…Psalm 78: Remember the Past–Don’t Repeat it!

Re-blogged from Dec 2012

With Passover soon approaching, as well as the Easter season for the Christian, it is for the Jew a time of remembering their Exile and God’s faithfulness in bringing them into their own land. There are lessons to be learned from Israel’s past.  If we can also learn from it,  we would better take to heart and understand the works of God…  this would greatly please Our Father in Heaven.

downloadThe time period is just before the crossing over into the promised land of Canaan.  The psalmist is instructing this present generation and future generations through lessons drawn from their past history.  We can learn many things from our past, both good and bad.  He identifies Israel as having a history of rebellion against God.   In those days their allegiance to God, God’s law and His provisions were what they lived by, defiance and ingratitude were serious offenses against God’s wonderful acts to save His people.  Continued rebellion brought even more judgment.

What are the principles to be lived by in the life of a man?  We can begin with understanding the work of the Holy Spirit.  The power to bring forth comes from the Father; the power to arrange comes through the Son, the power to perfect from the Holy Spirit.  1 Corinthians 8:6, “there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him—and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we live. To put all into perspective,

  • all things originated from the Father,
  • that by which all things exist, the Son,
  • and that by which all things attain their final destiny, the Holy Ghost.

We are not made just merely to exist, but everything created has a purpose and a destiny.  To be led by God is the cause of developmentaccording to our nature, and made ‘perfect’ by the work of the Holy Spirit.  In the case of Israel, their identity was known as a ‘multitude of people’ all with one mind—to be carried out of the bondage of Egypt into a land of their own.  Through it they would learn to recognize God as their deliverer and their only source of continued “life.’  Some still did not believe when it came to the end of their journey.

The question still is, ‘‘How is the multitude of the elect to attain their final perfection?”  The answer can only be “by the Holy Ghost’s action upon the people.”  They could never accomplish their end unless they dwell in God’s temple.  It is the natural love of God that keeps Him in the heart of His children—by which we in return love Him.  It is like seeing ourselves in a mirror and be conscious of His handiwork, and reflecting it back to His glory.  His glorious purpose is to be known as He is known, and enjoy the closeness of communion with God.   This can only become a part of us by the indwelling of  Christ in our hearts—this is evidence of God’s higher purposes realized when the Holy Spirit makes man’s heart His dwelling place.

It was important to continue to carry on tradition from the first generation that experienced the Exodus to the children of future generations.  Psalms and hymns are sung on holy days. They are regularly used in temple worship. Religious  instruction is not to be set aside or neglected. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  His ways are perfect. Each oncoming generation must be taught to recognize God’s hand in this present time as well as the past and future.  Today our children should be taught to distinguish between a changing society and moral values that do not change.  Continual resistance to God destroys opportunity, and cuts off their future.

Israel then, were unfaithful and disobedient but experienced God’s mercy and grace just the same.  The more the people received by God’s faithfulness, the more they wanted.  By His compassion and grace for his people he still gave them more… but getting what we want sometimes brings unwanted consequences.

Psalm 78

1     Give ear, O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

2     I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old—
3     Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
4   We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.
5     For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children—
6    That the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born,
      That they may arise and declare them to their children—
7     That they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.
8     And may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation—
       A generation that did not set its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
12     Marvelous things He did in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13    He divided the sea and caused them to pass through, and He made the waters stand up like a heap.
14     In the daytime also He led them with the cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.
15     He split the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink in abundance like the depths.
16     He also brought streams out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
17     But they sinned even more against Him by rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness.
18     And they tested God in their heart by asking for the food of their fancy.
19     Yes, they spoke against God:  They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?  
       Behold, He struck the rock, so that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed.  Can He give bread also?  Can He provide meat for His people?”
21     Therefore the Lord heard this and was furious…
       Yet He had commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of heaven,
24   He rained down manna on them to eat, and given them of the bread of heaven.
25     Men ate angels’ food,  He sent them food to the full….
.40     How often they  provoked Him in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert!
41     Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel….
65     Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a mighty man who shouts because of wine.
66     And He beat back His enemies— He put them to a perpetual reproach.
67     Moreover He rejected the tent of Joseph, and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,
68     But chose the tribe of Judah,  Mount Zion which He loved.
69     And He built His sanctuary like the heights—
     Like the earth which He has established forever.
70    He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds
71     From following the ewes that had young He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance.
72     So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.