Psalm 78: Promises
Listen to what I have to teach you, the story I have to tell,
The history of former generations, the lives of our ancestors.
When you have this knowledge you will be able to tell your children
About the glorious and mighty deeds of our God.
For He gave us His laws and commanded that they be taught to each new generation
And so his laws are passed down through the years.
In this way we have God’s word handed on to us,
Our inheritance is his love and mercy and the hope He has set before us,
Not like some of our ancestors who stubbornly rebelled against God.
Some people forgot all that God had done for them and refused to follow His ways.
God who divided the waters and led their forefathers to safety by day and by night,
He split the rocks in the wilderness to give them fresh water in a parched land.
Yet they kept up their rebellion, continuing to sin against God,
They were not content and wanted more in their greed.
God heard their grumbling and was angry and yet He still rained down manna.
He sent them the very bread of heaven for food,
Directed the winds and caused great numbers of birds to fall for them to eat.
He gave them all they wanted and the people ate their fill,
But the anger of the Lord then rose against them,
He sought His vengeance and brought death to the strongest of them.
Even this was not enough to bring the people back into obedience,
So He cut their lives short and gave them years of terror.
Then they spoke their repentance and flattered him,
They remembered that God was their rock and salvation,
But their hearts were not in their supplications,
They did not keep their promises.
Again and again He forgave them and showed his compassion.
He remembered they are only mortal, gone in a moment like a breath of wind.
But still their rebellion continued, bleak years that grieved God’s heart,
They turned away from God and denied His saving grace.
They forgot his power and all He had done to rescue them in the past.
The plagues and disasters He had meted on their enemies,
The pestilence and disease, the death and destruction sent on their people and lands.
He gave free course to His anger and did not spare the Egyptians.
Then God helped His people to escape and led them like a shepherd to the Promised Land
Through the wilderness, He kept them safe,
Held back the sea for them to pass,
Before it closed in upon their pursuers.
He kept his promises and brought them to his land of blessings,
He drove out those who occupied the land
And settled the tribes of Israel in their apportioned homes.
And still they rebelled, regardless of God’s graciousness to them,
They back from the Promised Land and turned away from God’s will.
It was then that God finally turned away from them
He surrendered his glory into the hands of the enemy.
He stood back whilst His people were attacked and murdered,
Young men burnt alive and young women killed,
The priests slaughtered and their widows dead before they could grieve.
Then the Lord awoke from His anger and drove back His enemies.
Then God made his decision about who should lead his people,
He chose the tribe of Judah and built His temple on Mount Zion.
God chose David to be the shepherd of His people
To guide them and tend for them with an upright heart.
From ‘Resounding the Psalms’ by David Potter
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