“He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” ~ Luke 1:54-55
I was reading Psalm 44 the other day and was struck by the vitriol the Psalmist directs towards the Lord. The Psalm begins praising God for his former faithfulness to Israel (vv. 1-8). But then it turns on the Lord and accuses Him of rejecting His people. According the Psalmist, Israel trusted the Lord—only for God to hand them over to be devoured like sheep. Their “Savior” ripped them from their homeland and scattered them throughout the world (vv. 9-11). What’s more, He sold them out—and only for a pittance!
The Psalmist continues to rail against God. Because of YOU, Israel is but a sad joke to the world. Because of YOU, we face death at the hands of the Gentiles (vv. 12-22). Through angry tears, the Psalmist shakes his fist at God and claims that the Lord has forgotten His people, even though Israel has not forgotten Him (vv. 17-21). Although Psalm 121 promises that God never sleeps or slumbers, this Psalm entreats God to rouse from His careless nap and to remember his everlasting covenant.
But it’s interesting to compare the song of Psalm 44 to the canticle of Mary in Luke 1. Consequently, we see that the triumphant proclamations of the latter answer the desperate questions and prayers of the former. God has not rejected his people forever. He hasn’t forgotten his promises to Israel. Through the divine fetus in her womb, Mary knows that God has come near to rescue the descendants of Abraham. Through this Son of David, the Lord will absorb Israel’s shame. She will no longer be the butt of the joke among the nations: she will become a light to salvation for them.
Has God forgotten His people? To such a question, Mary smirks and rubs her pregnant stomach. The conclusion of her song sounds a resounding “NO.”