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Why Does Paul Use That Downer Verse From Psalm 44 in Romans 8?

So Psalm 44 is really a lament that is asking God why in the world he is doing the things that he’s doing. It’s a people saying that God isn’t making a lick of sense but they know He’s their only rescue and so they are going to hang on—but they are deeply discouraged and filled with questions. We don’t sing like this in our congregations.

And that’s a shame because according to Romans 8 this is still our song. Psalm 44 is still going to happen to you as a Christian. That means you are going to at times feel like God has “sold his people for a trifle”. We’re still going to be a laughing stock to the nations. The sword will still turn on us and we are still going to be afflicted and oppressed when we’ve done nothing wrong and it’ll feel like God is just hiding his face from us. And that’s going to hurt.

“Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!”

That prayer has been answered through God sending His Son as our Rescuer and Redeemer. That’s an already thing. But the use of Psalm 44 in Romans 8 also paints a “not-yet” over that triumph. Psalm 44 is going to happen to you but it isn’t going to separate you from the love of Christ. Why? Because in Christ our slaughter isn’t the end of the story. Because His slaughter wasn’t the end of the story.

So rather than Paul just pulling Psalm 44 out to connect it to the Old Testament, I think it’s actually pretty central to his thought in Romans 8. Creation is groaning. We are suffering. Yet the Lion of the tribe of Judah who himself is a slaughtered Lamb reigns victorious. And because we are united to him, we too shall overcome.


This article about Psalm 44 in Romans originally appeared here, and is used by permission.