Cry Out to God
by Richard Ettensohn
Monday, February 15 – Psalm 41, Psalm 44, Psalm 52, Genesis 37:1 – 11, I Corinthians 1:1-19, and Mark 1:1- 13.
(BCP Readings for today)
In keeping with Apostle’s focus on the Psalms this Lenten season, I will write mainly about the Psalm 44, However, this Psalm is not comforting to write about. Maybe some of there are mysteries here that we will not understand this side of eternity.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55, 8,9)
Psalm 44 concludes with an apparently unanswered desperate cry for God’s intervention help. Further, this cry does not come from God’s enemies. It comes from God’s own people who are living in accordance with his commandments.
“All this has come upon us,
though we have not forgotten you,
and we have not been false to your covenant.
Our heart has not turned back,
nor have our steps departed from your way;” (Psalm 44: 17, 18)
I believe that the Psalmist is being truthful as best as he can. He knows that God knows the truth:
If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
would not God discover this?
For he knows the secrets of the heart. (Psalm 44: 20-21)
The Psalmist is not claiming that the people are righteousness in all aspects of the peoples’ lives but only that they have “not been false.”
Despite God’s peoples’ obedience, consider all of the exceedingly terrible things that are happening to them:
But you have rejected us and disgraced us
and have not gone out with our armies.
You have made us turn back from the foe,
and those who hate us have gotten spoil.
You have made us like sheep for slaughter
and have scattered us among the nations.
You have sold your people for a trifle,
demanding no high price for them.
You have made us the taunt of our neighbors,
the derision and scorn of those around us.
You have made us a byword among the nations,
a laughingstock among the peoples.
All day long my disgrace is before me,
and shame has covered my face. (Psalm 44:9-15)
Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. (Psalm 44:22)
Despite the Psalmist’s feeling that God has abandoned his people, he tells us:
1) God can help, 2) only God can help, and the people can only ask God to redeem them “for the sake of your steadfast love” not because of the peoples’ obedience.
In desperate times, we must cry out to God:
Rise up; come to our help!
Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love! (Psalm 44: 26).
We must also always remember that, if our righteous Lord Christ had not been willing to suffer and be crucified for us sinful people, we would all be lost not only in this life and but also in eternity:
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. (Hebrews 5:7).
For Christ also suffered] once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (I Peter 3:18)
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. (Hebrews 2:10)