Did I Do That?
A Devotional Thought From Psalm 44:6-11
Psalm 44:6–11 6For I will not trust in my bow, Neither shall my sword save me. 7But thou hast saved us from our enemies, And hast put them to shame that hated us. 8In God we boast all the day long, And praise thy name for ever. Selah. 9But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; And goest not forth with our armies. 10Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: And they which hate us spoil for themselves. 11Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; And hast scattered us among the heathen.
When I was a teenager, one of my favorite TV shows had a clumsy, suspender-wearing character responsible for all kinds of disasters. Whenever he would unintentionally wreak havoc in the lives of those around him. He would say his catchphrase, “Did I do that?”
The inspired author began Psalm 44 by recounting the past victories of God’s people. The Psalm quickly changes tone in verse 9. The people of God have suffered a great defeat and are enduring pain and persecution as a result.
Where does the Psalmist place the blame?
The Psalmist’s prayer does not accept responsibility for the problems of his people. The blame is not placed upon God’s people or their persecutors but on God himself. It is as though he points his finger upward and says, “you did this.”
How many “thou” statements in the remainder of the Psalm? I counted seven that place responsibility upon the Lord. Did I count correctly?
I imagine the Lord in Heaven responding with this reply, “Did I do that?”
There are a couple of possible answers to that question. Let’s quickly discuss them.
1. God is Not Responsible
The Psalmist prayer says to the Lord, “thou hast” but what if God is not the one who did it? Is it possible for a believer to talk plainly to the Father with a wrong perception of reality? Has anyone else ever come to God seeing things all wrong and had their perception corrected through prayer? I have. I have honestly told God that I thought he did something to me and been lovingly corrected by his Spirit to understand that I was to blame. My favorite thing about the Psalms is how they encourage real and raw dialogue with the Lord.
Many of the things for which we hold the Lord responsible are not the work of his hands.
An unmarried young lady in my congregation confessed that she had cried out to God, “why did you let me get pregnant?” I tried gently reminding her that while God had undoubtedly provided the method, she and her man had put it to use.
The hunger, the hurting, the helplessness of many could be easily cured by caring and sharing people. I understand that there are many cures that mere men cannot contribute, but there are many that we can.
People are greedy; God is not.
People hoard and steal; God does not.
People are cruel, uncaring, and inconsiderate; God is not.
God did not get behind the wheel that day of the accident.
God did not abuse her.
God did not abandon him.
It is not fair to blame God but go ahead and tell him how you feel and let him begin to help you see things clearly.
Did God do that? Maybe someone else is to blame.
2. God Is Responsible
One could argue that God is ultimately responsible for the bad in our lives and our world; he could, after all, step in and stop suffering or injustice.
While one could observe that the Lord has intervened to stop these things in the past, he typically chooses a more subtle approach to carrying out his sovereign plan. Knowing what we do about his character, indeed, we must understand that our great God has an excellent reason for allowing what he does. By faith, I trust that there is a bigger plan. I know he cares for me, and I know he also cares for more than just me. There are many pieces to this massive puzzle he is putting together.
I like the thought that he is in control. It helps me sleep at night knowing that he is in charge and makes even my bad days into blessings.
Did God do that? He does all things well!
So, let's accept responsibility where appropriate and then exercise our faith; we can do that!
My 2021 Bible Reading Plan
April 8, 2021