Whose Are You?
Gracious God, You have done great things for me. Help me never to forget them and forget to thank You.
Read Psalm 78:1-39
A maskil of Asaph. My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old-  things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.  We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.  He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children,  so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.  Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.  They would not be like their ancestors- a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.  The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle;  they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law.  They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.  He did miracles in the sight of their ancestors in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.  He divided the sea and led them through; he made the water stand up like a wall.  He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night.  He split the rocks in the wilderness and gave them water as abundant as the seas;  he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers.  But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High.  They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved.  They spoke against God; they said, “Can God really spread a table in the wilderness?  True, he struck the rock, and water gushed out, streams flowed abundantly, but can he also give us bread? Can he supply meat for his people?”  When the LORD heard them, he was furious; his fire broke out against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel,  for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance.  Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens;  he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven.  Human beings ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.  He let loose the east wind from the heavens and by his power made the south wind blow.  He rained meat down on them like dust, birds like sand on the seashore.  He made them come down inside their camp, all around their tents.  They ate till they were gorged- he had given them what they craved.  But before they turned from what they craved, even while the food was still in their mouths,  God’s anger rose against them; he put to death the sturdiest among them, cutting down the young men of Israel.  In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe.  So he ended their days in futility and their years in terror.  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. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath.  He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy is it important to tell the next generation (7,8)?
The writer begins by thinking about his children and future unborn generations and wonders what is important to pass on to them. He hopes they will trust the Lord and remember all he has done, without wandering off and forgetting who they belong to. The cost of disloyalty is high for God and the psalm revisits some of Israel’s history with this in mind. The escape from Egypt and the miracles of guidance, provision and presence were “willfully” disdained by the people who persistently failed to trust in God. The pattern of judgment, repentance and reconciliation is familiar to the psalmist and he warns future generations (us) to be faithful to the God who loves us, who reveals himself to us and reconciles us to him when we have gone wrong. If only history could serve as a warning and our hearts were “loyal to him.” Loyalty is precious. Have you ever experienced betrayal by a friend? Consider the past year and ask yourself, “Have I been loyal to God?” Have you given the Lord the same loyalty that you expect from friends and family?
Read vs. 5-7 aloud and ask God to help you and future generations trust him and keep his commands.
Lord, You have always been loyal to me and I want to always be loyal and obedient to You, too.
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