: Psalm 78
This Psalm was written by Asaph. Asaph was both a prophet (1 Chronicles 25:2) and a poet. He was one of King David’s chief musicians and one of the Levites who led the music before the ark in Jerusalem.
“O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.” (Psalm 78:1) When Asaph says “Listen to the words of my mouth,” Asaph is talking about an active, eager and responsive listening which results in learning and obedience. How often we listen only what we want to hear, tuning out everything in between.
In verse two he tells us “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old.” (Psalm 78:2) he cautions us that if we don’t listen closely, we are going to miss out something. Asaph sets forth the history of Israel as a parable, as a story with a lesson to be learned. The rest of the Psalm recounts the history of Israel — from their going out of Egypt, to their entering of the Promised Land, to the reign of King David.
Verses 34-38 provide a good summary to the Psalm:
Whenever God slew them, they would seek Him; they eagerly turned to Him again. They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. But then they would flatter Him with their mouths, lying to Him with their tongues; their hearts were not loyal to Him, they were not faithful to His covenant. Yet He was merciful; He forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. (Psalm 78:34-38)
When we read the whole Psalm there are two things that Asaph sets his focus on:
• the need to remember God’s mercy and faithfulness
• and to tell the next generation of what God has done
We must be faithful to remember and not forget, but the temptation is to forget, which leads to doubt, which turns to unbelief and rebellion. If we are going to remain faithful to God, especially in difficult times, it’s essential that we remember who God is and all that He has done on our behalf. In verses 9-72 the psalmist recounts the history of the nation of Israel from Zoan to Zion (Egypt to Jerusalem). The retelling emphasizes both the faithfulness of God and the forgetfulness of the people.
Throughout the Old Testament the people of God are told that they have a responsibility; not only to remember for themselves, but to tell the next generation about what God has said and done (Ex. 10:1-2; Deut. 6:6-9) We must teach our children the works of God. We must tell them what God has done. Look at verse 4: “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.” (Psalm 78:4) “Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.” (Psalm 78:7)
Finally, in Psalm 78:65-72 the psalmist highlights God’s faithfulness to his people. While the tribe of Ephraim was unfaithful and Shiloh is taken, God chooses to show favor to the tribe of Judah and establishes Jerusalem (Zion). David, is introduced as the one through whom God establishes an everlasting throne.
That is the faithfulness of our God. He will establish us and has promised us an everlasting life. Our hope is that, God is merciful and faithful and that He will keep His promise to save us no matter what!
Yes, I put my hope in you. Help me to always remember all that you have done for me, specially the work of salvation in Jesus. Let me be diligent in teaching the next generation more about you and your goodness. Increase my faith Lord, to see what a powerful promise keeping God you are! Let me be known for my love for you oh Father! Amen.