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Reflections on Psalm 78: We Must Share His-Story!

Reflections on Psalm 78  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:06
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Reflections on Psalm 78

We are going to spend a few weeks on Psalm 78, the second-longest Psalm in the Bible.
In case you don’t know, Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm, with 22 sections of about 8 verses each, making 176 verses. Each of those sections is in alphabetical order, with every line in the section starting with that letter.
So the first 8 verses is all “a”s (actually aleph), the second is all “b”s (or beth) etcetera. Put together those letters, Aleph-Beth, and it sounds a little like alphabet. But really, we get that from the first two Greek letters: alpha and beta, so that makes alpha-beta. Most of the early English speakers knew Greek, sometimes Hebrew, and especially Latin.
But back to Psalm 78.
This is a Psalm that is not written by David. The very beginning line says it is “A Maskil of Asaph.”
It is a song that is here to teach, and uses the same structure to do it as the wisdom style of Proverbs chapters 1-9.
Asaph, the writer, was one of 3 chief musicians that King David appointed among the Levites to the lead the worship for the Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem that David dreamed of but never saw built.
The term maskil is just a description of the kind of song it was for the Levites to sing. Maybe it meant “RAP” or something.
It makes good sense that there are teaching Psalms, sharing important truths about faith, because we remember more of what we sing than what we just try to memorize out of a book.
That’s a learning clue for some of you, by the way. If you are having trouble remembering something important, try to make a little song of it. Try it. It works.
I will be preaching just 3 times on these 72 verses, on some themes that God brought to my attention as I was reading in the Psalms a couple months ago. So lets see what we are being taught here.
The first and most important theme in this Psalm is that. . .

We Must Share His-Story!

I could have written that as “History” but that doesn’t really get to what the sharing is about. Anyone can repeat history. Everyone has memories. Most of us have a sense of at least part of the history of our nation, or of our state, or even of the world. Some of us have a detailed record of our family members, even if we don’t know anything else about them besides where and when they lived and died.
Those things are history, and we can read anyone else’s history that is written down. We can read the history of Europe, or of Japan or China, of India or Mexico or Guatemala or New Zealand. But if those aren’t our histories, they don’t connect in the same way.
This Psalm is inviting the people of Israel to pay attention to how God has been working for their good through many mighty acts and through the words of the books of Moses, written 3 or 4 centuries before this Psalm. These stories of God with his people or God versus his enemies is what makes the records so alive and vital, for they tell us about God.
That’s why

This is His Story

and if we learn it and by faith live in Christ, then we can know that this message to the Hebrews already in the Promised Land, rested from their warfare and settled in the cities, is also a message for us coming from the Great I AM to our lives.

His Story IS Our Story

This is His Story, but we need to make it our story too. We need our own sense of an encounter with the Almighty God of the Universe who still loves us so, wants to be with us, and makes a way of Grace so we can be successful.
Psalm 78:1 ESV
1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
Psalm 78:2–3 ESV
2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, 3 things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.
Psalm 78:4 ESV
4 We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
Psalm 78:5–6 ESV
5 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, 6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,
Psalm 78:7–8 ESV
7 so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; 8 and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Psalm 78:9 ESV
9 The Ephraimites, armed with the bow, turned back on the day of battle.
Psalm 78:10 ESV
10 They did not keep God’s covenant, but refused to walk according to his law.

If His-Story is Not Shared

It becomes their story, not my story.
And if His-Story is only their story, that’s when

His-Story is Easily Forgotten

Psalm 78:11–12 ESV
11 They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them. 12 In the sight of their fathers he performed wonders in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.

We Forget We Are His

Psalm 78:13–14 ESV
13 He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap. 14 In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a fiery light.

We Forget What He Can Do

Psalm 78:15–16 ESV
15 He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. 16 He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

We Forget that Our Story is Constant Rebellion

Even though His-Story tells us that the Most High God is always faithful to who He is. But the pattern of our disloyalty continues and we can hardly believe it.
Psalm 78:17 ESV
17 Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.

We Forget We Constantly Sin Against Him

Psalm 78:17 ESV
17 Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.

When We Don’t Know His-Story

Of abiding love and care for us even when we are selfishly stuck in a false sense of entitlement.
We demand the Almighty, Most High God prove himself to us instead of us falling on our knees before Him.
What keeps on happening in our story is that we forget His-Story and His power to save us.

We Test Him As If He Is Our Servant

Psalm 78:18 ESV
18 They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved.

We Challenge His Ability to Provide

Psalm 78:19 ESV
19 They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?

We Forget His-Story of Care

Psalm 78:20 ESV
20 He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed. Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?”

His-Story is Tells Us He is the Holy God

and we are not gods at all.
We forget that part way too easily!
God’s holiness demands our loyalty.
His holiness demands our worship.
And when we demand too much of God too often, while we are still rebellious and selfish, we have to remember that

His-Story Tells of His Wrath

Because if we expect God to be faithful to all his promises, we must remember that his promises are also about His judgement against our sin:
Psalm 78:21 ESV
21 Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob; his anger rose against Israel,

His-Story Tells Us We Don’t Believe and Don’t Trust

Psalm 78:22 ESV
22 because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power.
We need to know that

His-Story Tells Us He Still Loves Us

Psalm 78:23–24 ESV
23 Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, 24 and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven.

His-Story Tells Us He Gives Better Than We Ask

Psalm 78:25 ESV
25 Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.
That verse always astounds me when I think of it.
Those obstinate, rebellious, untrusting, unbelieving, unworthy, unrighteous, unloving people, the same generation that God powerfully brought out of Egypt’s slavery, didn’t even believe that God could feed them as well as their Egyptian overlords.
So what did God do? He didn’t send them gruel, he sent them manna! It was all they needed and more.
Asaph the Psalmist tells us: Mankind ate the bread of Angels, the Ambrosia of God’s goodness.

We Must Share His-Story

so the sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, cousins and aunts and uncles and friends and neighbors and anyone else will know that
God Loves Us
God Cares for Us
God Gives Us More Than We Ask
God Never Leaves Us.
That is God’s story with us.
Tell the His-Story that you know. Tell what God has done for you. Tell what God is faithful to do, tell how he loves you and how he has saved you. Keep telling His-Story! It is only through the witness of many that we have believed.

Don’t Just Teach History, Share His-Story In Your Life.

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