonment. Which is what’s happening in ver. 11-12
     
    I’m not sure when this psalm was written but through out the bible the people where falling in and out of sin. God was always trying to get their attention. I heard someone say once its a scary thing to find yourself in the hands of the Almighty. I’m not sure what they meant exactly but to go through a war and see the power God gives to men is scary and that power is small in comparison to the power of God. I think this weeks psalm is going to be a little hard for me because where do we draw the line? Was the hardship because of the people’s sin, the devils persecution or the will of God?? And how should we determine hardship in our own lives? 
     

    1. Thank you, I really need to hear that.

  19. 2. Is there an area where you are looking for rescue, but God seems silent? I got stuck on this question. Have been away from the blog pondering for a couple of days. My initial response was yes, God does seem silent in those areas I desire rescue. Yet now that I have sat and pondered I realize that the Lord is not silent He has just answered with something that doesn’t look like rescue. He has called me to long suffering. He has not offered any “answers.” But I realized that the rescue is not in the “answer” or “resolution” right now. The rescue is in the long suffering WITH HIM. A couple of situations He assures me that it will just be a long hard road (through thick gumbo mud) but that He is faithful and my purpose is to keep walking, keep seeking. In one situation, though, all I can do is cry out to The Lord, I do not see resolution possible (O ye of little faith) on this side of earth…but there is nothing I can do but long suffer and that is His “rescue” … For now. 

  20. 7. Read Psalm 44:17-22 and describe why this lack of rescue is particularly confusing.
     
    Because they had been faithful; they had continued to seek God and yet were going through terrible suffering.   WOW!  This will sound a little crazy, but I find these verses SO encouraging.  Suffering doesn’t imply that I am doing something wrong or that God has abandoned me.  I’ve been heavily influenced by a culture that Keller described as “moralistic.”  Pondering now:  Should  (or when should) I reach a point at which I quit “looking for answers?”  On the other hand, a lot of questions are asked in the psalms…

  21. Discover the Word has such pertinent programs this week to our bible study here.      
     
    http://discovertheword.org/

    1. I never heard discover the word before. It was very good. thanks for sharing 

    2. Nila–I sometimes catch Discover the Word on the radio and it is so good–thank you for this link! I noticed they have a free downloadable booklet called “Out of the Ashes–God’s presence in Job’s Pain” by Bill Crowder. I just read through it and it was great!!
      http://web001.rbc.org/pdf/discovery-series/out-of-the-ashes.pdf

  22. 8. Read Psalm 44:23-26. What phrases of lament strike you and why?
     
     
    Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?” This strikes me because it is SO BOLD that I raised my eyebrows and almost laughed. That boldness reveals the extent of their feelings of desperation.
    But in the next verse the deep, deep pain and sense of abandonment is so evident that I feel it: “Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?”  This stands out because the thought of God forgetting about me/my pain is more than I can handle (so I’m moving on to what else strikes me).  “Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!”  Throughout, in spite of, because of all the pain, the author clings to and bases his request on God’s steadfast love.  He continues to press himself into God and remind himself and God of God’s own character — his steadfast love.  Even when he laments “Why do you forget…?”, his persistence demonstrates he trusts God.  This seems to be one of those “where else would I go?” times.

  23. Psalm 44:17-22 – An acknowledgment that God knows what is in the hearts of His people, knows what His people are experiencing.  Psalm 44: 23-26 – A demand that God make Himself known.  Perhaps the real issue in these two passages is the awareness of the people of God that He knows and understands what is happening.  This brings comfort and hope.  Yet, as humans, the people of God reach their breaking point.  God knows what that is long before His people do, however, it is critical that His people understand that God will never allow them to endure what He has not provided them the tools needed for Him to be glorified through the situation they find themselves in. (I Cor 10:13)  As a result, it is the people who are actually arriving at the point in their life where they can acknowledge that it is God who brings their rescue.  It is imperative that God’s people understand how God works through their lives so they can then share the same with others.  

  24. 3. Read Psalm 44:1-8 and describe the mood and the thankfulness for past rescues.
    I think the psalmist is turning is soul to hope in God based on the testimonies from “the days of old” how God drove out their enemies before them
     
    4. Share one way God has rescued you in the recent past.
    I don’t know if it is for a short time or forever but I am so thankful for how He has rescued me from the severe pain I was first experiencing when this breast cancer recurred in the bones.  I know there are those who live with chronic, severe pain 24/7 and by God’s grace they still live in a place of praise and worship of Him and I know He can see me through whatever lies ahead…but for now I praise Him for this rescue for me.
     
    5. Read Psalm 44:9-16 and describe the mood and the phrases that point to a lack of rescue. 
    The mood seems to be confusion and despair at how God is dealing with them now…allowing the enemy to triumph over them, laugh at them, and the psalmist says they have not forsaken God and they have kept His covenant and yet He has not come to their rescue.  That reminds me of John the Baptist.
     
    6. How can you see Jesus in the above passage?
    I’m not sure what the right answer is for this but He certainly did no wrong and yet was mocked and God turned His back on Him on that cross..is that what you mean?
     
    7. Read Psalm 44:17-22 and describe why this lack of rescue is particularly confusing.
    It’s confusing because they were doing the “right” things…keeping His covenant not forgetting God, not deviating from His way. 
     
    8. Read Psalm 44:23-26. What phrases of lament strike you and why?

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    Verse 24. “Why dost Thou hide Thy face And forget our affliction and our oppression?”  It’s hard when you feel like you are doing right and truly seeking God in a particular and yet He seems silent.  You only want to hear from Him so that you can follow Him whole-heartedly and yet He seems to not speak.

    1. mary e.–praising Him with you that your physical pain has been lifted–and praying it is “forever”! I also really resonated with what you said at the end “You only want to hear from Him so that you can follow Him whole-heartedly’–yes–that’s it–I think what often brings the frustration or confusion when He is silent is that I only want to hear Him so I can follow…and that’s when I remind myself (again and again) that He’s really NOT asleep, He actually IS always at work–and His timing is best…hard though. 
       

      1. YES!  You are so right, Elizabeth and that is why it is so helpful to be sharpened and encouraged by each other.  “and that’s when I remind myself (again and again) that He’s really NOT asleep, He actually IS always at work–and His timing is best…hard though. “

  25. Okay, I have no clue what all that other gibberish is that appeared in my above answers.  I generally do not type my answers first in Word and then copy and paste them here but this time I did and this is what happened!

    1. Mary E., yes, it is Word that causes all that gibberish. When you copy from Word, be sure to “paste as plain text”. If you left click to paste, those words are below the word “paste”. Many of us here have had to learn that the hard way.

      1. Thanks, Diane!

  26. OOH Dee, you did find a ‘jewel of a sermon”!! This was the biggest “nugget” for me–
    9. I FOUND THIS JEWEL OF A SERMON ON PSALM 44. LISTEN AND SHARE YOUR NOTES AND THOUGHTS:
     
    No degree of suffering, of failure on my part, of persecution, of sorrow—can separate me from Christ’s love. The Ultimate Victory in Christ is secure for me. Sometimes God demonstrates His love for His people by granting us blessings…but often He demonstrates His love by ordaining for us to go without. In these greatest moments of pain and suffering, we are more keenly aware of our need for Him, and of His love for us. My suffering cannot drive God away, but it might compel me to draw nearer to Him. 
     
    It is acceptable, right, godly, to pray this Psalm. I can ask for Him to relieve the suffering. This Psalm is true of Christ and through faith in Him, becomes my psalm, as I share in His suffering and His innocence. 
     
    Often we get very few answers to our suffering and not the answers to the specific questions we have. Without knowing why, can I suffer well? One purpose behind my suffering is to tune my heart to Heaven. Deprivation makes me hungry. Am I just hungry for the suffering to be relieved, or is my true hunger for the perfect righteousness of the Lord, and my Home in Heaven If so, what suffering could possibly diminish that hunger? My craving for a life hid with Him—some suffering may help grow that type of faith. 
     

  27.  
    6. How can you see Jesus in the above passage?
     
    Just like the Psalmist Jesus stood firm in what he knew about GOD. Jesus did not allow HIS circumstances to affect what He knew about GOD. God is mighty and powerful and can and will deliver. Is Psalms 44 a prophetic scripture? As I read it over for this question I could see Jesus all over it. Yesterday I was reading it for the prospective of the Israelites and their history. But today I see this mirror of His life in these verses. God is so amazing!! My sweet JESUS how I love you, you are amazing above all men. I love you so dearly for all you’ve done and do. Keep me today and always and help me to remember that in my suffering you suffered also. And I to can overcome and walk in the power of the Holy spirit, breath fresh life on me. Thank you JESUS!!!
     

  28. 7. Read Psalm 44:17-22 and describe why this lack of rescue is particularly confusing.   At first read, it does seem confusing, but I think it should be a lot less confusing to us New Testament Christians than it was for the psalmist.  I say that because, Jesus promised that we would have trials ‘because of Him’.  The prosperity gospel falls apart in light of Jesus words and in light of the countless examples of people of faith who persevered under enormous trials.   Indeed, John the Baptist is one of them.   I find John’s story comforting.   That even he who was so prominently hand-picked by God to bear witness to His Son and be such a pivotal part of the plan of proclaiming the good news and preaching the kingdom of God could have doubts, helps me in mine.  It also helps me to read of the people in Psalm 44.  They had a strong heritage of faith as their ancestors had handed down wonderful stories of deliverance, they proclaimed God’s goodness and praised Him.  They remained true to the covenant and their hearts did not turn back from following Him.  In fact, as they clearly proclaim their faithfulness, they acknowledge that if they had forgotten the true God and followed other gods, they could not hide it from God Almighty.  He would know their hearts.  And in spite of this fidelity, God did not rescue them from their misery.  They were dishonored and defeated on every hand.  This encourages me because it tells me that I only need to know that my heart is following the Lord.  I need to acknowledge that there is no sin that I can hide from Him.  And if I am faithful to Him, I should spare myself from shame and guilt when trials come and I am not delivered from them.    It reminds me of the couple I heard on Moody Radio who shared their story of having two children who went down the dark road of drug abuse in spite of their nurturing Christian upbringing. One was delivered.  One died.  They made the comment that if we think that just because we do everything right as parents, all of our children will necessarily follow the Lord, we are subscribing to a works righteousness.   The rain falls on the just and the unjust.  And deliverance is all by grace.
     

  29.  
    6. How can you see Jesus in the above passage?
     
    Just like the Psalmist Jesus stood firm in what he knew about GOD. Jesus did not allow HIS circumstances affect what He knew about GOD. God is mighty and powerful and can and will deliver. Is Psalms 44 a prophetic scripture? As I read it over for this question I could see Jesus all over it. Yesterday I was reading it from the prospective of the Israelites and their history. But today I see this mirror of His life in these verses. God is so amazing!! My sweet JESUS how I love you, you are amazing above all men. I love you so dearly for all you’ve done and do. Keep me today and always and help me to remember that in my suffering you suffered also. And I to can overcome and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit breathe fresh life on me. Thank you JESUS!!!
     
    7. Read Psalm 44:17-22 and describe why this lack of rescue is particularly confusing.
     
    From the eyes of the psalmist he has been faithful. He and the people have done all God has asked. So a scripture from 1 John kept popping into my mind in 1 John 1:8 it says “If we say that we have no sin, we deceived ourselves, and the truth is not in us. In verse 18 the psalmist says “Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way; I think it sounds like the psalmist is saying he is true and God is not. Today when I was listening to Discover the Word a link Nila posted they spoke on Job and Peter and a challenge was going on in heaven and Job never pointed his finger back at God. When I’ve been through hardships I remember Job 40:4; Behold, I am vile: what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.” I’ve actually been in situations where I’ve physically covered my mouth. My best works are like filthy rags. I believe God knows best and no I don’t understand why I’m going through some things or why some beautiful believes go through some truly difficult things. But HE knows. So I have to have faith in that, keep my eyes on God (Psalms 42:5).   
     
    8. Read Psalm 44:23-26. What phrases of lament strike you and why?
    So we’ve heard this Psalm build, start with this beautiful remembrance of the past and then this story of hardship laid out for God to see. It sounded like a prayer I’ve prayed. I love to study scripture, I love digging into commentary and history. I love Proverbs and there practical wisdom, I love trying to understand Leviticus and Deuteronomy (Gods Laws). The parables of Jesus, Revelation, and Acts. Just recently I’ve found the Psalms to be very comforting, so human. They make me cry which I think I need. So the striking lament for me is verse 26. FOR YOUR MERCY’S SAKE AND BECAUSE OF YOUR STEADFAST LOVE. Oh Jesus, please come home to my heart how I love you keep me always.
     

  30. 8.  Read Psalm 44:22-26.  What phrases of lament strike you and why?    Like Elizabeth, I’m struck by the repetitive “whys” of this section of the Psalm.  “why, why, why???”   It seems that, from the time I was a youth, I have been subtly encouraged NOT to ever, ever question God!  Just trust and obey.  Trust and obey is great advice and I know that’s critical.  But the more I see God revealing Himself through the Scriptures, the more I  see the saints of old freely throwing themselves upon God’s mercy and crying out to him “Why?”.  The Psalms overflow with this question.  Certainly Job had questions…..Jeremiah (the weeping prophet!)…..and on and on it goes…..the very crucial distinction between “complaint” and “lament” applies here!  Lament will move me continually toward a faithful (though oh so mysterious) God.  Complaint is scary.  It moves me away from God and to the place eventually of writing him off in my life.  Oh, Abba, teach us all to lament in purity as we see in the Scriptures.  Keep us from any root of bitterness and complaint.  Through our lamenting, draw us near.  For Jesus, You have taught us ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ ”  We praise You today, God of all comfort.

    1. Jackie ~  amen.   Oh, Abba, teach us all to lament in purity as we see in the Scriptures.  Keep us from any root of bitterness and complaint.  Through our lamenting, draw us near.  For Jesus, You have taught us ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ ”  We praise You today, God of all comfort.

      1. I second that!! So good….

    2. Yes, that’s it, Jackie!   In the personal example I gave to answer this question, I was at a place of complaining.  It was actually a deliberate choice to go away from God……I was that angry with Him. And I RARELY lose hope or get angry like that.  It was a low, low point.  (and not very many years ago)   As every prayer I prayed (and shared with others to pray) not only went unanswered, but things went from bad to worse, I finally realized it was the last straw for me but I did not know how to lament.  So, I just stuck with the anger.   When I think back on it now, it seems critical to me, that our churches should be teaching the true lament.  In my decades of church going, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it explained like I have here.  

      1. Wanda – it was out of precisely that same kind of sequence of experience in my own life – somehow in a period of genuine grief, I moved into complaint and bitterness rather than beautiful lament to my faithful God.  “….it seems critical to me….that our churches should be teaching the true lament.” AMEN.  You and I are speaking the same language on this!! 

  31. A newly launched website, gospelcenteredwoman.com is well worth a look.  Wendy Alsup (Theology for Women) is involved in this. 

    1. Looks like a good website, Jackie. Thanks.

  32. 3. Read Psalm 44:1-8 and describe the mood and the thankfulness for past rescues. They remember the good things God has done – his deliverance of them, but with total recognition that it was His hand and their own that saved them. This is beautiful, “…for not be their won sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but Your right hand and Your arm, and the light of Your face, for You delighted in them.
     
    4. Share one way God has rescued you in the recent past. My oldest (7) and I butt heads a lot (we are very similar in our approval idols and knack for “discussion”). God has been convicting me that it is His kindness that leads me to repentance and so I have been praying to have gospel love for my children. To forgive “offenses” and keep moving toward them in love instead of withdrawing because of hurt or frustration. He is continually rescuing me because my heart is calm in Him but this last week after a particularly frustrating “moment” I just prayed again for that gospel love, for God to repair the rift, and for forgiveness between us for all these “little foxes.” And then I walked from the room, looked down the hall and my son was running by turned and gave me the biggest genuine smile and I returned it genuinely. It seems “small” but it was very significant as a year ago we would have stayed at odds the rest of the day.  God is moving and repairing things I damaged before He called me closer.
     
    5. Read Psalm 44:9-16 and describe the mood and the phrases that point to a lack of rescue. “You have rejected us” … “not gone our with our armies” … “made us turn back from the foe” … “made us like sheep for slaughter” … It goes gone to describe the assumed low value of themselves because of God’s lack of rescue. There is a definite sense of abandonment in these verses, a people who have suffered and still bear effects of shame and disgrace. I think we still suffer from this – to assume we no longer matter when God is silent. But He does delight in us.
     
    6. How can you see Jesus in the above passage? “… like sheep for slaughter…” definitely stands out. The whole passage describes Christ’s burden as He walked to the cross. He was rejected and disgraced, eventually even by God Christ was abandoned … for us. He suffered God’s no-rescue for us. Even now in current day Christ is taunted by many and disgraced through others words and actions, well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning. Christ was worth the highest price but was sold for nothing, in fact He paid our price to endure suffering.
    7. Read Psalm 44:17-22 and describe why this lack of rescue is particularly confusing.  The passage indicates that they have not sinned, not turned from God. In fact, it seems as though they are being true even though they are suffering “… Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long…”  They are standing up for their God but not seeing the “usual” protection and victory that they see in battle when God rescues and protects. They are “doing everything right” why aren’t they seeing results?! Hmmm While I cannot see if they are true in heart or not it serves as a good reminder to be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to manipulate God.
     
    8. Read Psalm 44:23-26. What phrases of lament strike you and why? The one that really strikes me is “…our belly clings to the ground…” This speaks to me of continued repentance and humility even in suffering and not seeing God’s rescue. I need to stay humble and trust God. Being on our belly can also be worship and so I continue to worship humbly the God I know to be true even though He is not “acting” like He has in rescues past… I know He is still good, He is still God.

    1. Jill ~   Loved your response to # 4.   Such good encouragement.     To forgive “offenses” and keep moving toward them in love instead of withdrawing because of hurt or frustration.     I often need reminding to choose humility….. it is not natural.   But it is best.

    2.  I think we still suffer from this – to assume we no longer matter when God is silent. But He does delight in us.

      Spot on, Jill.   I know one person (me) who still suffers from this.  So, I have to remember the whole truth.

  33. Sermon is wonderful.  I listened, not taking notes, with the intent to take notes later.  I often do this, but this time I was distracted at first.  Then near the end, I thought, “I have to get this down on paper NOW.”  So here is the end.

    Psalm 44:   There is no explanation of why in suffering.Often few answers.  Often the answers we are after are answers to the wrong questions.

    Are you good with knowledge that the suffering is in the Lord’s perfect wisdom?  Without knowing why, can you yet suffer well? For even if you never get a more detailed answer than this one, you should know that one purpose of our suffering is to turn our hearts toward heaven.  There’s something about deprivation that increases our hunger.  Is the extent of your desire to have your suffering dealt with or are you hungry for the perfect righteousness and glory of Christ?
     
    Your craving to have a life hid with him for now and all eternity – it may be that some suffering will help grow that kind of faith.
     
    Perhaps a blessing for us in what God would have taken away from us… for all the questions will go unanswered, Might we know for sure Christ who is our suffering savior and we who are being prepared for heaven (quote from Romans.. for I am sure that neither death nor life… nothing will be able to separate us from God) .. in there we find a psalm that will be useful for us.

    I can’t put it in better words than this…And yes, this is becoming my desire –to have my heart turned toward heaven, to have my life hid with Christ in God, even if it requires the suffering of having something or someone taken away.  I can see that deprivation does (or has the potential to) turn my heart to Him.

    Looking forward to listening to the rest more carefully (mtg in a few minutes!).

    1. Praying for God’s grace and strength to suffer well.   Thanks for finding this sermon, Dee.  You found an amazing needle in the Internet haystack.

    2. OK Renee (and Elizabeth). You convinced me. Downloading the sermon now. 🙂

      1. Diane, 😀    Looking forward to reading your thoughts!

  34. 3. Read Psalm 44:1-8 and describe the mood and the thankfulness for past rescues.
    The mood is confident based on past experience of what God has done. Their confidence is in God rather than their own abilities or strength. 
    4. Share one way God has rescued you in the recent past.
    Visited the doctor one Saturday morning after a night of ongoing pain. I was immediately sent to ED with suspected appendicitis. By Saturday night, they had eliminated appendicitis, and I was admitted to gynaecological ward for further investigations. On Sunday, following scans there was discussion of possible CA. Much prayer and pleading that night… particularly concerning my kids, and on Monday all tests came back clear. I was on IV ABs in hospital for a few days, and then went home with quite a regime of oral ABs, but the follow-up scan a few weeks later was completely clear. The gynaecologist has no explanation for the abnormal scan or the pain… ‘mystery illness’ were her words. My own belief is that God healed whatever it was that the scan picked up…
    5. Read Psalm 44:9-16 and describe the mood and the phrases that point to a lack of rescue.
    I get humiliation and blaming God from this passage. Abandonment – ‘you no longer go out with us’, ‘you gave us up’, ‘you sold us’. It’s even more than lack of rescue, that is failing to act. They accuse God of actively causing their defeat.
    6. How can you see Jesus in the above passage?
    Isaiah 53:7-8,10 – He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away…Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer.
    Jesus is the Lamb of God – see John 1:29 – the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Revelation 5:12 – Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
    7. Read Psalm 44:17-22 and describe why this lack of rescue is particularly confusing.
    The lack of rescue is perplexing because there is no explanation. They have not broken the covenant with God, so they expected God would protect them.
    8. Read Psalm 44:23-26. What phrases of lament strike you and why?
    “Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself!” This stands out to me because just last week I was looking at the story of Elijah and the prophets of baal in the Bible Study at work. Elijah taunted the prophets that their god must be sleeping… yet here, God’s people are lamenting that God must be sleeping.

    1. So grateful for the rescue you experienced, Kerryn!    And your answer to 8 intrigues me.  I had not seen that parallel to the prophets of Baal.  

    2. I only made the connection because I was looking at it last week…
      1 Kings 18:26-29  They called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “O Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”  So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

  35. 8. Read Psalm 44:23-26. What phrases of lament strike you and why?     
    ‘You have covered us with deep darkness….’    because the smallest candle can illuminate the darkness and break up the covering.  To be covered with deep darkness sounds as though no hope or glimmer is seen.  
     
    “Awake!”  Why do You sleep, O Lord?  Arouse yourself”…….     I don’t think I’ve ever been ‘brave’?  enough …… or maybe ‘honest?’ enough with God to actually yell at Him to wake up.  (In fact, I have a pithy saying on a plaque that says….’When you go to bed, give your troubles to God.  He will be up all night anyway’.   And I feel that.  I wake up often and thank Him that He is there.)  BUT the truth is, I HAVE felt that He was sleeping……..or as one mother declared in her story in the book, ‘Disappointment With God’, …. “God was sitting on His hands”….as, while in spite of her fervent prayers,  she watched her child with CF die a horrible death.  I read this story (coincidentally?) at a time when I was at my lowest because my daughter had had complication after complication with CF in the past few months.   I wish that I had had the freedom to lament and do it in a biblical way…..turning again to the God who delivers.  I knew I could be angry with Him and I was…. but I chose to withdraw and hold a grudge for awhile instead of letting it out and letting His HOPE infuse me again.

    1. Thank you Wanda for what you have shared. I think I’m the say way. I haven’t shared exactly what my challenges are but I to am struggling to understand why my child isn’t as I thought he should be. He’s perfect and beautiful and happy. But my heart is so broken for him. He has no diagnosis right now but there are definite delays and I don’t think I ever hurt so bad in my life. I truly believe we will overcome but its hard. I think I’m getting use to the looks from people and just hate the comments or suggestions. I try not to question God because he knows what’s best but I’m weak and frail and wonder… thank you sharing.

      1. Nicole–I know none of our paths are identical, but I resonate with your struggle–praying for you and your son right now

        1. Thank you so much your prayers mean so much to me.

      2. I will also pray for your son, Nicole.  It’s so hard when you know something is amiss and there aren’t any clear answers.  I so hope you get some good direction soon so you can know how to help him..  I already had your name on my prayer list but now I know one way to pray for you.

        1. Thank you

      3. Oh Nicole – “I am struggling to understand why my son isn’t as I thought he should be….he’s perfect and beautiful and happy…but my heart is broken for him.”   I remember coming home MANY years ago…..locking myself – literally – in a dark closet and wailing my heart out ……NOTHING ever got to my heart like the pain that my children had to bear.  And, just as in Psalm 44 that we are studying this week….at times it just seemed like “why Lord??”  …..he’s beautiful, why must he struggle so???  What a beautiful and perfect time for this week’s look at Psalm 44 and lament.  You CAN wail your heart out to your faithful, tender Abba…….I do pray that this Psalm has ministered powerfully to you this week.  And , along with others here, I will pray for your son. 

        1. Thank you Jackie,
          Your words were very comforting and I believe the Lord placed me exactly were I needed to be. I want to learn more about lamenting because up to this point I’ve mentally excepted everything that has happened in my life and tried not to ask why trying to be the way I thought God wanted me to be. I love to pray but the last year has been hard because I have no words  or I thought I didn’t. I guess what I need is to lament.
          Thank you again,
          Nicole

  36. 5. The mood is somber; You have rejected us and brought us to dishonor. You have scattered us among the nations. My humiliation has overwhelmed me.
    Here is a lack of rescue. It is humiliating and at the lowest point.
    6. Yes, these verses point to Jesus, who was rejected by the religious establishment. He was hated and made fun of by the crowds who gathered and demanded that he be crucified. Christ endured this humiliation though he had prayed, If this cup can be taken from me, but thy will be done.
    You gave us up to be devoured like sheep. Yes, Christ was the sacrifice; he gave himself willingly and endured the pain for our redemption.
    7. The lack of rescue is confusing because the people have not forgotten God or been false to your covenant. Even though they were faithful, they were crushed.
    “For your sake we are killed all the day long, as sheep to be slaughtered.”

  37. 9. I FOUND THIS JEWEL OF A SERMON ON PSALM 44. LISTEN AND SHARE YOUR NOTES AND THOUGHTS:
    https://refopc.org/2012/08/psalm-441-26-why-have-you-broken-us/

     
     I had difficulty taking notes on this sermon.   I think it was because Oharek speaks faster than Keller.   I am aware that I probably didn’t get everything.  The bolded areas were the ones that meant the most to me.   

    Psalm 44
    Sermon by Rev. Stephen Oharek
    Reformation Orthodox Presbyterian Church
    Oviedo, Florida
     
    Psalm 44 – A Psalm of Suffering
    The first 8 verses are an example of classic theology of confidence in God.   How God has worked mighty acts in redemptive history of Israel.   God gave the victory.   We can relate to these verses nodding and shouting with victory.
     
    Then the psalm takes on a darker tone.    Some of the things the psalmist says we may be hesitant to affirm.    Verse 23 – Awake, why are you sleeping, O God?   Verse 24 – Why do you forget our affliction?   The psalmist is asking why is it God is asleep while we are painfully awake.  Is it irreverent to say these things to God?   After all, we are supposed to be honest with Him.   
     
    Rev. Oharek told of a stone-deaf man named Clarence  asking him a question about this, and he typed out the answer for the man.   The man had been deaf for 23 years, due to an allergic reaction to antibiotics used at a time of surgery.   Following the reaction, the world was silent for the rest of the man’s life. Clarence’s suffering was like the psalmist’s – he  had not done anything wrong.  It just came upon him with no explanation.   Who can say why God appointed that particular suffering for him.   He was wondering if God would ever deliver him from it.   
     
    How perfectly some of the words of Psalm 44 seem suited to Jesus Christ.    Verses 11 and 22, “like sheep for the slaughter.”   Reminiscent of the lamb who was slain.   All suffering Psalms should lead us to the suffering of Christ.   
     
    Verses 17-20:   The psalmist asks God “What did we do to deserve this suffering?”   He says, “We have been faithful to you, God.   It doesn’t seem connected particularly to our sinfulness.    

    He recounts that God has won all of these battles for Israel in the past.   So “why have we now been defeated by our enemies?   Why would God allow us to suffer defeat?”     If there was a sin of a king or the people, then it would make sense.    Surely if we had sinned God would have seen it.   Verse 18 – our steps have not departed from your way.  We have not lost faith in you.   Verse 19 – “Why have you broken us?”
     
    This suffering psalm describes our sinless Messiah who was brought to death on the cross, yet he was innocent.   Jesus could most perfectly claim this psalm as His own.   
     
    The apostle Paul uses this psalm.   At the end of Romans 8, Paul says “If God is for us, who can be against us?”   A few verses later, “What shall separate us from the love of Christ?”  Shall trouble, or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?   Then Paul quotes psalm 44:   As it is written,  ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’”   Then comes the very famous passage which begins, “…In all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us….”       Paul is saying even these things cannot drive us from God.   
     
    Your suffering cannot drive you away, but may compel you to draw nearer to Him. 
     
    God invites us to share our desires in prayer, and what sufferer has not desired, rightly so, for the Lord to take this from Him.   It is right for us to take this suffering psalm upon our lips, because the suffering is about Christ, the innocent lamb who was slain.   This psalm becomes true of Christ, and it then becomes your psalm as you are found in Him in faith.   You will suffer – it is your psalm.  In Christ you are innocent by Jesus’ blood and righteousness– so it is your psalm.   In Christ, you know that God will answer this plea.    What do you think He has already secured by sending us His Son?   What do you think He will do when He brings us to heaven? 
     
    There are several questions that go fairly well unanswered.   Why did God appoint this suffering for you?   Oharek says he is not going to pretend to know that answer.   The psalmist doesn’t seem to know the answer.     In the Romans 8 passage, we see how our suffering is connected to God’s love for us.   
     
    Why did God give all those blessings back then, when I was sinning plenty?  Why is it I am suffering now?  Psalm 44 doesn’t answer that.   There are very few specific answers to our suffering.    Are you okay that this is in the Lord’s perfect wisdom and according to His plan?  Without knowing why, can you yet suffer well?  For even if you never get a more detailed answer than this one – you should know that one purpose behind our suffering is to tune our hearts to heaven. 
     
    There is something about deprivation that increases our hunger.   What are you hungering for?   Is your true, deepest hunger just to have that ailment removed?   Is that really the extent of your desire?  Or are you hungry for the perfect righteousness and glory of Christ and your home with Him in heaven?   If so, what suffering could possibly diminish that?   Is your craving to have a life hidden in Him?  Your suffering may help grow that kind of faith.   
     
    Oharek wondered how it was when Clarence died, and could hear like never before.  He could hear the hosts of heven singing.   Was the suffering leading up to that useful to prepare him for heaven?   
     
    Perhaps there would be a blessing for us in what God would see to take away from us.   Be it one of our five senses, or something else, or someone else.  Perhaps we will cling ourselves to God in prayer and take up our crosses more readily.   Might we know for sure that Christ who is our suffering Savior and that we are being prepared for heaven.   
     

      1. Thanks, Dee!
         

  38. I am still here. 🙂 I was helping my husband every morning during the week with his route-the world series made everything run late. Missed you all!
    3. Read Psalm 44:1-8 and describe the mood and the thankfulness for past rescues.
    They are praising God for how He rescued them in the past..They are thankful and when they remember how He saved them with His arm, not theirs and with the light of His presence, they are filled with joy.
    4. Share one way God has rescued you in the recent past.
    I have found lately over and over when making decisions God has moved in a mighty way in turning my husband’s heart, or mine. I find such peace in lament and trusting Him to move to change me or my husband.
    5. Read Psalm 44:9-16 and describe the mood and the phrases that point to a lack of rescue.
    I sense right away in verse 9 they are lamenting over His presence not being with them and the rest is the result of that..the whole mood is this cold aloneness void of His favor and presence, and they are facing shame, rejection, dishonor. V16 reminds me of satan having his way with them.
    6. How can you see Jesus in the above passage?
    Oh wow..What a great question. Talk about shifting my focus all of a sudden to the Gospel. I was starting to reflect on how this reminds me of attacks from the enemy and that aloneness and void I feel when I can’t sense His presence..but YES I see Him. This reminds me of Jesus being stripped of God’s presence on the cross! He felt this way!
    7. Read Psalm 44:17-22 and describe why this lack of rescue is particularly confusing.
    They were innocent. They hadn’t clung to idols. This wasn’t a result of sin. Even though all of this is happening they still haven’t forgotten Him, so their hearts are fixed on Him, yet He allowed all of this and hasn’t come to their rescue. They feel He has forgotten them. 
    8. Read Psalm 44:23-26. What phrases of lament strike you and why?
    V 24 Why do you hide your face and forget our affliction and our oppression? Just asking God this question stood out for it reveals God is the longing of their hearts. This is all about desiring Him. This reminds me of Jesus so! The Joy of Hiding in God’s favor-delighting in Him and He in Jesus-the trinity dance, and then the hellish nightmare on the cross of God hiding His face!  So often I don’t sense His presence and especially in times of affliction. Yet the Psalmist isn’t backing away-He is crying out and drawing near like Jesus did on the cross. That says a lot about his heart and his intimacy with God. 

    1. Rebecca – Yay!  seeing your beautiful face and reading your words brought a smile to my harried morning!

      1. Jackie, and you to me! :))

  39. 9. Listen and share your notes and thoughts. I need to be careful to suffer FOR Christ. I recognize that my suffering is from God, is a gift, presses me to Him, but I need to make sure I go one step further and keep walking for Christ. Not suffering for just a good reason but for Him. Not quite sure how this fleshes out but I am struck by Oharek’s comments about making this psalm our own psalm because we suffer for Christ. I also need to make sure that I do not dwell on the fact that I “do not deserve” this suffering, this can become self-righteous, making myself the center. It is ok to lament “I do not deserve this” but then to always trust Him and glorify Him through the suffering. I loved what he said about suffering increases hunger – what do you hunger for? Very similar to some other teachings we have listened to on idols but now in the context of suffering. Also was very encouraged by the connection with Romans 8:
    “There is no degree of suffering that can separate us from God in Christ. No degree of failure. No degree of persecution. No feeling of deep sorrow can separate what God has joined together – us in God through Christ. Sometimes God demonstrates His love and provision by blessing, a victory. But often God demonstrates his love and provision by ordaining that we go without. This is when we are keenly aware of our need for Him, His love for us.”

  40. Comments on Oharek’s sermon on Psalm 44:
    Oh, my! I have listened to this sermon twice this morning. During the second time, as he read the psalm at the beginning, I found myself in tears. On the first listening, what must have gotten deeper into my heart is that because in Christ I am innocent, I do not deserve to suffer! Therefore, I can pray this psalm. I can plead with God to remove this suffering. Yet, deeper than that, I can see that beneath my plea for God to remove my pain is my deeper cry to fill my craving hunger to know God and be found in him – his perfect righteousness, his glory – that my life would be hid in him. I want the calm assurance that I know in my life from my heart, not just in my head – that I am His, He is always with me, that “no foe can alarm me” (from the song, “Safe Am I’).  I want to be able to live in constant full awareness of that; responding always in that, when the fears whisper lies to me, when my longing for ease and security screams in my ears. To use an metaphor from an old Keller sermon, the “penny is dropping.”
    On a less personal note, I loved how he tied Psalm 44 so clearly to Christ and then to us through Romans 8. What a gem of a sermon!! Everyone needs to listen to this.
     

    1. Diane–OH the emotions this just brought up in me–beautiful post “I want the calm assurance that I know in my life from my heart, not just in my head – that I am His, He is always with me,”–thank you for this

    2. Diane, I love what you gleaned here: “… because in Christ I am innocent, I do not deserve to suffer! Therefore, I can pray this psalm. I can plead with God to remove this suffering. Yet, deeper than that, I can see that beneath my plea for God to remove my pain is my deeper cry to fill my craving hunger to know God and be found in him…”

  41. 9. I FOUND THIS JEWEL OF A SERMON ON PSALM 44. LISTEN AND SHARE YOUR NOTES AND THOUGHTS:
    That was a great message and I loved the story about Clarence and how he tied Romans 8 into this Psalm.  So many Christians today who have this idea that we are meant to be totally delivered from/healed from all suffering in this life really just demonstrate their very limited, finite perspective on life.  God’s perspective is eternal (it’s not just all about the here and now) and His ways are unsearchable and sometimes all we can do is cling to what we know to be true…He loves us and has the very best in mind for us (even when we don’t understand) and healing and deliverance will come, if not in this life then in heaven (which is only a blink away.)

  42. 9.   The sermon was indeed, as so many have “amened”, a gem!  Initially, I couldn’t even get past the reading of the Psalm at the beginning.  In the churches I’ve been in over my life, we’ve never stood (at least not habitually) for the reading of the Word.  I’ve ALWAYS missed that!  And so I meandered awhile in Nehemiah 8&9…..where the people apparently stood for at least a quarter of the day to listen to God’s Word!  Wow. 
    Like Diane and Mary have just mentioned, I LOVED the way Pastor Oharek brought out the rich connection with Romans 8 and Psalm 44.  And I was deeply moved by the way he wove the story of precious Clarence in and out throughout the teaching. 
     
    And yes, Mary…just yesterday I had a sweet believing sister direct my attention to a lady online who has been healed of cancer…..with a very strong “just believe” focus…..my heart sank and I couldn’t help but think of our week here with Psalm 44……SO thankful that we are being immersed in TRUTH.  And that we can trust in “what is unseen” and live for eternity…..which, as you so aptly stated is “only a blink away”!  Amen

    1. I totally tuned into the ‘standing for the reading of God’s Word’ as well, Jackie.   And I heard it in a new way.  After growing up with that practice and now being away from it for 35 years,  (except an occassional visit to a different church), it just sounded so ‘right’ to me….a deeper meaning than it had when I was young.  (even though the getting up and down isn’t nearly as easy physically as it was then!)

    2. =)

  43. Thoughts on the Psalm 44 sermon:   I listened holding back tears, so I could catch every word and took them all down.  Then I shared some thoughts, especially the Clarence story and also thoughts on lamenting,  with my husband,  and after talking with him for awhile, the tears began to burst.   
    I see in myself today, what Tim Keller addressed in Praying our Tears, when he talked about grieving.  And that we can also be grieving the fact that we are grieving.  That’s what I’ve been doing regarding my struggle at my church which is one of the things for which I would like to find a rescue.  I struggle and feel miserable and then, I feel miserable because I am struggling.  I guess it’s because I don’t think church itself should be the reason for such a great struggle.  So, my husband said, maybe I should apply the principles of lament to this pain.  I’m still thinking through how that looks.  It’s very clear, that he and I are not in the same place and he has no clear desire to leave this church, in fact, he has a clear desire to stay…..so a rescue in the way I have been longing for, is not forthcoming.  It is not hard for me to apply the truth of this sermon (which was EXCELLENT) to my physical pain…..(which actually has become more intense in the past few days)….and it’s even, at least theoretically, not difficult for me to apply a lot of this to my struggle with having unbelieving children.  That is surely a raw pain for me but I also have learned so much about the gospel and about grace through the lens of this pain.   But my confusion over the church stuff, continues to be a pain without answers.  And without peace.  
     
    I also love so much the connection between Ps. 44 and Romans 8.  I began clinging to Romans 8:35-39 decades ago.  That passage became very real to me when we first encountered the pain of having a child with a life threatening disease, 29 years ago.  In fact, I rather disliked it when people would quote Romans 8:28 in regard to suffering, because it seemed like such a ‘pat answer’ but oh…..verses 35-39…..where the rubber meets the road….that is what melted my heart.  But, even so…..I did not realize until today, that it is Psalm 44 that Paul was quoting and now, I feel so familiar with the whole context of that Psalm, which stirs my soul so much more, as to the depth and the significance of the Romans passage.   Though there are no answers to the specific ‘this and that’ of suffering…..in the Romans passage,….” there is some understanding that our suffering is connected to God’s love for us.”
     
    I will share this sermon with my brother in law.  As a young man, age 23, he was chosen to go on a helicopter rescue mission in the Sierra mountains.  He worked for the Forest Service and was familiar, from his many backpacking experiences, with the area that was being searched, for a group of lost boy scouts.  There were 4 or 5 people aboard the helicopter.  The pilot was inexperienced in that terrain.  The helicopter crashed. My brother in law was the only one hurt and due to paraplegia, he has gone through life in a wheelchair ever since.  33 years in a wheelchair, thus far. And now, he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s too.  Yet, it was in his suffering, that he came to faith in Christ.  And it is through his suffering, that he has been used in many ways to help others who struggle.  I thought of him when I heard about Clarence’s one/third of his life spent in deafness.  Would he have wished for the silence to be broken on earth?  Or was the amazing waking up to the audible praises of heaven, the glory for which his temporary suffering on earth can not be compared?  This is how I see it for Greg.  In an instant, the ability to walk was taken from him.  God allowed that he has never again walked on this earth.  But when he awakes in heaven, he will run and jump and dance freely.  And that is the glory for which his pain cannot be compared.  

    1. Wanda, this “But my confusion over the church stuff, continues to be a pain without answers.  And without peace.  ”  Is the very thing hurting me the most right now, as well!  Isn’t it crazy?!   I had typed our more to this response but thought better of posting it in this public forum so I copied and pasted it into an email you will be getting from me! =)

      1. thanks Mary…..I will check my email….

    2. wanda–so good “Though there are no answers to the specific ‘this and that’ of suffering…..in the Romans passage,….” there is some understanding that our suffering is connected to God’s love for us.”

      1. Elizabeth, the end of that statement in quotes was from the sermon……I just couldn’t quote it all, because I had in paraphrased in my notes. 🙂  But that was a good revelation to me.

    3. Wanda, such a heart wrenching story about how your brother in law has suffered and is still suffering yet how this brought him to Jesus and yes the future glory which his temporary suffering can’t be compared. You reminded me of my brother who was burned as a child-all over-almost died. He will have no scars in the future. 

      1. Oh thank you for sharing that,  Rebecca…….Yes, isn’t it amazing to think of heaven?!   I’ve never seen my brother in law walk.  That alone will be glorious.  And it will be repeated with every person who is there.  We will all experience a wholeness unlike anything we can now imagine!  

  44. 11. What is your take-a-way and why?
     
    I have been stuck on v. 23 of this Psalm “Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?” My words to the Lord are different, but the pleading to “move” and the question of “why?” are very familiar to me. I have often thought “do something, Lord!” But I do not apologize for those words—because I know that at the core is my deep belief that He is the One who holds all the Power. With one word, with one thought—He creates, He restores, He heals, He destroys. Nothing happens to me that has not first passed through Him. And so when I plead with Him to act on my behalf, I know that He is the only One who can move mountains on my behalf, so how can I not ask Him? He wants me to ask. It is good that I ask. It shows my humble, submissive stance before Him as the One. 
     
    The question of “why?”—I usually do not get the answer, at least not for a long while. Sometimes, in grace, He gives me glimpses of the answer—but mostly, I have to exercise trust, faith. Just like when my kids incessantly ask “but why?”—so often I know they will not really “get” the answer so I have to tell them “just trust me”. Sometimes I don’t understand why, when the Cross paid for all sin, we still have to live in such fallen-ness. I do not like to suffer. I wish I always let it take me to the Cross and remind me that all of my suffering combined will never amount to any fraction of what I caused Christ to suffer. I know the suffering cannot mean He has abandoned me—for He took the complete abandonment from God so that I will never be abandoned. Never will He leave me nor forsake me. Over and over I must remind myself of who He is.

    SO thankful we have the Word to tell us who He is:
    Psalm 86:5, “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you..”
    Daniel 9:9, “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him.”
    James 5:11, “the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
    Psalm 86:15, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” 

    And in response to the “awake!” I so often say in my heart–the reminder, the TRUTH, that He does NOT SLEEP! Psalm 121: 3-4 ”He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep
     

  45. 8.What phrases of lament strike you and why?
    As many before me have stated, “Awake, do not reject us forever, Why do you hide your face and forget our affliction and our oppression?”
     It has been helpful for me to study this lament. It somehow gives permission for me to speak to God about the suffering times. I know that God’s ways are higher than my ways, Yet to question why? has never felt justified.
    Yet bringing out our deepest feelings is the first step to averting bitterness. It does seem like God has forgotten the affliction that is keeping us impoverished and suffering. And others have asked  why? Now I am reassured to speak my heart.
    9. Listening to the sermon on Psalm 44 was wonderful. I listened twice and still did not take notes. Thanks, Deanna, yours are perfect.
    I loved the scripture , Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39). We are more than conquerors! The story of Clarence, who asked the question is remarkable. And the end of the story with the pastor’s comments about how Clarence will hear the beautiful praises in heaven and what it must be like now for him when his hearing is restored, just made me ponder also.
    No, we do not know why certain afflictions or suffering come to us, but they do draw us closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus, who suffered more than we can imagine.
    10. How might you pray this Psalm?
    Father God, do not forsake us, We are your sheep , We are following you and we are threatened by the enemy.
    Do not turn away; you know our thoughts and our intent is to honor you. The pain is present, Fill us with your presence. Keep us in the shelter of your wings. Yes, rescue us because of your unfailing love.

    1. Shirley, Every time I read your posts they are honest and rich. I sense a kindred spirit. 🙂  Yet to question why? has never felt justified.I have felt the same way. Yet bringing out our deepest feelings is the first step to averting bitterness.” This is so important. 
       
      It does seem like God has forgotten the affliction that is keeping us impoverished and suffering. And others have asked why? Now I am reassured to speak my heart.” Me too. 🙂 

  46. 9. I FOUND THIS JEWEL OF A SERMON ON PSALM 44. LISTEN AND SHARE YOUR NOTES AND THOUGHTS:
     
    Dee, Thank you for posting this sermon.    A treasure.
     
    Loved this:  ….no feeling of deep sorrow, no degree of failure, no degree of suffering can separate me from the love of God in Christ.
     
    And this:   Sometimes the purpose of our suffering is to tune our hearts to heaven….. and sometimes that is as specific as it gets
     
    When he talked of Clarence dying, I thought of the verse, “Eye has not seen,  ear has not heard, the things God has prepared….” I Cor. 2:9

  47. 10. Having listened to this sermon, how might you pray this psalm in your circumstances right now?
     
    Sometimes I get my guitar out and sing this song to the Lord, that expresses some of Psalm 44.   
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU0pK85Xp9g

    Not angels, nor demons,
    no power on earth or heaven
    Not distance, nor danger,
    no trouble now or ever
    Nothing can take me from your great love
    Forever this truth remains
    I belong, I belong to you
     Not hardship, nor hunger,
    no pain or depth of sorrow
    Not weakness, nor failure,
    no broken dream or promise

    1. Nila…what a beautiful, appropriate song.  I loved it.  (would even love it more….to hear you singing it 🙂 )   I hope you are doing well.  I think of you and visualize you in those beautiful mountains.  I know your plate is so full.  Praying peace and grace for you.  

  48. Takeaway:    This was an exceptionally good week for me with the study questions.  I felt like I was tracking.  I pondered them long but I didn’t walk away with a lot of unanswered questions about what the scriptures meant and what  I felt the Lord was teaching me.  I did end up in tears for half the day today, but I know that they were good tears and I needed to get out what I was feeling inside.  In the beginning of the week, in my mind I identified 3 areas for which I was hoping for a rescue.  2 of these became intensified this week.  Interesting.  One of them, I feel somewhat ‘hopeless’ about but I feel more empowered to lament and pray this psalm over this area.  The other two will be very ongoing, and will intensify even more, but I feel a peace.    The sermon as well as the teaching and sharing have helped me greatly.  
     
    I still need to sit down and work through praying this psalm over all of these areas.
     
    I wrote down two comments from the blog and posted them on my bathroom mirror this week.  They are both good take aways! (from Kerryn and Mary)  That’s where I read and remember a lot of good stuff!  I also have one there from last week. (from Elizabeth)  I think before long, I will have wise words from all of you sisters, posted there 🙂  I love to think of you all.  In my mind, I see the state, province or country where you live and picture your face there as I think of you.  (For some;  I don’t know where you live, nor your face…..but I picture your name in my mind)
     
    And lastly, this is something that I thought about  a long time when I worked through the answer to how I see Jesus in this psalm.
     
    For me….a straying sheep who went my own way, He became like a sheep led to slaughter
     
    and he did not retaliate, complain or resist.  
     
    For me….a  straying sheep, the Great Shepherd, the Conquering King became
     
    the Lamb of God.  
     
    And on the cross, He was truly abandoned…..so that I would never be.  
     
     

    1. Wanda–I may have to amend my take-away to include your take-away. Your first paragraph gripped my heart. 2 of my 3 areas intensified this week as well, and really all are ongoing–but I so needed to hear this “I feel somewhat ‘hopeless’ about but I feel more empowered to lament and pray this psalm over this area.” I don’t think I have truly lamented over this area I am thinking of–the other 2 I have (and interesting do have more peace though they cannot be easily “fixed”), but the last area, for really 10 years, I’ve mostly been caught in a cycle of trying really really hard, then angry, frustrated… You would think I would have realized I needed to lament by now! But for some reason as I read your words, it struck something deeper in me. I have felt SUCH guilt over this area–but the Lord has been merciful in just the last 2 weeks to show me that I did not bring this on…(sorry for the vagueness, it is child-related), all that to say, I have stayed stuck in either guilt/deep sadness/frustration…and your words helped me hear where I need to go now with it.
      And I LOVED what you wrote at the end–WOW. Beautiful. So thankful you are here Wanda. 

      1. Just prayed for your situation right now, Elizabeth!  I don’t have kids but I do like one point Dee made in Idol Lies “proverbs are not promises they are probabilities.”  She was saying that in reference to Proverbs 22:6 “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is grown he will not depart from it.”  Kids are individuals with their own minds and wills and their own little sin natures and it would be so nice if we did have a guaranteed recipe to follow to make them all turn out just right, but no such thing exists and I feel certain you are a wonderful mom, Elizabeth.  Not being a mom, I’m just guessing…one of the hardest things is probably just stepping aside and letting God do whatever is needed in the lives of your kids to lead them to Himself and then to conform them to the image of His Son, just as He must do with all of us and as a parent you would rather spare your kids some of that process/pain by getting them to that point faster, but it just might not always work that way.  Okay, that was a serious run-on sentence!

        1. oh Mary–I really believe you have the gift of wisdom…thank you for this. I need the reminder from Idol Lies (and that was even in my story of the book!!) but I so quickly default to wanting a 3 step process…you are right though, it is the “stepping aside”, the releasing, the trusting. And I do believe He has given me peace He will bring her to Himself…just a bumpy ride 😉
          And JUST minutes before reading this, I had written down “mary e.–friend” on my new spiral I’m keeping for blog prayer requests…I’m praying the Lord will bring a physically closer kindred spirit. You are such a gift Mary. 

        2. I’m glad it was a timely word for you, Elizabeth, and I did not remember that that thing on proverbs had come from the chapter where she talks about you! How cool is that???!!!!
          And thank you so much for remembering me in your prayers.

      2. Elizabeth, It’s fine that you are vague.  And your words encourage me in return.   I feel the same…..frustrated and struggling for a decade or so….but not feeling the prompting to lament over it until this week.  I hope and pray I can stay faithful to this insight and follow through with a biblical resolution to the frustration.  Thanks for your words.  I am so blessed to learn from all of you.