For the Chief Musician; a Psalm of the sons of Korah. Maschil.
1 We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us,
What work thou didst in their days, in the days of old.
2 Thou didst drive out the nations with thy hand, and plantedst them in;
Thou didst afflict the peoples, and didst spread them abroad.
3 For they gat not the land in possession by their own sword,
Neither did their own arm save them:
But thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance,
Because thou hadst a favour unto them.
4 Thou art my King, O God:
Command deliverance for Jacob.
5 Through thee will we push down our adversaries:
Through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.
6 For I will not trust in my bow,
Neither shall my sword save me.
7 But thou hast saved us from our adversaries,
And hast put them to shame that hate us.
8In God have we made our boast all the day long,
And we will give thanks unto thy name for ever. Selah
9 But now thou hast cast us off, and brought us to dishonour;
And goest not forth with our hosts.
10 Thou makest us to turn back from the adversary:
And they which hate us spoil for themselves.
11 Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat;
And hast scattered us among the nations.
12 Thou sellest thy people for nought,
And hast not increased thy wealth by their price.
13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours,
A scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.
14 Thou makest us a byword among the nations,
A shaking of the head among the peoples.
15 All the day long is my dishonour before me,
And the shame of my face hath covered me,
16 For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth;
By reason of the enemy and the avenger.
17 All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee,
Neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.
18 Our heart is not turned back,
Neither have our steps declined from thy way;
19 That thou hast sore broken us in the place of jackals,
And covered us with the shadow of death.
20 If we have forgotten the name of our God,
Or spread forth our hands to a strange god;
21 Shall not God search this out?
For he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long;
We are counted as sheep for the slaughter.
23 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord?
Arise, cast us not off for ever.
24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face,
And forgettest our affliction and our oppression?
25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust:
Our belly cleaveth unto the earth.
26 Rise up for our help,
And redeem us for thy lovingkindness’ sake.
What an engaging psalm of hope. What hope we have in God. It grows from an understanding of what he’s done of old and what we do through him. By reflection and meditation on God’s works we grow to love God more and more.
It is God’s work which is so important to our faith, not our own. Why would an inward examination feed faith? It is God who did the works which our fathers tell to us. It is God who planted and scattered peoples. It is God who saved and delivered. It is God’s favor which. matters and makes a difference. Looking to ourselves is like reaching for a mop to fight a mountain. We are inadequate. Yet, this is no problem, for God fulfills all in all and leads us triumphantly.
Why then do we suffer? Why are we suffering, now? This is such a hard question. I think that’s why the psalms keep returning to the theme of troubles and trials.
Our world is long since broken. It wears down and wears me thin. I feel forgotten and alone in a crowd. Or, what’s even worse, cut off from the crowd and persecuted. It still happens, today. All this may come upon me, and yet, Satan cannot persuade me to forget my Lord.
Our hearts need not turn back due to light momentary afflictions. No affliction feels light or momentary when we’re living in those moments. That is why God gave us these psalms to help our hearts remember the great works of old. Even the simple work of writing down this psalm for our encouragement, today. Thanks be to God.