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The Scriptorium

Wake-up Call

The sons of Korah call us to wake-up to our great and glorious God. Psalm 44

Psalms of the Sons of Korah: Introduction (7)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 44.5-8
Through You we will push down our enemies;
Through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us.
For I will not trust in my bow,
Nor shall my sword save me.
But You have saved us from our enemies,
And have put to shame those who hated us.
In God we boast all day long,
And praise Your name forever.

Sing Psalm 44.5-8, 23-26

(Faithfulness: Great is Thy Faithfulness)
Through You shall we all our enemies vanquish; them will we trample in Your mighty Name.
We will not trust in our strength or our wisdom; Jesus will save us; we’ll boast of His fame!
Refrain vv, 23-26
Rise up, awake, O Lord! Hide not Your face from us,
see our affliction, our suffering and pain!
See how our soul is sunk down with oppression;
rise up and help and redeem us we pray!

Read Psalm 44, meditate on verses 23-26

1. What did the psalmists want God to do?

2. Why did they believe He would do that?

Like the psalms of their contemporary, Asaph, the psalms of the sons of Korah offer a wake-up call to the people of God of their day. They sought to awaken the people to the greatness of God and of their calling to worship Him. The sons of Korah offered the people of their day words of self-examination, reminders of God’s work in the past, celebrations of His beauty and greatness, liturgies of comfort and revival, and guidelines for their journey and mission with the Lord.

The temple of Solomon had just been built, and the people were worshiping in a new and magnificent way, such as Israel never had worshiped before. The sons of Korah sought to enhance this worship by waking-up the people to the great salvation God had graciously provided them, urging them on in seeing the Lord and laying hold on His promises.

We’ll be looking at each psalm in this sequence, taking them in order as they appear in the Scriptures – which is not, in every case, the same as the order in which they were composed. These poems, prayers, and songs contain powerful images, memorable language, and abounding hope for the people of God in every age.

And the greatest hope of all – one which the sons of Korah do not fail to put before us – is the hope that God Himself might “Awake!” and “Arise!” to our aid,  to “help” and “redeem” and raise and restore us, that the praise of His glory may extend to all the nations and peoples of the earth.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The sons of Korah ask provocative, but not inflammatory, questions of God: “Why do You sleep?” “Why do You hide Your face from us?” “Why do You forget our affliction and our oppression?”

As to the first question, we might be inclined to say, “That’s not even a relevant question!” We know we can sleep in peace because God never sleeps. Didn’t David say, “He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep”? (Ps. 121.3, 4)

As for the second question, we all know that God must hide His face from our sins because “[He is] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness” (Hab. 1.13). He even turned away from His Own dear Son when He was covered in our sins, as we learn from Jesus when He cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27.46).

And finally, the third question about being forgotten by our heavenly Father just isn’t valid – except as an expression of one who feels separated from God. God, we know, does not forget us. “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid…for the LORDyour God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31.6). Hebrews 13.5 restates this same precious promise: “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

The sons of Korah pique our interest with these rhetorical questions. And that is good. But these questions also  lead us to the knowledge that we are the ones who need to “Awake!” and we are the ones in need of help and forgiveness. And that help is just a request away. “LORD, our soul is bowed down to the dust; and our body clings to the ground. Arise for our help, and redeem us for Your mercies’ sake” (Ps. 44.25, 26)

The psalms of the sons of Korah will be for us a much-needed “Wake-up Call”.

1. Why do we sometimes feel that God has turned His face away from us, or left us all alone? What’s the remedy to feeling this way?

2. The sons of Korah will focus us more intently on the beauty, greatness, and might of God. How should we expect to benefit from such a focus?

3. Do we need a “wake-up call” from time to time? Explain.

Israel’s God does not sleep (121:3, 4; Is. 40:28). The cry to awake is an appeal for God to act on behalf of His people. The cry is based on the people’s faith that the L
ORD will forgive. In v. 12, the people suggested that God had sold them; here they ask Him to redeem them—to buy them back for Himself. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible Notes on Psalm 44.23-26

Closing Prayer: Psalm 44.1, 2 23-26

Call on the Lord to awaken to the needs of His people in these trying times, and to come to their aid, bringing conviction of sin, the promises of His covenant, and the strength of His Spirit for revival, renewal, and awakening.

Sing Psalm 44.1, 2, 23-26

(Faithfulness: Great is Thy Faithfulness)
O God our ears have heard, ancients have taught us, all that You did for them long years ago,
how by Your hand You defeated the nations, and to the promised land let Israel go.
Refrain vv. 23-26
Rise up, awake, O Lord! Hide not Your face from us,
see our affliction, our suffering and pain!
See how our soul is sunk down with oppression;
rise up and help and redeem us we pray!

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Praying the Psalms
In this series, we are examining twelve psalms, learning their content, drawing on their wisdom, and praying and singing them to the Lord. For a fuller explanation of how to pray the psalms, order a copy of our book, God’s Prayer Program. It’s free by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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