All this has befallen us, though we have not forgotten you, and we have not been false to your covenant. Our heart has not turned back, and our steps have not turned aside from your way. But you have crushed us in a place of jackals, and have covered us with deep shadow.” (Psalm 44:17–19, LEB)

Sobering words from the sons of Korah here.

If they had forgotten God and been false to his covenant and the Lord had crushed them “in a place of jackals,” that would be expected.  Unfaithfulness is duly punished.  The difficulty here is that the ones who are lamenting have not been unfaithful, on the contrary they have followed the Lord as they should do.  They expect to receive shalom for this; peace and prosperity.  They do not.

Here is the God that we do not fully understand.

A couple of things to remember here:

  1. When we experience this treatment from God we are in good company.  We get to look back 3000 years and see that David and other psalmists are as flummoxed by this treatment from God as we are.
  2. Lament is good.  The psalmists didn’t hold in their feelings and just sort of suck it up and deal with the pain and lack of shalom.  They complained.  They lamented.  They poured out their feelings to God.
  3. Lament demonstrates faith!  Would the Sons of Korah have this complaint to God if they did not believe that he existed or that he refused to listen to them?  Not at all.  The very act of lament is a demonstration that we believe that God hears us and cares about us and responds to our complaint.
  4. It’s not about us. One thing that we are reminded of when God appears to be asleep is that he has a Grand Plan of redemption which he is working out as he sees fit.  We play only a minuscule part in the plan and it isn’t about us and our happiness and prosperity. It’s about God and his plan and his overarching wisdom in carrying it out.
  5. God’s promises are true even in our despair.  Whether or not God “rescues” us from our despair and difficulty, his promises are true and will be accomplished.  He will bring us through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and we will be in fellowship in his presence forever.