Psalm 44: 23-26 Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not cast us off forever! Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression? For we sink down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. Rise up, come to our help. Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.

One of the Bible verses that many of us learned Psalm 50:15
"Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."

Has a tendency to be misunderstood – it works like this – if it is a day of trouble, I should call upon God – but things are not so bad today – I can make it own my own – therefore there is no need to call upon God now.

Most days we cannot identify with the writer of this psalm, we do not feel abandoned by God - stricken smitten and afflicted – on a bad day we may feel afflicted, but life, on the whole, is pretty good. And since life is pretty good, we find ourselves caught up in all the business of the everyday – and that alone is a good reason to stop and ask yourself – are the things which keep you so busy today, things which are going to matter next month, next year, or in 20 years – and are the things which are important today, going to be important tomorrow, or further in the future?

That is what Ash Wednesday is really all about – ashes to ashes, dust to dust – we came from the earth, we return to the earth – even our monuments do not stand the test of time. Even our treasures do not last, and we certainly cannot take them with us.

And it is in that instant, that we remember our mortality – that we want God to speak, to comfort us, to deliver us – and we call to God – but we do not hear an answer – we call to God, and take the silence as a sign that God has fallen asleep.

But perhaps the problem is that we are looking in the wrong direction – looking to the past, and asking God to save the past – looking backwards, so that we are not really looking to the Lord God at all, but we are looking at an idol – a false god, known by many names – and known for one thing, not progress – although the term is used a lot. For the false gods do not want to lead us forward – but to either keep us where we are, or to lead us deeper into sin, slavery, and suffering.

Consider if you will the account of Jesus asleep in the boat in the midst of the Sea of Galilee, a storm has arisen, the disciples are making no progress, and now things are so bad that they are in danger of sinking – only then do they waken Jesus with the cry – Don’t you care that we are about to drown? They had tried to save themselves – and only at the last do they turn to Jesus.

It may not seem as though our ship is in any danger – which is why our psalm seeks to wake us, remind us of our mortality, and to remind us of the only name given under heaven by which man can be saved. But to call to God, we must confess our sin, we must turn from our idols, we must repent. But there is no need to repent if we’re all going to live forever, without God – thus the reminder – ashes to ashes, dust to dust – but God is eternal, God is able to save,

But why should God save us? We have no merit or worthiness, we have no hold on him to compel him to help – we may not have been steadfast, but we can remind God of his steadfast love, that is, we remind God about his Son, our Savior, and how Jesus gave his life as a ransom for our sins – when we call on God to save us for the sake of his steadfast love – we are calling on God to save us, for Jesus sake. For in Christ, we are loved with a steadfast love – he does not approve of sins, he does not overlook our sins – but he keeps on loving us, at the times when we are most unworthy of any love. And as we are remembering our mortality, we also remember that Jesus gave us his life, laid down his immortality, that he might redeem us, and that in the forgiveness of sins – God might no longer turn away from us – but lift up his countenance upon us and give us His peace – all for Jesus sake.