July 10, 2024

God Asleep?!

Psalm 44:23-26

Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.

—  Psalm 44:23

We all need sleep. Without it our bodies and minds can’t function properly. Though we don’t know why, God built sleep into what it means to be a human being.

But what about God—does God ever sleep? In Psalm 44, the psalmist asks if God is asleep and urges God to rouse himself. What?!

In another passage, the Bible assures us that God, who created the heavens and the earth, will “neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4).

But in Psalm 44 it seems that, to the psalmist and the people, God is silent. It feels to them like God is asleep. We don’t know the circumstances of this lament, but we can see that God’s people are in a desperate situation. They have been defeated by an enemy, and it seems that God has rejected them (vv. 5-11).

Yet the people feel innocent, saying they had not forgotten God or his promises (vv. 17-18). They remind God of his past faithfulness and urge him to show with power his steadfast, unfailing love for his covenant people.

Psalm 44 ends on a bleak note, without any clear declaration or assurance from God. Yet two things are clear in this psalm: God wants us to call out to him in our desperate times, and he takes it as a mark of trust and love when we do. God’s answer may not be immediate or to our liking, but he knows what we need and when.

Father, you never sleep, and you are always faithful. Help us to trust in you as we wait for your answers to all our needs. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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