On Psalm 44—Part 3
(Ps 44:18) Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;
(Ps 44:19) Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.
The word translated "dragons" in the KJV is rendered "jackals" in modern translations. Indeed, the word is a plural form that refers to animals that wailed (Mi 1:8) and lived in ruins of desolated cities (Is 13:22, Is 34:13, Jer 9:11, Jer 10:22, Jer 49:33, Jer 51:37). The word is also mentioned in the context of land lacking water in Is 43:20. The association of this word with desolated places indicates that Ps 44:18-19 speaks of persecuted believers who have to seek refuge and hide. Clearly, those covered "with the shadow of death" are in danger of losing their life. A more detailed discussion of this word appears in the תנים article.
(Heb 11:37)EMTV They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tried, they were slain, being murdered with the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, being in want, being afflicted, being ill treated,
(Heb 11:38) of whom the world was not worthy, wandering in deserts and mountains and caves, and the holes of the earth.
(Ps 44:20) If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;
(Ps 44:21) Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
The fact that God did not search the people of Ps 44:20-21 for the sins mentioned in Ps 44:20 is evidence that they have not committed those sins. While this evidence is normally not visible to people, it is visible to angels. Indeed, God does not search out things in order to learn something, for he already knows everything. Rather, because "he knoweth the secrets of the heart", he searches the heart in order to reveal things in the heart to those in heaven. This searching involves various tests that visibly reveal what is in the heart. Thus, searching and testing is mentioned in the context of the request "know my heart" in Ps 139:23. "Know my heart" is a request that God would know the heart by experience, not just based on God's perfect inner knowledge.
(Ps 44:22) Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.
(Jn 15:21) But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
Some believers have been granted "not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake" (Php 1:29). God is glorified when his people persevere in spite of troubles. The way people respond reveals God's justice in his dealings with them (cf. Ro 3:4-5). God also uses believers to reveal his wisdom to angels (Eph 3:10). The apostle Paul mentioned the angels when he stated that the apostles were made "a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men" (1Co 4:9).
(Ps 44:23) Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.
(Ps 44:24) Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?
(Ps 44:25) For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth.
The extraordinary difficulty of the circumstances mentioned in this psalm makes those facing them to feel as if God were not paying attention to them, as if he would sleep or hide his face. The truth is that God does not sleep and does not hide his face from his people. "He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep" (Ps 121:3-4).
(Ro 8:35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
(Ro 8:36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
(Ro 8:37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
(Ro 8:38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
(Ro 8:39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Ps 44:26)MKJV Arise for our help, and redeem us for the sake of Your mercy.
With God's help, persecuted believers can have the attitude mentioned in the following verses.
(2Co 4:8) We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
(2Co 4:9) Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
(2Co 4:10) Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
(2Co 4:11) For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
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