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Psalm 44, a psalm with a surprize
The Hebrew scriptures showcase a wide variety of poetry, especially sermons and songs. Whereas the writing prophets of old Israel and Judah confront readers with the word of God in poetic form, the psalmists speak to God in prayer and song. The biblical psalms often employ ideals outside the bounds of modern day conservative worshippers. Many wonder how can they say these things? How can this be in the Bible? The psalms provide opportunity for the people of God to go deeper and speak more boldly than they might otherwise. Psalm 44 stands amongst the several psalms which provide readers a glimpse an astonishing outlook.
Read Psalm 44:1-8. How do the psalmists claims in verses 1-8 line up with Deut 9:3-5; Josh 23:1-11; Ps 33:13-22.
Read Psalm 44:9-16. In Hebrew poetry lines are paired, with each complimenting and “explaining” and “stretching” its partner. Look at the pair of poetic lines in verse 11—to what does the simile to be eaten refer? What else is added to the psalmists’ complaint in verses 9-16?
Read Psalm 44:17-22. Are the psalmists really claiming that they had done nothing to deserve the judgment of God, and that God knew it? Read the account of the last days to Judah (2 Kgs 23:28-25:30; 2 Chron 36). How can you reconcile the psalmists claims with the biblical accounts to the contrary? If the psalmists of Psalm 44 represent the perspective of an otherwise unseen “righteous remnant” held to account with the larger sinful people of God, how could this shed light on Habakkuk’s complaint Habakkuk 1, especially verse 13.
Read Psalm 44:23-26. Why do the psalmists say God is asleep? What is different about the context of Psalm 44 over and against Psalm 78:54-72 (especially compare 44:23-24; 78:65)?
What do the psalmists mean by “for your sake” in 44:22? What are the implications of Paul’s use of Psalm 44:22 in Romans 8:31-39?
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