Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
1 O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old: 2 you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free; 3 for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.
4 You are my King, O God; ordain salvation for Jacob! 5 Through you we push down our foes; through your name we tread down those who rise up against us. 6 For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me. 7 But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. 8 In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah
Sometimes I get the idea that believers genuinely think the Lord acted miraculously and personally in the past, but today for some odd reason, he has stopped being that sort of God. This particular belief system is called dispensationalism. It essentially dismisses the idea that God is actively working in our world today and relegates our faith to believe what we read in the Bible without the experience of the biblical characters.
Psalm 44 seeks to disabuse us of that notion. The psalmist realizes that the same God that led the armies of Israel in the past is ready to lead Israel's army in the present. The Israelites, are called to trust in the Lord just as their ancestors did at Jericho and to believe that the Lord will similarly act in their behalf. It will not be Israel's military prowess that will secure them a victory, but the Lord himself. (verse 3)
We have an even greater promise than the psalmist had. The writer to the Hebrews states that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). We can trust that Christ will work in our lives just as he worked in the lives of those he ministered to during his earthly ministry. We can believe that the same gift of the Holy Spirit that worked in the Apostles and in the early church will also work in us and in the same way. We know the exalted Christ will pour all the resources of His grace that we need into His body, the church. What we have heard with our ears and read in precious scripture, we can now experience in our lives.
Isaac Watts captures the gist of Psalm 44 in this beautiful hymn:
O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home.
Under the shadow of thy throne, Still may we dwell secure; Sufficient is thine arm alone, And our defense is sure.
Before the hills in order stood, Or earth received her frame, From everlasting, thou art God, To endless years the same.
Does the God of scripture seem different from the God you actually know? Ask the Lord to show you that He is the same God and will work in similar ways in your life.
O Lord, it is easy to read scripture as some marvelous exception to how you act. Please help me to realize that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever. I invite you and ask you to be the same God and Father who worked in the life of your Son. Amen.