Where's the Victory?

Psalm 44:9-16

9 But now you have rejected and humbled us;
   You no longer go out with our armies.

10 You made us retreat before the enemy,
  and our adversaries have plundered us.

11 You gave us up to be devoured like sheep
  and have scattered us among the nations.

12 You sold your people for a pittance,
  gaining nothing from their sale.

13 You have made us a reproach to our neighbors,
  the scorn and derision of those around us.

14 You have made us a byword among the nations;
  the peoples shake their heads at us.

15 My disgrace is before me all day long,
  and my face is covered with shame

16 at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me,
  because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.

Israel in its early days recorded one victory after another. God delivered Israel from Egypt. He then took the Israelites through the terrible wilderness and brought them victoriously into the Promised Land. And there they defeated nation after nation.

But the writer of this psalm is concerned that the people of God are no longer experiencing victories. "But You have cast us off and put us to shame, and You do not go out with our armies. You make us turn back from the enemy, and those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves" (vv. 9,10). The psalmist is confused. Why isn't God doing for them now what He had done for His people centuries ago? The author describes the people as sheep being slaughtered, and those that aren't slaughtered are scattered. The people are being sold like commodities on the market. "You make us a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and a derision to those all around us" (v. 13).

Why did this happen? Because God's people had rebelled against Him. They would not listen to His Word nor heed the message of the prophets. For 40 years Jeremiah had pleaded with the people to repent. Oh, they had religion. The temple was filled with activity: more people were attending services, and more sacrifices were being offered. It was tremendously successful, but it was not genuine worship. The Israelites turned the house of God into a den of thieves when it should have been a temple of prayer. And because they rebelled, God had to chasten them. But He also restored them.

When we rebel against God, He will forgive, but He must chasten us. We must reap what we sow. "You have cast us off" (v. 9)--but not forever. "You make us a byword among the nations" (v. 14)--but not forever. God restored His people, and He can restore us.

When you fail to listen to God's Word, the Enemy tries to entice you with lies. Soon you find yourself in sin and rebelling against God, and then He must chasten you. Stay victorious in life. Feed on the truth of God's Word and stay in close fellowship with Him.

The Word of God was given free to us, therefore we should also share it freely with others.
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