For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep (Psalm 44:22).

The Bible is not propaganda. Unlike some governments that share only positive reviews, Scripture records the words of people who are frustrated with God. Psalm 44 begins by remembering conquests that inspire trust in Him. “O God . . . our ancestors have told us of all you did in their day. . . . You crushed their enemies and set our ancestors free” (Psalm 44:1-2). The psalmist concluded, “You are my King and my God” (Psalm 44:4).

But something had gone wrong. The psalmist complained that God no longer defended His people: “You have butchered us like sheep and scattered us among the nations. You sold your precious people for a pittance” (Psalm 44:11-12). The reader assumes that Israel must be guilty of some sin against God, such as idolatry. But the psalmist says no. “All this has happened though we have not forgotten you. We have not violated your covenant” (Psalm 44:17).

What gives? The psalm concludes by imploring God to wake up and rescue His people, because “for your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep” (Psalm 44:22). God inspired the descendants of Korah to write this lament, then left it unresolved for a thousand years. Its anguished cry gave generations of God’s children a model for the way to respond when they felt they’d been wrongly treated. Even Jesus encouraged us to keep knocking (Matthew 7:7-11).

It’s appropriate that Jesus weighed in, for His resurrection finally resolved this lament. Paul quoted Psalm 44:22 in Romans 8:36-39, declaring that though “we are killed every day,” nothing—not even death—can separate us from the love of Jesus. God’s love is stronger than death, and it’s strong enough to bear our lament. Cry out to God; He has big shoulders.

This post was written by Mike Wittmer and first appeared on odb.org

Big Shoulders