God Help Us!

Psalm 44

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 44

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Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

Words marked with a *star are described in the word list at the end.

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The friends of Jesus came to him. They woke him and said, "*Lord, save us! We are dying". He said to them, "Why are you afraid? You do not have much faith". (Matthew 8:25-26) ("Faith" here means "*trusting in Jesus".)

Psalm 44

  (This is) a *maskil.
(It is) for the music leader of the *sons of Korah.

v1   God, we have heard it for ourselves. 
  Our fathers told it to us.
  (They told us) what you did for them a long time ago.

v2   Your hand pushed out the people (that lived in the land)
  and put (our fathers) in.
  You broke (our enemies) but gave help to (our fathers).

v3   (Our fathers) did not get the land by their own *swords.
  Their own power did not win the fight. It was you and
    your right hand
    your arm
    the light on your face
  (that did it) because you were their friend.

v4   You are my king. You are my God.
  You are the one (that said that) Jacob must win.

v5   Because of you, we pushed back our enemies.
  Because of your name, we beat those that fought us.

v6   I do not believe that my bow gave me help.
  I do not think that my *sword won (the fight).

v7   This is because you give us help to beat our enemies.
  You make the people that *hate us ashamed.

v8   We *praise God *all day long.
  We will always *praise your name.  *SELAH

v9   But now you have turned away from us.
  You have made us ashamed.
  You do not go out with our armies.

v10   You make us run away from an enemy.
  Those people that *hate us take what they like from us!

v11   You make us *like sheep so that people can eat us!
  You have thrown us into other countries.

v12   You are selling your people (and the price is) cheap.
  You have sold them and not got anything for it!

v13   You have made us into something that our *neighbours laugh at.
  Everyone round us laughs at us and *scorns us.

v14   We are as nothing among the *nations!
  Everybody is sorry for us.

v15   I am ashamed *all day long.
  I do not know where to look.

v16   (This is) because of:
    the bad things that people say about me
    the people that do bad things to me
    (the people that are) my enemies
    (the people that are) happy because they hurt me.

v17   All this happened to us, but we did not forget you.
  We did not forget our *covenant with you.

v18   Our *hearts did not turn away,
  nor did our feet turn from your path.

v19   But you broke us where the wild animals are.
  You covered us with great *darkness.

v20   If we had
    forgotten the name of our God, or
    lifted up our hands to a foreign god

v21   would God not have discovered it?
  He knows the secrets of (peopleís) *hearts.

v22   Yet because of you, people kill us *all day long.
  They think that we are *like sheep ready for (people to) kill.

v23   *Lord, awake! Why are you asleep?
  Get up! Do not throw us away *for ever!

v24   Why do you hide your face (from us)?
  Why do you forget our trouble
  and the way that people hurt us?

v25   We have fallen down to the earth.
  Our bodies are on the ground.

v26   Wake up and give us help!
  Save us, because of your kind love.

 The Story of Psalm 44

We do not know who wrote Psalm 44. We do not know when they wrote it. When we read the psalm, two things are clear:

    someone had hurt the Jews

    the Jews had done nothing wrong.

We do not know when this happened. Perhaps it was when David was king, or up to 500 years after.

What Psalm 44 means

The psalm is in 3 parts. Verses 1-8 tell us what God did for the Jews when they came into their country. It was not the Jews that won the land for them, but God. His hand (verses 2 and 3) and his arm (verse 3) mean "what God did". (Some Christians say that Godís hand is "the *Holy Spirit" and his arm is Jesus.) The "light on your face" (verse 3) means "the good way that God looked at people so that he did good things for them". The enemies of the Jews were the people that lived in the land before they did.

But in verses 9 to 22 we read that something bad has happened.

The Jews had done nothing wrong, but their enemies had done bad things to them. This often happens to Christian people. Why does God let it happen? He does it to make his people strong. Sheep were animals that people killed for the meat. "Thrown us into other countries" means "put us in countries where we did not live before". The *covenant in verse 17 is what God agreed to do if his people obeyed him. Here, in verses 17-22, the people are saying that they kept their part of the *covenant, but God did not keep his. In other words, they obeyed God, but he did not care for them. We often feel *like this. When it happens we must remember that:

    God lets it happen to make us strong

    we must go on believing in God.

It happened to Jesus, and we must be *like him!

In verses 23 - 26 the person that wrote the psalm prays. He (or she) asks God to wake up and send help! Whatever happens, we must always ask God to send help!

Something to do

Listen to the news on the radio or watch it on the television. When you hear about or see bad things happening to people, pray for them. If they are Godís people, pray harder! It does not mean that they are bad people, but it does mean that God is wanting to make them stronger.

Word list

all day long ~ either every day, or all through the day.

covenant ~ when two people agree they make a covenant.

darkness ~ where there is no light.

for ever (and ever) ~ always, with no end.

hate ~ the opposite of love.

heart ~ part of our body; the Jews thought that you used your *heart to think; so to know it Ďin your heartí or Ďby heartí means that you remember it.

holy ~ very very good; only God is really holy (because he always obeys his rules); Jerusalem was holy because people *worshipped God there.

Holy Spirit ~ a name for God.

like ~ another word for Ďasí.

lord ~ someone with authority (with a capital L a name for God, look after Psalm 25).

maskil ~ a psalm that teaches you something.

nation ~ a group of people (or a country) with a government.

neighbour ~ a person that lives near to you.

praise ~ (noun, or being something) words that say that someone or something is very good.

praise ~ (verb, or doing something) say that someone or something is very good.

praise God ~ say how great that God is.

scorn ~ laugh at someone in a bad way.

SELAH ~ a word often used in the psalms; we do not know what it means, probably stop and think, or pray, or make music.

sons of Korah ~ the people that sang in the *Temple (look in Psalm 43).

sword ~ a long sharp knife that soldiers used.

temple ~ a special building where people *worship God.

trust ~ (noun, or being something) believing that someone will help.

trust ~ (verb, or doing something) believe that someone will help.

worship ~ say that someone is very wonderful.

 

© 2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

July 2001

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