Summary: When one of the Sons of Korah looked at the current horrible disasters, he could not understand why God allowed these things. Like him, we struggle with reconciling God’s character and what God permits, especially when it strikes close to home.
Is God A Has Been?
1. We do not have a lot of information about the Sons of Korah, but we do about their competing group, the Sons of Asaph.
2. According to I Chronicles 25:1-3, "David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. [some] who prophesied, using the harp in thanking and praising the LORD.
3. So among these musicians were also prophets, and thus it is easy to see why some of their Psalms were accepted as inspired. And, based upon some of the Psalms they wrote, some Psalmists were also theologians. Today’s Psalm is a lament, a cry of grief. The Psalmist tries to reconcile the loss he feels with the goodness of God.
4. I deal a lot with grieving people. Sometimes I am one of them. The older I get, the more comfortable I am being human and the more I accept the human condition. This includes grief.
5. Grief usually comes from loss; some loss is normal and expected, as when elderly relatives die, for example.
6. Others seem unusually unfair and beyond what we can bear. The death of children, a natural disaster killing hundreds or thousands, a sudden marital break-up that comes out of nowhere, or a child that becomes a drug addict.
7. The particulars vary, but the theme is common: sometimes godly people suffer for no apparent reason. This is the struggle of Psalm 44, a one of a kind Psalm that serves as part of the basis for the New Testament perspective on suffering.
8. We do not know when this Psalm was written, but Amos 1:6, 9 records a time when whole communities of Israelites were taken & sold as slaves. This may not be the context for this Psalm, but it is probably something like this which the Psalmist has in mind.
Main Idea: When one of the Sons of Korah looked at the current horrible disasters, he could not understand why God allowed these things. Like him, we struggle with reconciling God’s character and what God permits, especially when it strikes close to home.
I. Our Clarity About What God DID (1-8)
A. God’s VINTAGE reputation (1-2)
B. The THEOLOGY based upon what God had done (3)
C. The WORSHIP based on what God did (4,8)
D. The Personal APPLICATION based on the past (5,7)
I look back at my own life, how I came to know Christ at age 17. How fortunate I was to find a Bible Church where the people tried to allow God to reign from His Word. I remember my call to ministry as I was finishing up my associates in Electronics, my years at Moody, being called to my first church, dating and marrying Marylu, the clear calling that pulled us here to HPC, being blessed with two wonderful children, and delving more deeply into the Scriptures than I thought I ever would. God has done so much for me. It is good to remember, to reflect.
II. Our PERPLEXITY About What God Is Doing (9-26)
A. God seemingly removed his HAND from Israel (9)
1. The Psalmist is expressing how things feel
2. In a sense, he was right; God had permitted what happened
3. But in another sense, he was wrong; God was not discipling them and God was not unconcerned
B. The ISRAELITES were horribly ABUSED (10-12)
C. This happened despite ISRAEL’S faithful walk with God (13-22)
• vs. 22, Derek Kidner, "…suffering may be a battle-scar rather than a punishment…"
• When the Hebrews conquered Canaan, they did so with God’s help and won overwhelming victories, but they still lost some soldiers.
• Verse 22 is one of two key verses of the Psalm
• Why does God allow these things? Because by suffering, we make ourselves sacrifices and thus worship the Lord with our suffering.
• Is your life so different from the mainstream because of your faith that you suffer for Jesus? Do people sometimes exclude you or accuse you of believing that the earth is flat because of your faith? These are offerings.
D. A plea for God to INTERVENE (23-26)
• The other key verse is verse 26. Note how the Psalm ends with God’s hesed, his faithful love. This is gigantic.
Application: To inflict harm upon ourselves is unproductive, as Colossians 2:20-23 teaches. Bu when God brings suffering in our lives for HIS Sake, suffering is transformed to sacrifice and becomes a way to honor God.
III. The New Testament MIDRASH (Romans 8:35-39)
A. CHRISTIANS suffer similar miseries (35-36)
• This is the crux: we suffer for God’s glory… "For THY sake…"