Did I Do That?
A Devotional Thought From Psalm 44:9-20
9 But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame;
And goest not forth with our armies.
10 Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy:
And they which hate us spoil for themselves.
11 Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat;
And hast scattered us among the heathen.
12 Thou sellest thy people for nought,
And dost not increase thy wealth by their price.
13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours,
A scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.
14 Thou makest us a byword among the heathen,
A shaking of the head among the people.
15 My confusion is continually before me,
And the shame of my face hath covered me,
16 For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth;
By reason of the enemy and avenger.
17 All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee,
Neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.
18 Our heart is not turned back,
Neither have our steps declined from thy way;
19 Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons,
And covered us with the shadow of death.
20 If we have forgotten the name of our God,
Or stretched out our hands to a strange god;
When I was a teenager one of my favorite TV shows had a clumsy, suspender wearing character that was responsible for all kinds of disasters. Whenever he would unintentionally wreak havoc in the lives of those around him then he would say his catch phrase, “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 great defeat and are enduring pain and persecution as a result.
Where does the Psalmist place the blame?
The prayer of the Psalmist does not put the responsibility for the problems of his people on them or their persecutors but on God. It is as though he points his finger upward and says, “you did this.”
Count the “thou” statements in this portion 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 to gently remind her that God had provided the method but she and another man had been the ones putting it to use.
The hunger, the hurting, the helplessness of many could be easily cured by caring and sharing people. I understand that there is a lot of cures that mere man 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.
2. God Is Responsible
One could argue that God is ultimately responsible. That he can step in and stop suffering or injustice. It could be pointed out that he has intervened at times in the past but randomly decides to sit on the sidelines and watch. If this is true, then knowing what we do about his character then surely, we must understand that there is an especially good reason for him to allow it. By faith I believe that there is a bigger plan. I know he cares for me and I know he also cares for more people than me so there are a lot of pieces to this massive puzzle he is putting together. I like the thought that he is in control. It helps me to sleep at night knowing that he is in charge and makes even my bad days into blessings.