Psalm 78 opens with these words–
My people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a parable;
I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known,
things our ancestors have told us.
4 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. (Psalm 78:1-4, NIV)
The psalm lists great things the Lord has done. So we will know him and remember who he is. So that we will share it with a next generation.
But what I notice, too, is the psalm lists things man has done.
32 In spite of all this, they kept on sinning;
in spite of his wonders, they did not believe.
It’s a familiar pattern.
Whenever God slew them, they would seek him;
they eagerly turned to him again.
35 They remembered that God was their Rock,
that God Most High was their Redeemer.
36 But then they would flatter him with their mouths,
lying to him with their tongues;
37 their hearts were not loyal to him,
they were not faithful to his covenant. (Psalm 78:34-37, NIV)
How often …
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
and grieved him in the wasteland!
41 Again and again they put God to the test;
they vexed the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember his power— (Psalm 78:40-42a, NIV)
This psalm is just a short glimpse of time, finishing up with David.
In literature, stories sometimes reflect that conditions and state of the world at that time: Take Dickens, Twain, Steinbeck, Angelou, Knowles, and so many others–their stories are a heart’s cry of a generation. And I wonder, if one were to write a psalm today, would it be so very different from this one? There is no doubt to me that God’s goodness and faithfulness will outshine man’s corruption and sin.
39 He remembered that they were but flesh,
a passing breeze that does not return. (Psalm 78:39, NIV)
Lord, this life is temporary and brief. I read these words in grateful stillness. When a generation screams, Lord, let me remember you. Let me tell someone of your goodness and faithfulness, to pass it down and pass it on. Help me to keep my focus on you and your kingdom.