The Psalms of David

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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

Psalm 78

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.

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