July 8, 2015.
Daily Reading: Psalm 78-80.
Background: Psalm 75-77.
Concepts and Connections.
Learning from the past: Psalm 78, of Asaph, is a psalm of remembrance and teaching of things that had transpired throughout Israel’s history that they should look to an learn from. History was often passed down through oral tradition, and one of the ways to document said history and pass it on to subsequent generation was though song. The purpose of this psalm is given in the opening verse: to teach the people. God had done great and mighty works in the sight of their fathers, and this is how they were remembering what the Lord had done. As a general overview, this psalm really does encapsulate the relationship between the Father and His children throughout time. It describes the cycle of obedience and disobedience that the children of Israel went through (see Judges 2). He established the Law with His people, but His people forsook it. They forgot the mighty works that he did to bring them out of the land of Egypt (see Exodus 7-12). The psalm here remembers the plagues that the Lord sent on Egypt to bring His people out. But His people didn’t remember them, and they grumbled in the wilderness, not supposing the Lord could deliver them. Then He rained manna from heaven (see Exodus 16), which satisfied for a while, but when they wanted meat, they grumbled again, and God gave them birds of the air to eat (see Numbers 11). But in their haste to eat, His anger was kindled against them because of their actions. He drove the inhabitants out of the promised land, but when the people rejected God, he gave them over to their enemies. Then they would return, and the cycle would continue. However, the Lord did choose Judah to stand before Him forever, though David (and further through the Christ). The Lord will guide His people. This psalm teaches us both history, and the importance of knowing history so that we can learn from it.
“How long, O Lord?”: This psalm is a plea to the Lord that He would remember His people and turn His anger on His enemies. The opening lays out the accusations and claims against the enemies of the Lord, everything that they have done against Him, such as coming into the promised land, defiling the temple and killing His people. Then the psalmist asks how long the Lord will be angry with His people, pouring out wrath through these other nations and not protecting them due to their iniquity. He asks for the mercy and compassion of God, to turn His wrath on the enemies of Israel and not remember them for their transgressions of the past. The psalmist didn’t want the nations to get the wrong idea about the Lord God of Israel, saying “Where is He?” Their plea went up before God, that He might hear their groaning and turn back His anger. Nevertheless, the psalmist gives thanks to God in the end, and says the people will recount His praise from generation to generation.
“Restore us, O God”: Much like the previous psalm, this psalm is a plea to the Lord that He might revisit His people. Throughout the psalm, the psalmist asks the Lord God to restore His people, that they may be saved. Their enemies had come upon them, and the Lord was giving them into their hands. The psalmist pleads with the Lord to turn again and have regard for the vine of Israel that He had caused to grow, and then subsequently broken it down due to their transgression. The psalmist asks for deliverance and that the enemies of Israel be destroyed for their rebuke of Him. The psalmist pleads for deliverance and salvation as they return to their God.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Proverbs 11-12.
Stand firm in the faith.