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Sunday, July 8th, 2018 - PM - Follow the Shepherd's Manual (Psalm 78)

Savoring the Psalter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:02:29
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Those who fail to remember history are destined to repeat it. Psalm 78 is a rich reminder that we are to instruct our children in the Words of God so that they can get it right where we have gotten it wrong.

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God graciously Shepherds His people though their tendency is to forget His goodness and follow their flesh. Let God's goodness lead you to repentance.

I. The Indispensability of God's Word (Ps. 78:1-8)

A. Plea to Listen to Instruction (Ps. 78:1-2)

"My people" - Illumination of the Holy Spirit not to the natural man
"Words of my mouth" - not by bread alone...
"Parable" - sense = proverb

B. Passing Instruction to the Next Generation (Ps. 78:3-8)

"Fathers" are held responsibleShow (demonstration) the children what Jehovah hath done
National history - how God made a nation
Why - What they (the children) know about God might lead them to have faith in Him (v. 7 - set their hope in God)
Why - so that the next generation can get it right
Notice the fourfold description of earlier generations of Israel. They were (1) stubborn and (2) rebellious. (3) Their hearts were not right with God. Furthermore, (4) they were not steadfast with God. The word translated as stedfast (אמן aw-man') essentially means `faithful.' Thus, four examples of sinful character are warned against: stubbornness, rebellion, not being right with God, and being unfaithful. [David H. Sorenson, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary - Job through Psalms, vol. 4, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary (Northstar Ministry, 2007), 515.]

II. Disregard for Consequences of Carnality (Ps. 78:9-63)

A. Promises Broken By Ephraim (Ps. 78:9-17)

Num. 14:40ff ? -
"And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the Lord hath promised: for we have sinned. And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the Lord? but it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the Lord is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the Lord, therefore the Lord will not be with you. But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and Moses, departed not out of the camp. Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah."
Their Blatant Disobedience to brought His chastening
Note the "wondrous things" that God did for them (vv. 12-16)

B. Provisions of God in the Midst of Unbelief (Ps. 78:18-28)

Note their provocation of the Lord in the Wilderness: Disobedience led to Discontentment which led to Doubt
God provided yet they still doubted that He could provide for their needs
Their sin was ultimately that of unbelief, or better, disbelief
Note - "angels' food" (v. 25)
God exceeded the menu of kings and gave to His people the fare of angels. Actually, the word translated as angels (אַבִּיר ab-beer') refers to mighty ones (i.e., the rich and famous). The greater thought is how God not only provided for His people, but He provided the very best for them. Still, they complained. [Sorenson, 518.]
See Ps. 106:15 - "And he gave them their request; But sent leanness into their soul."

C. Perpetual Spiral - Sin -> Punishment -> Repentance (Ps. 78:29-40)

Note - lust of the flesh was the root of many of their problems
See Num. 11:33-34 -"And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague. And he called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted."
Note - Sin and Unbelief go hand in hand
See Jude 5 - "I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not."
Note - Spiral - vv. 34-37
Note - Compare
Is. 29:13 - "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, And with their lips do honour me, But have removed their heart far from me, And their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:"
Matt. 15:8-9 - "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Note - The real problem (v. 37):
The real problem is here touched upon. Israel's primary sin was that of the heart. The word translated as right (כון kuwn) essentially means to be 'established' or 'fixed.' The heart of the majority of Israel was not fixed on their God. They were not dedicated, faithful, or yielded to their God. Their problem was a heart problem. As a result, "neither were they stedfast in his covenant." The idea is how that they were not faithful in their covenant with God. The bottom line was a heart problem. They were not right with God. [Sorenson, 519–520.]
Note - God's mercy despite their sin (v. 39)
See Eph. 2:4 - "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,"

D. Power of God (as Displayed in Egypt) Forgotten (Ps. 78:41-51)

Note - "limited" (v. 41)
Israel yearned for the fleshpots of Egypt. They longed to return to the world—and they did in their hearts. They continued to tempt God by provoking Him with their rebellion and disobedience. The word translated as limited (תוה taw-vaw') essentially means to 'trouble' or to 'wound.' Israel thus was a grief of heart to their great God. [Sorenson, 520.]
Note - Selective Memory: They forgot the troubles that accompanied Egypt's plagues (i.e. calling the days of war and depression the "Good ole days...")
Note - "evil angels" = lit. troubling angels
Note - Egypt was judged because they too had "forgotten" the God of their fathers, Noah's God (i.e. tabernacles of Ham)
Note - America is under the judgment of God because she has also "forgotten" the God of her fathers (i.e. In God We Trust)

E. Promises Broken in the Promised Land (Ps. 78:52-63)

Note - God gave them peace and prosperity in the land, yet they continued to provoke Him and ignore His Word.Note - "deceitful bow" in v. 57
They turned from their God and turned their back toward Him. Notwithstanding, God's great kindness to them, they became unfaithful to Him even as their forefathers had done. A "deceitful bow" is an ancient idiom and metaphor which refers to a treacherous weapon. The bow and arrow were the preferred weapons of Israel. A deceitful bow was one which might break injuring the archer and causing the arrow to fly toward a friend. The thought is how that Israel had become treacherous against God. [Sorenson, 522–523.]
Note - They became steeped in idolatry (i.e. what are America's idols today that have replaced God?)
Note - Shiloh (vv. 60-61) - See 1 Sam. 4:11 - "And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain."

III. Providence in the Midst of Punishment (Ps. 78:64-72)

Note - God beat the Philistines for Israel, see 1 Sam. 7:9-14 -
"And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord: and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him. And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Beth-car. Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us. So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites."
Note - Ephraim is put down and Judah is exalted
Note - God's Sovereign Grace in Choosing David to be him through whom Messiah would come
Note - the Shepherd (v. 72)
Though David likely is in view here, One far greater than him is at hand. The greater Shepherd is Jehovah Himself. He then and now feeds His people from the integrity of His heart and guides them by the skillfulness of His hands. The greater conclusion of the psalm is how that God throughout history has been a faithful and gracious Shepherd to His people. Though they sorely provoked Him in the meantime, He always was faithful and gracious. What a wonderful God we serve! [Sorenson, 525.]
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