|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
44:17-26 In afflictions, we must not seek relief by any sinful compliance; but should continually meditate on the truth, purity, and knowledge of our heart-searching God. Hearts sins and secret sins are known to God, and must be reckoned for. He knows the secret of the heart, therefore judges of the words and actions. While our troubles do not drive us from our duty to God, we should not suffer them to drive us from our comfort in God. Let us take care that prosperity and ease do not render us careless and lukewarm. The church of God cannot be prevailed on by persecution to forget God; the believer's heart does not turn back from God. The Spirit of prophecy had reference to those who suffered unto death, for the testimony of Christ. Observe the pleas used, ver. 25,26. Not their own merit and righteousness, but the poor sinner's pleas. None that belong to Christ shall be cast off, but every one of them shall be saved, and that for ever. The mercy of God, purchased, promised, and constantly flowing forth, and offered to believers, does away every doubt arising from our sins; while we pray in faith, Redeem us for thy mercies' sake.
Verse 20. - If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out (rather, spread out) our hands to a strange god. If Israel had either forgotten the true God (see above, ver. 17) or fallen away to the worship of false or strange gods - then her ill success against her foreign enemies would have been fully accounted for, since it would only have been in accordance with the threatenings of the Law (Leviticus 26:14-17; Deuteronomy 28:15-23); but as she had done neither of these things, her defeats and depressed condition seemed to the psalmist wholly unaccountable. We trace here the same current belief, which comes out so strongly in the Book of Job - the belief that calamities were, almost of necessity, punishments for sin; and that when they occurred, and there had been no known precedent misconduct, the case was abnormal and extraordinary.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
If we have forgotten the name of our God,.... As antichrist, and the antichristian party did in those times, Daniel 11:36;
or stretched out our hands to a strange god; as not to any of the Heathen deities under the Pagan persecutions, so not to any images of gold, silver, brass, and wood, under the Papal tyranny; not to the Virgin Mary, nor to angels and saints departed; nor to the breaden God in the mass, never heard of before; see Daniel 11:38.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20, 21. A solemn appeal to God to witness their constancy.
stretched out … hands—gesture of worship (Ex 9:29; Ps 88:9).
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