1 For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil.
We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago. 2 With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our fathers; you crushed the peoples and made our fathers flourish. 3 It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.
4 You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob. 5 Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes. 6 I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; 7 but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. 8 In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name for ever. Selah
9 But now you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies. 10 You made us retreat before the enemy, and our adversaries have plundered us. 11 You gave us up to be devoured like sheep and have scattered us among the nations. 12 You sold your people for a pittance, gaining nothing from their sale. 13 You have made us a reproach to our neighbours, the scorn and derision of those around us. 14 You have made us a byword among the nations; the peoples shake their heads at us. 15 My disgrace is before me all day long, and my face is covered with shame 16 at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me, because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge. 17 All this happened to us, though we had not forgotten you or been false to your covenant. 18 Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path. 19 But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals and covered us over with deep darkness. 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, 21 would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart? 22 Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
23 Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us for ever. 24 Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? 25 We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. 26 Rise up and help us; redeem us because of your unfailing love.
When I do not understand
(Verses 1-3) God cast out ungodly nations in Canaan’s Promised Land to plant Israel there. Korah’s sons learned all about that from their fathers. Israel fought, but God gave them the victories. He loved them. That continues to cause them to worship Him by singing together and in solos.
(Verses 4-8) They trust God personally as, “my King and my God.” They battle, but trust God for victory. They boast in God alone and praise Him. Only personal trust in the Lord gives us victory over sin, death and hell. If we turn from our sin to trust Jesus as our saviour, He saves us and gives us eternal life. He died at Calvary to bear our sins for which we deserve to be punished. He rose again and lives today.
(Verses 9-22) So, why are they down? They retreated in battle, plundered, devoured like sheep and scattered by their enemy. They feel rejected, humbled and left alone by God. Other nations once feared them but now reproach, scorn and ridicule them. Many talk about their downfall. Each man feels shameful disgrace being taunted, reproached and reviled by other nations. The claim is that no specific sins, failures, attitudes, straying or failing to obey have come between them and God. God seems to crush them and put them in darkness. Have they been unfaithful to God? Not that they say they can recall. They feel like sheep for the slaughter, but why? They think that God has done it. Why?
(Verses 23-26) They ask God to ‘Awake’, to rouse Himself and not reject them. They ask why He hides from them and forgets their ‘misery and oppression’. They remind Him of that misery. They ask, ‘Rise up and help us: redeem us because of Your unfailing love.’ But God never sleeps. He misses nothing. Do they forget some sin that needs their repentance? God well knows if they need humbling, and to pray to Him from their hearts. How about you?