Read: Psalm 78:1 – 8; 1 Corinthians 10:11
Psalm 78 is a “short history of the Hebrews” from the time of the Exodus to the time of David. The fist eight verses are a preface, establishing the following: v. 1 – we are to listen and heed God’s word; v. 2 – Israel was ordained by God to be a type, an example; v 3- 4 – we are to take the things which our fathers told us and pass them along to our children; v. 5 – 8 – we should be a testimony to those around us, that future generations might come to know God and not make the same mistakes as their fathers.
Think About It: What is the function of a parable? In what sense is the history of Israel like a parable? What spiritual truths have been passed on to me by either my earthly or spiritual elders that I need to pass on to others?
Prayer: That I might be both a good learner and a good teacher of God’s truth.
Read: Psalm 78:9 – 11; Genesis 48:17 – 20; Judges 1:29; 2 Timothy 1:7
Psalm 78:9 – 11 charged Ephraim with failure. The Ephraimites turned back in the day of battle, failed to keep God’s covenant, and forgot God’s miracles of deliverance in the Exodus. Ephraim was given prominence in Jacob’s blessing of his sons, but his descendants failed to take the lead at the first opportunity to enter the Promised Land.
Think About It: What does Psalm 78:9 – 11 suggest as the reason for Ephraim’s failure in the day of battle? Ephraim failed on another occasion in battle– the tribe did not drive the Canaanites from their territory. What was the long term result of this failure? What lesson might I learn from this?
Prayer: For a spirit of power, love and a sound mind as I face life’s challenges.
Read: Psalm 78:12 – 35
The psalmist tells of God’s work of deliverance in the Exodus, and then in leading His people through the wilderness and providing them with water, torrents of water, in the desert, manna from heaven, and even meat when they craved for it. The Hebrews’ response to all this was to sin all the more; they did not trust in His salvation (78:22), and they slandered God by failing to believe that He could furnish a table for them in the wilderness, even when He did so regularly!
Think About It: How could the Hebrews ignore the evidence of their own experience and sin by doubting God? What evidence does my experience provide that God is able to prepare a table in the wilderness?
Prayer: Thank God for His faithful provision.
Read: Psalm 78: 32 – 41
The wandering of the Hebrews in the wilderness was spiritual was well as geographical. Their disobedience would be followed by God’s discipline which would produce repentance, but then the people would rebel again. God was gracious and patient, “He remembered that they were but flesh.” Spurgeon’s notes on Psalm 78 discern a description of hypocrisy: the hypocrite’s feet, Ps 78:34; the hypocrite’s memory, Ps 78:35; the hypocrite’s tongue, Ps 78:36; the hypocrite’s heart, Ps 78:37.
Think About It: Is there any hypocrisy in my life? What do I need to do about it?
Prayer: Thank God that He is gracious and patient and remembers that I am but flesh.
Read: Psalm 78:42 -52
God’s goodness in delivering His people from Egypt is remembered in Psalm 78:42-52. Unfortunately, as the psalmist says immediately in v. 42, Israel failed to remember. Spurgeon’s notes on this Psalm suggest the following application of this section: “1. God has a people in the world. 2. He brings them away from others. 3. He brings them into fellowship with himself. 4. He brings them into fellowship with each other. 5. He guides them to their rest.”
Think About It: How could God’s people so quickly forget their miraculous deliverance from Egypt? What do I do to help myself remember how God has delivered me?
Prayer: That I might never forget what Christ has done for me.
Read: Psalm 78:53 – 66; 1 Samuel 4:1 – 22
During the days of the judges the Hebrews continued the cycle of disobedience, discipline, repentance, restoration, and then further disobedience. 1 Samuel chapters 4 – 6 describe the last of those cycles, during which God literally smote the Philistines, as the KJV says, “in the hinder parts” (Ps. 78:66).
Think About It: What can I learn about God from these verses in Psalm 78? Is He willing to discipline His children? What moves Him to forgiveness?
Prayer: That I learn never to provoke the Lord.
Read: Psalm 78:67 – 72; Genesis 49:8 – 12; Romans 8:1 – 4
According to Jacob’s dying prophecy, Judah would rise to prominence and rule over his brothers. David’s reign was the beginning of the fulfillment of that promise. The tabernacle and the ark were moved to Jerusalem during David’s reign; God established David and blessed His people.
Think About It: Did the cycle of disobedience end with David? What puts an end to that cycle of disobedience?
Prayer: Thank God that Christ has made it possible to end the cycle of disobedience!