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  • Writer's pictureThe Bald Believer

How Does Psalm 44 Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus?

Daily Devotional and Reading from Psalm 44:21-26

Psalm 44:21–26

21  Shall not God search this out?

For he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

22  Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long;

We are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

23  Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord?

Arise, cast us not off for ever.

24  Wherefore hidest thou thy face,

And forgettest our affliction and our oppression?

25  For our soul is bowed down to the dust:

Our belly cleaveth unto the earth.

26  Arise for our help,

And redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.

This weekend my wife was able to sing one of my favorite songs just before I preached. She sang Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. This song always reminds me of a special person in my life, my nanny. When nanny had a stroke and couldn’t see, she couldn’t eat, she couldn’t drink. I went to see her in that condition and my heart broke. My mom said to hold her hand and talk to her, but I was reluctant because I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t even sure that she could hear me. My mom made me hold her hand and said, “Nannie, if you love Jason squeeze his hand”. She squeezed. Mom said, “Nannie, if you love Jason, blink your eyes”. She closed them slowly, held them tightly closed for a couple of seconds and then opened them again. Although she held a blank stare that seemed to imply blindness she blinked. My mother told me to talk to her but all I could think to say was to tell her that I loved her and read one of my favorite passages from God‘s word. It’s from Romans 8:35-39 that asks, “what can separate us from the love of Christ?” The answer to that question and point of the passage is that nothing can separate us from Christ, especially not suffering and death. After I read that passage and couldn’t think of anything else to say, I began to weep. I had to go hide in a corner. My mom, my wife and a family friend approached the bedside and began to sing the song.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
look full in his wonderful face
and the things of this world will grow strangely dim
in the light of his glory and grace

Physically that precious little lady could not turn her eyes upon Jesus nor can we. Spiritually however, she was able to look to Christ with eyes of faith to find comfort in her most difficult hours. I tell the story a lot because it means so much to me. As I wept and they sang, a nurse passed by and looked at them with strange wonder. Here were smiling women singing around this deathbed. I could read her expression as she asked herself, “why did they seem so joyful? This woman is about to die?” She did not have an understanding of the hope that we have in Jesus and I’m thankful for the witness of these ladies. So, what does that story have to do with Psalm 44? Right in the middle of that passage I read to this suffering saint, Paul quoted from Psalm 44. In verse 36 of Romans 8 he quotes Psalm 44:22.

Psalm 44:22
22  Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long;
We are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

Psalm 44 is a psalm of lament and like so many others we have seen, the Psalmist asks where God is during a period of suffering. The entire nation of Israel was apparently under some sort of persecution. Where was God? Was he sleeping? (Ps 44:23) The song pleads for him to awake and come to Israel‘s rescue. Paul in Romans takes verse 22 and seems to interpret it different than I would have. Paul seems to say, “yes, you are suffering but you’re doing it for a reason.” “Yes, you are persecuted but it’s a privilege and more importantly you are not doing it alone.” Remember today that your pain has purpose and you have a partner who will not leave you.

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