One highly-valued trait in our culture and time is to be self-sufficient. But is that really a good thing? Doesn’t that kind of run counter to the Bible? Yes, we are to be responsible for our actions. Yes, we are to stand in the strength that God supplies. But the Sons of Korah insist in today’s Bible reading* that God is the source of all of our accomplishments.
Depending on your Bible translation, the title of Psalm 44 says that this is a Psalm or Maskil of the sons of Korah. You may remember the name “Korah”, the Great-Grandson of Levi and the leader of the rebellion against Moses and Aaron in Numbers 16. The Sons of Korah who wrote Psalm 44 were not descendants of that rebel. The name is the same, but this was a different Korah. This Korah and his sons were musicians. Korah’s sons wrote eleven of the Psalms.
Getting back to Psalm 44’s title. There are several types of psalms. One of which is the Maskil. Several of my Bible lexicons (dictionaries) say that a Maskil was possibly a musical term. But the Hebrew word Maskil is based on indicates thought or contemplation. That’s exactly what this psalm is!
The sons of Korah look at how God protected and provided for His people. They say that God — not Israel — defeated Israel’s foes. (Psalm 44:3, 6-7) They realize this and worship God as they contemplate this truth.
It would be easy to gloss over a simple Hebrew word. And it would be easy to gloss over the credit the Sons of Korah give to God for Israel’s victories. But we can learn from the Psalms as models for our prayers, worship, praise, and thanksgiving.
One of my seminary professors, Bruce Leafblad, made a big deal about how we view music in the church. He said that church music is never to be used to amuse. He broke down amuse to its two root words. Muse means “to think”. Adding “a” makes the word mean the opposite. So “amuse” means “to not think”.
In other words, music in church is never to be used to make us not think. Instead, music in the church should challenge our thoughts. Music in the church should center our thoughts on God. Music in the church should stimulate our thoughts about God. And having stimulated our minds, music should kindle our affections for God.
Korah’s sons masterfully challenge us in this Maskil to think about the truth behind God’s protection and provision of His people. God’s people need to be reminded that it is God, not us Who ensures our safety, provides for us, and fights for us.
Look at how you view your life. Are you self-sufficient? Do you think that you’re responsible for all of your successes?
Or are you God-sufficient? Do you think that God is the source of your successes?
Don’t be self-sufficient.
* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
1 Chronicles 1
1 Chronicles 2