Why are we in shame? (Ps 44:17-44:19)

“All this has come upon us.

Yet we have not forgotten you.

We have not been false to your covenant.

Our heart has not turned back.

Our steps have not departed from your way.

Yet you have broken us in the haunt of jackals.

You have covered us with deep darkness.”

The psalmist complained about what has happened to them. They did not forget God. They remembered his covenant. Their hearts and their steps are still turned to God since they have not departed from his ways. Yet they are broken down. They have been covered with a deep darkness. They want to know why. What did they do wrong?

The wicked are against the light (Job 24:13-24:17)

There are those who rebel against the light.

They are not acquainted with its ways.

They do not stay in its paths.

The murderer rises in the dark,

In order to kill the poor and the needy.

In the night he is like a thief.

The eye of the adulterer also waits for the twilight,

Saying,

‘No eye will see me.’

He disguises his face.

In the dark they dig through houses.

By day they shut themselves up.

They do not know the light.

Deep darkness is morning to all of them.

They are friends with the terrors of deep darkness.”

This is a diatribe against the darkness. The wicked rebel against the light. They do not like the light. That is why murderers like the darkness. They are like a thief at night. They attack the poor and the needy. The adulterers think that no one will see them at night. In fact, they prefer the twilight and do not like the morning sun. Deep darkness is all around them and their terrors. Thus the common theme of darkness, black, and bad versus light and goodness.

The punishment of Heliodorus (2 Macc 3:24-3:28)

“When Heliodorus arrived at the treasury with his bodyguard, then and there the Sovereign of spirits and of all authority caused so great a manifestation that all who had been so bold as to accompany him were astounded by the power of God. They became faint with terror. There appeared to them a magnificently caparisoned horse, with a rider of frightening mien. It rushed furiously at Heliodorus and struck at him with its front hoofs. Its rider was seen to have armor and weapons of gold. Two young men also appeared to him, remarkably strong, gloriously beautiful and splendidly dressed. They stood on each side of him and scourged him continuously, inflicting many blows on him. When he suddenly fell to the ground and deep darkness came over him, his men took him up. They put him on a stretcher and carried him away. This man who had just entered the aforesaid treasury, with a great retinue and his bodyguard, was now unable to help himself. They recognized clearly the sovereign power of God.”

When Heliodorus arrived at the Temple treasury with his bodyguards, he was met by a heavenly manifestation or apparition that showed the power of God. He became faint. Appearing to him was a horse and rider who kicked him. This golden armored rider had 2 other strong, beautifully dressed men to whip him on each side until he fell to the ground. Finally they took him away on a stretcher as he was unable to help himself. This was a show of strength of the sovereign God. To what extent they were real men or not, we do not know, but the effect was real on Heliodorus.