Posted by: arieliondotcom | October 13, 2013

Conquering Confusion (Psalm 44)

Conquering Confusion (Psalm 44)

Psalm 44 is about confusion. But as the Bible says the LORD is not the Author of confusion so the lesson is that when we are confused by what GOD does or doesn’t do the issue is a lack of understanding on our part. That lack of understanding is either because we are not using information God gives or we are wanting information that is available only to God.

On first reading you may not even realize you’re supposed to be confused by this song. We might read the introduction thinking it is meant for a group of singers called the Sons of Korah. But as we have seen from the previous two Psalms, that is not how Jewish experts understand it. The confusion comes when we realize that the Sons of Korah are the children of the fellow who was punished by God for rebelling against Moses and Aaron. In other words, the first half of this psalm was written by people who lived before the events they are writing about take place. They hadn’t taken over the Promised Land yet. They were the people the stories they’re talking about being told were written about.

Those who don’t believe the Bible is true, or who want to pick and choose what they won’t believe, will tell you that it’s because the Psalm was written much later than it says it was written.

Those who believe the Bible and do what it says (“Do not rely on your own understanding”) recognize it as prophecy. That is how Jewish scholars see it.

But wait! There’s more!

around the middle of the song is the word “Selah.” Another mystery! We are not sure what this word means. But it seems to mean “pause” or “break.” And that fits here because the second half of the song seems to be blaming God instead of praising Him.

The Jewish interpretation is “even if You (G-D) did all of these things to us we would believe in You anyway.” But that is because they didn’t have all of the Bible we have today.

The Jewish rabbi we would come to know as the Apostle Paul quotes this Psalm in the eighth chapter of his letter to the Romans. He gives us the key to this Psalm the writers did not have. And it is also the key to conquering confusion in our lives.

The Sons of Korah had seen their father swallowed up by the earth for opposing GOD’s instructions through Moses and Aaron. Moses had already taught them that a greater prophet than he, the Messiah, was coming. They knew that GOD would save them. They prophesied about getting the Promised Land by defeating their enemies. The missing piece of information which Paul gives us in Romans is that following the Messiah will mean suffering for us. And that suffering is not a punishment from GOD but an honor.

The second half of Psalm 44 is the prophecy of what the apostles would say after JESUS is resurrected and they are doing His work. All of the Old Testament prophets suffer for doing what God told them to do in order to get His message across to sinful Israel. The Apostle Paul clarifies that they suffered looking forward to the Messiah but Christians suffer out of gratitude, looking back at what JESUS did for them.

Christians are left on earth after being saved in order to make other Christians. Whether it’s simply telling others what JESUS means to them, telling others how to find JESUS, supporting ministries that spread the Gospel or helping those who are in need, so they will see the Love of JESUS in us, we are alive to serve Him out of gratitude. He suffered and died to give us eternal life. But that begins on earth by seeking others to come with us.

The world is no different than it was when He walked on it in human feet. As He told us, those who would hate Him will hate us when we are living through His Holy Spirit. We smell like Him and will repel those heading to death and attract those called to Life. That means we will suffer. But it’s a temporary suffering we can endure with joy because it’s only temporary before eternal joy He has bought for us.

Our suffering doesn’t buy the joy. JESUS already does that. But as clean sheets and a warm bed are that much more luxurious after standing in the cold outside, the rest will be the sweeter for the struggle of getting there.

The Sons of Korah prophesied how prophets would suffer and even die to spread the Word of GOD. But even beyond that, they prophesied how Christians, following JESUS the Word of GOD, would consider suffering to tell others about eternal Life in Him, even to death, was an honor knowing they have eternal Life.

As the Psalm closes we are reminded that the suffering is part of His kindness in allowing us to share with others the salvation of the new Life to come. It is real suffering here and now. And we call on His kindness, not our suffering, as the only basis for His help.

When we are confused about why we suffer we can know that when we are trusting JESUS for forgiveness and eternal Joy He will use our response to suffering as a testimony to others and, perhaps, the very thing that leads them to Him themselves. How much greater will our own joy in eternity be knowing we were used like that?

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