But thou hast cast off
This, with what follows to ( Psalms 44:17 ) , describe the desolate and afflicted state of the church, under the Gospel dispensation, in some parts and ages of it; and in the light in which it was viewed by the church, previous to the encouragement she took from the consideration of favours and benefits formerly bestowed, and of her covenant interest in God, related in the preceding verses. She looked upon herself as cast off, because afflicted and persecuted, and the Lord did not arise to her immediate help and deliverance; this may regard the ten persecutions under Rome Pagan; (See Gill on Psalms 43:2); and put us to shame;
before men, at the taking of the ark, as Arama; rather for their faith in God, and boasting of him, when he did not appear for them, but suffered them to continue in their afflictions and distresses; which occasioned their enemies to triumph over them, and say unto them, where is your God? and also before God, who being forsaken by him, could not come before him with that holy boldness and confidence they were wont to do; see ( Song of Solomon 2:14 ) ; and goest not forth with our armies;
as the Generalissimo of them; see ( 1 Samuel 8:20 ) ( Judges 4:14 ) ; not leading them forth, and going before them; not teaching their hands to war and their fingers to fight; nor inspiring them with courage and valour; nor giving success and victory to them as formerly; but seeing that Christians, at least in the first ages of Christianity, had no armies in a literal sense, this may rather be understood of the lack of success of the Gospel in some period of it, and of the power and prevalence of antichrist, the man of sin. The Gospel ministry is a warfare; the preachers of it are good soldiers of Christ under him; their weapons are not carnal, but spiritual; great success attended the word in the first times of the Gospel; Christ went forth with his armies conquering and to conquer; and multitudes were subdued by him, and became subjects of him; but in some ages there has been but little success, few have believed the report of the Gospel, and been converted by it; Christ's ministers have laboured in vain, Satan's kingdom, though attacked, yet not weakened, nor Christ's kingdom enlarged, but rather all the reverse; antichrist has been suffered, as to make war with the saints, so to prevail and overcome, and will do so, ( Revelation 13:4 Revelation 13:7 ) ( 11:7 ) ; but it will not be always the case, Christ will go forth with his armies, and make great conquests again, ( Revelation 11:15 ) ( 17:14 ) ( 19:11-16 ) ; this may refer to the wars of the Papists with the Waldenses and Albigenses, who were vanquished by the former.