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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Writings

Psalms 44

Verses 1-26

PSALM 44

The faith of the godly remnant, counting upon what God has done for His people in the past and acknowledging God as their King, looks to God to arise for the help of His people and to deliver them from all their enemies.

(vv. 1-3) The godly remnant, though cast out of the land, and under the oppression of their enemies, cling in simple faith to what they have heard from their fathers of God's mighty works on behalf of His people in the past. In those days it was not by their own power that God's people were brought into the land, and their enemies dispossessed. It was God's right hand, and God's arm, that brought them into blessing, because God was favourable to His people and delighted in them.

(vv. 4-8) Now, when again the enemy is in possession of the land, and God's people are cast out, the believing remnant claim God as their King, and look to Him that, once again, through His power they may be delivered from their enemies. Their trust will not be in their bow or sword, but in the God who in times past had saved them from their enemies. In God will be their boast, and His Name will they praise for ever.

(vv. 9-16) They recount before God the present condition of God's professing people, and God's ways with them, so utterly in contrast with His former ways. Not only are they cast off, defeated, spoiled by their enemies, and scattered among the heathen; but it is God Himself, who formerly wrought on their behalf, who has cast them off, and turned their backs before their enemies, and scattered them. They own that God's hand in government is upon them; that God has sold His people into captivity, and made them “a reproach,” “a scorn,” “a derision” and a “byword.” Thus the godly soul is continually face to face with the confusion and shame of God's people; for the voice of those that reproach and blaspheme is ever raised against them.

(vv. 17-22) Nevertheless, in the midst of all their confusion and shame, the godly can plead their integrity. They have not forgotten God. In the presence of the reproaches and blasphemy of the enemy they can say nothing, for they are conscious of the utter failure of the nation: but in the presence of God they can still plead that they have not forgotten God, nor turned aside from His covenant or His ways.

They are “sore broken,” and lie under “the shadow of death;” nevertheless they have not forgotten the name of God, nor stretched out their hands in appeal to a strange god. Had they done so God would have known it, for “He knoweth the secrets of the heart.” Thus they appeal to the perfect knowledge of God. So far from turning to a strange god, they are suffering all the day long, and are exposed to death, because they cleave to the true God.

(vv. 23-26) They appeal to God to awaken on their behalf, and cast them not off for ever. They plead their own deep need and His exceeding grace. They are in affliction and oppressed, bowed down and crushed; but with God there is help and loving-kindness.

This psalm unfolds deeply important principles, applicable to God's people in any day of ruin. First, in an evil day, we should ever judge of the power and goodness of God by the way He acted for His people in the beginning of the dispensation; and beware of judging of God by the low condition in which they may be found by reason of their failure (vv. 1-3).

Secondly, in spite of all their failure, His people should trust in God as the One who alone can bring deliverance, and beware of seeking to remedy their condition by their own efforts (vv. 4-8).

Thirdly, in a day of failure it becomes God's people to bow under the chastening hand of the Lord, looking beyond all second causes, and recognizing that God Himself has allowed them to become a reproach and a byword (vv. 9-18).

Fourthly, in spite of all failure, and the consequent chastening of the Lord, let them never surrender the truth; or think for one moment that failure relieves from responsibility to obey the Word, or to walk in God's appointed way. It is still their privilege, and responsibility, in a day of ruin, to keep the covenant, walk in God's way, cleave to His Name, and suffer for His sake (vv. 17-22).

Finally, while owning their failure, let them look to God alone to “arise for their help” (vv. 23-26).

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 44". "Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/psalms-44.html. 1832.