This week we read two Psalms that are unusual – at least at first. Psalm 45 is written to celebrate the wedding of the king. The king is honored as God’s representative for the benefit of the whole nation. It paints a picture of a leader for the country that is something anyone would long to have. There is more to it though. This Psalm anticipates Christ and his reign as our Lord and King. Verses 6 and 7 are quoted in the New Testament book, Hebrews 1:8-9 as God honoring His son 8 But to the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. 9 You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.” Hebrews 1:8-9 (NLT)
Psalm 44 is more difficult. The writer is lamenting that God seems absent while the nation is in serious pain and trouble. The Psalm opens by remembering how God had faithfully worked in the past to protect and rescue His people, but now God is silent and has “rejected and humbled” them (vs 9). The struggle here is that the people are enduring terrible hardship for no apparent reason – no obvious sin on their part. Why doesn’t God come to their aid? Why are their enemies winning? Why doesn’t He care? Their cry includes vs. 17 and 18: 17 All this has happened though we have not forgotten you. We have not violated your covenant. 18 Our hearts have not deserted you. We have not strayed from your path. (NLT) Questions with no answers.
Like in Psalm 45, we get a better handle on this from the New Testament. In Romans chapter 8, we read that God is working all around us in ways that we don’t necessarily or fully understand. The fact that we may suffer undeserved injustice and pain doesn’t mean God doesn’t care – just that He is working in and through us in ways we don’t have all the answers for.
Psalm 44 closes with Rise up! Help us! Ransom us because of your unfailing love. Romans 8 responds with a perspective that should give us all hope. Notice how verse 36 is pulled straight from Psalm 44:22!
31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 (NLT)