Complaining to God – Psalm 44

During the birth of our fourth child, when the contractions were becoming too difficult to handle gracefully, I decided to complain. I don’t like letting my tongue get out of control so in the agonizing peak of a contraction I ground my teeth and clipped with the strongest language I could muster, “I. don’t. like. this.”

The writer of Psalm 44 claims God is dealing with his people unfairly, and recites some facts about how God helped his people in the past. He also submits himself to God as his king and offers praise. (This is remarkable because when I’m complaining I’m not thinking about submission or praise).

Then he lists his complaints.
“You made us retreat before the enemy and our adversaries have plundered us. You gave us up to be devoured like sheep and have scattered us among the nations. You sold your people for a pittance, gaining nothing from their sale” (Psalm 44:10-12 NIV).

The list continues.

“You have made us a reproach to our neighbors, the scorn and derision of those around us. You have made us a byword among the nations; the peoples shake their heads at us. I live in disgrace all day long, and my face is covered with shame at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me …” (verse 13-16).

In the next few verses he claims the innocence of his people.

“All this came upon us, though we had not forgotten you; we had not been false to your covenant. Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path” (verse 17-18).

“If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?” (verse 20-21).

We aren’t told how God responded to these complaints, but the writer finishes Psalm 44 with a plea for rescue because of his unfailing love. Whether guilty or innocent we need God’s never-ending love.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis