Something to do
· If you have a Bible, read the Book of Habakkuk.
· When you have trouble, read this psalm. Put verses 1-3 into the present tense, as "I am crying aloud to God".
Tell Your Children
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me. Do not stop them". (Matthew 19:14)
Psalm 78: 1 - 8
(This is one) of *Asaph’s Psalms that Teach Us (about God).
v1 My people, hear what I am teaching you.
Listen to the words that I am saying to you.
v2 I will tell you a story.
I will talk about things hard to understand from past times.
v3 We have heard them and know them
because our fathers told them to us.
v4 We will not hide them from their children.
We will tell future children that they should *praise the *LORD.
(He is) very strong and he has done great things.
v5 He decided what things *Jacob must do and made the *laws in Israel.
He told our grandfathers that they must teach them to their children.
v6 Then those children would know them, even the children still to be born.
When the time came, they too would tell their children.
v7 Then they (the children) would:
· believe that God would give them help
· not forget what God had done
· obey his *laws
v8 So they would not be like their grandfathers who:
· would not listen to God
· would not obey him
· did not make God their leader
· did not continue to follow him
The Story of Psalm 78
We do not know who wrote the psalm. Maybe it was Isaiah after the fall of Ephraim, 720 years before Jesus was born. Ephraim was the name of the largest group of families in Israel.
The whole psalm is a story, the story (*history) of God’s people until the time of King David. It tells us that God was good to his people, but they were not good to him. They did not obey him. That is the problem in verse 2. We could translate it as "question" or "secret" or "puzzle". It is something that we want an answer to. It is still true today. We still ask, "Why do people not obey God, when he is so good to them?" Read the psalm and find the answer!
After the first 8 verses, above, verses 9 - 72 are in 6 parts. Each part tells a bit of the story.
God Saved Israel from Egypt and Gave them Water in the *Desert
Psalm 78: 9 - 17
v9 The people of Ephraim had bows and *arrows for war.
But they ran away when the war started!
v10 They did not keep the *covenant of God.
They refused to obey his *laws.
v11 And they forgot what he had done
and the *wonderful things that he had shown them.
v12 He did *miracles in front of their fathers.
(He did them) in the country of Egypt, in the part (they called) Zoan.
v13 He made a road in the sea and led them through it.
He built the waters into a wall (on both sides).
v14 He showed them the way with a cloud in the day
and with light from a fire all night.
v15 He broke rocks in the *desert
and gave (his people) water from deep (in the earth).
v16 He made streams to come from the rocks
so that the waters ran like rivers.
v17 But they continued to *sin against him.
They fought against the *Most High in the *desert.
What verses 9 - 17 mean
The questions, or problems, from past times (verses 2, 8-9) continue here. God did great things (or *wonderful things or *miracles) for his people, but they did not obey him. Why?
Because, like us, they wanted to do what they liked, not what God wanted! They did not keep the *covenant of God, verse 10. A *covenant is when two groups of people agree what to do. Here one group is God, the other is his people. God agreed to give them help, and they agreed to obey his *laws, or rules, verse 7. In this psalm "*laws" maybe means only the rules in the first 5 books of the Bible.
In verse 9, we have a picture of this. Ephraim (a big group of people in Israel) had everything they needed to fight a war ... but they ran away! God gave his people everything that they needed ... but they did not obey his *laws. In this part of the psalm we read about three *miracles that God did for his people:
· Verses 12 - 13 He led them from Egypt to a country that would be theirs. To do this he made a road through the sea. The water was like a wall on both sides of them. This was a *miracle because only God can make a road through a sea. God did this, but his people still did not obey his *laws or keep the *covenant.
· Verse 14 He showed them the way through the *desert. He did this with a special cloud in the day and the light of a fire in the sky at night. Again, they did not keep the *covenant!
· Verses 15 - 16 It was dry in the *desert, and they had nothing to drink. They thought that they would die, but God gave them water. But even then "they continued to *sin against him and fought against the *Most High", verse 17. We "*sin" when we do not obey God.
So there are examples of the problem from *history. It is a problem that we still have.
God Gave His People Food in the *Desert, But They Still Did Not Obey Him
Psalm 78: 18 - 31
v18 They made a plan to *test God.
They demanded the food that they liked best!
v19 And they spoke against God.
They said, "Can God do it?
Can he prepare a table in the *desert?
v20 It is true that when he hit a rock, water came out,
streams of water were everywhere.
But can he also give bread?
Can he supply meat for his people?’
v21 When the *LORD heard (this) he was very angry.
So he sent fire against *Jacob
and also his *fury against Israel.
v22 (He did this) because they did not believe that God (could do it),
or that he had the power to save them.
v23 So he gave an *order to the clouds over (them)
and opened the doors in the skies.
v24 He rained *manna down on them, for them to eat.
He gave them bread from *heaven.
v25 People ate the (same) bread that *angels ate.
(God) sent them plenty of food.
v26 Then (God) sent an east wind blowing through the skies.
And he was so strong that he also sent a south wind.
v27 And he rained meat down on them like powder.
(He rained) flying birds on them *like sand by the sea.
v28 He made them fall where (his people) were living,
all round their *tents.
v29 And they ate as much as they needed.
God gave them what they wanted.
v30 But before they ate all that they wanted
(while the food was still in their mouths),
v31 God became very angry with them.
He killed the strongest of them
and sent the young men of Israel to their deaths.