A petition for succour and relief.
Verses 1-8 Former experiences of God's power and goodness are strong supports to faith, and powerful pleas in prayer under present calamities. The many victories Israel obtained, were not by their own strength or merit, but by God's favour and free grace. The less praise this allows us, the more comfort it affords, that we may see all as coming from the favour of God. He fought for Israel, else they had fought in vain. This is applicable to the planting of the Christian church in the world, which was not by any human policy or power. Christ, by his Spirit, went forth conquering and to conquer; and he that planted a church for himself in the world, will support it by the same power and goodness. They trusted and triumphed in and through him. Let him that glories, glory in the Lord. But if they have the comfort of his name, let them give unto him the glory due unto it.
Verses 9-16 The believer must have times of temptation, affliction, and discouragement; the church must have seasons of persecution. At such times the people of God will be ready to fear that he has cast them off, and that his name and truth will be dishonoured. But they should look above the instruments of their trouble, to God, well knowing that their worst enemies have no power against them, but what is permitted from above.
Verses 17-26 In afflictions, we must not seek relief by any sinful compliance; but should continually meditate on the truth, purity, and knowledge of our heart-searching God. Hearts sins and secret sins are known to God, and must be reckoned for. He knows the secret of the heart, therefore judges of the words and actions. While our troubles do not drive us from our duty to God, we should not suffer them to drive us from our comfort in God. Let us take care that prosperity and ease do not render us careless and lukewarm. The church of God cannot be prevailed on by persecution to forget God; the believer's heart does not turn back from God. The Spirit of prophecy had reference to those who suffered unto death, for the testimony of Christ. Observe the ( psalms 44:25-26 ) but the poor sinner's pleas. None that belong to Christ shall be cast off, but every one of them shall be saved, and that for ever. The mercy of God, purchased, promised, and constantly flowing forth, and offered to believers, does away every doubt arising from our sins; while we pray in faith, Redeem us for thy mercies' sake.
Psalms 44:1-26 . In a time of great national distress, probably in David's reign, the Psalmist recounts God's gracious dealings in former times, and the confidence they had learned to repose in Him. After a vivid picture of their calamities, he humbly expostulates against God's apparent forgetfulness, reminding Him of their faithfulness and mourning their heavy sorrows.
1-3. This period is that of the settlement of Canaan ( Joshua 24:12 , Judges 6:3 ).
have told--or, "related" (compare Exodus 10:2 ).
2. plantedst them--that is, "our fathers," who are also, from the parallel construction of the last clause, to be regarded as the object of "cast them out," which means--literally, "send" them out, or, "extend them." Heathen and people denote the nations who were driven out to make room for the Israelites.
4. Thou art my King--literally, "he who is my King," sustaining the same covenant relation as to the "fathers."
5. The figure drawn from the habits of the ox.
6-8. God is not only our sole help, but only worthy of praise.
7. put . . . to shame--(compare Psalms 6:10 ), disgraced.
8. thy name--as in Psalms 5:11 .
9. But--contrasting, cast off as abhorrent ( Psalms 43:2 ).
goest not forth--literally, "will not go" ( 2 Samuel 5:23 ). In several consecutive verses the leading verb is future, and the following one past (in Hebrew), thus denoting the causes and effects. Thus ( Psalms 44:10-12 ), when defeated, spoiling follows; when delivered as sheep, dispersion follows, &c.
11. The Babylonian captivity not necessarily meant. There were others (compare 1 Kings 8:46 ).
13, 14. (Compare Deuteronomy 28:37 , Psalms 79:4 ).
15. shame of . . . face--blushes in disgrace.
16. Its cause, the taunts and presence of malignant enemies ( Psalms 8:2 ).
17-19. They had not apostatized totally--were still God's people.
18. declined--turned aside from God's law.
19. sore broken--crushed.
place of dragons--desolate, barren, rocky wilderness ( Psalms 63:10 , Isaiah 13:22 ),
shadow of death--(Compare Psalms 23:4 ).
20, 21. A solemn appeal to God to witness their constancy.
stretched out . . . hands--gesture of worship ( Exodus 9:29 , Psalms 88:9 ).
22. Their protracted sufferings as God's people attests the constancy. Paul ( Romans 8:36 ) uses this to describe Christian steadfastness in persecution.
23-26. This style of addressing God, as indifferent, is frequent ( Psalms 3:7 , 9:19 , 13:1 , &c.). However low their condition, God is appealed to, on the ground, and for the honor, of His mercy.