“Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever” (Psalms 44:23)
The true people of God are tested and tried by God, not to condemn them, but to conform them unto the image of Christ; even to see if they will keep His Commandments, or no (Deuteronomy 8:2); even to show His children the strength and security of His love (Romans 8:36-39, especially 35-37)
“(35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Here in verse 36, Paul quotes verse 22 of Psalm 44, “Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.”
This is the Psalmist’s complaint to God in Psalm 44:22. Hard times had come upon Israel. They had been cast off and put to shame in the view of their enemies. They were scattered and defeated. But the Psalmist reminds God in verses 17-18, that they had not forgotten God: “Our heart is not turned back…” In verse 21 the Psalmist asks God this question, “Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.” God can’t you see the deplorable condition of your sheep? “Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction…?” (verse 24). The Psalmist cries out, “Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever” (verse 23). “Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake” (verse 26).
This may be where you are today. You may be in a test orchestrated by God. Your imaginations are running in the flesh; which makes you look at the circumstances and to your physical welfare, and not to God and what He is doing in your life. You may think you don’t deserve this valley you are now in. You may even doubt God’s past works in your life and in your spirit because of your present situation. You may even think God is asleep and is not concerned with your situation.
These emotions are normal when you first enter into your test of faith. But these emotions also prove why you need the test, because you need to learn:
- Who you are:
- Stop self-justification (Psalms 44:10-22); be still and quiet
- Stop looking at the circumstances and look to God for His reason for the test
- Which is to prove to yourself who you are; whether you will keep His commandments or no (Deuteronomy 8:1-6)
- Who God is to you:
- He is sovereign (Psalm 115:3); He has a plan and is in complete control of His plan for you (Job 23:1-14; Proverbs 19:21)
- He is your salvation(Psalm 118:14)
- Your security (Psalm 20:7; Romans 8:31-39; Hebrews 13:5c; Psalms 121:1-6)
- Your supply (Philippians 4:19; Romans 8:28)
- Your strength (2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Romans 8:1-16)
- He is your sanctification(John 17:17, 19)
- Brings you to freedom (John 8:31-36)
- Brings you to confession (Job 42:1-6)
- Brings you to performance (Philippians 4:13)
- Brings you to perfection (James 1:2-4): “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
The Psalmist in Psalm 44:9-26 is where we are in the valley at first. However, in the valley is a time to learn (Romans 8:31-39). It is a time to grow in grace and knowledge of God our Savior (2 Peter 3:18). It is a time to bear the Fruit of the Spirit of Christ (Galatians 5:22-23). It is a growing and maturing time. It is a time of being made fit for a greater service for God (Deuteronomy 8:1-6).
Therefore, be still and wait on God; listen for His voice in the valley. God is not asleep, but is maturing you.