Psalm 44 (like 42-43, written by the sons of Korah) begins almost as if the author had been reading the previous two Psalms. Psalm 44 begins with the community doing exactly what the repeated chorus of Psalms 42-43 prescribes: Trusting their downcast soul to God by rehearsing God’s sovereign and saving grace in the events of Israel’s history. In the Psalm’s first eight verses, we are reminded of God’s particular love for the nation in the past (vv. 1-3), which is appropriated by His people in the present (vv. 4-8). The mighty acts of God are communicated from one generation to the next so as not to be forgotten.
With verse 9 comes a radical shift in both tone and content. In verses 9-16 the Psalmist expresses his bewilderment over the present state of the nation. Notice the repetition of the word “You” in verses 9-14. His pointed language leaves us with no doubt as to the source of the nation’s suffering – it is God. Consider how these emphatic statements demonstrate a high and strong view of God. The problem is not a lack of power, but that God is the active force behind the tribulation that has befallen His people. And all of this is despite Israel’s faithfulness (vv. 17-22). Like Job, the Psalmist denies any national disloyalty to God (both inward and outward).
Finally, in the Psalm’s last four verses (23-26) we find a corporate plea for God to wake up from His apparent slumber and to deliver and restore the nation. The Psalm expresses the tension between God’s promises and unfailing love and the present experience of suffering. It is meant to encourage faith amid trials, particularly trials that appear random and intense.