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  • Psalm Seventy Eight

    Part One


    Hear me, people of Israel and Judah,
    listen to the story of our beginnings,
    listen and obey the word of God.

    I will tell you the story of us,
    I will remind you of the dark days.
    I will repeat the tales handed down from our fathers,
    I will repeat them for the children, so they can tell their children,
    how we came to be the children of the Lord,
    why we praise Him and His wondrous works.

    The Lord gave a promise to Jacob,
    the Lord gave Him a law in Israel,
    that law was given to our fathers,
    and passed down to their children:
    so that they would come to know the laws,
    and would pass them down to their children;
    so they would know God and worship Him,
    so they might keep his commandments.

    The Lord did not want them to be stubborn and rebellious,
    like their fathers before them,
    The Lord wanted them to know the right path,
    to keep their hearts with Him, to set their souls with God.

    The children of Ephraim, armed men and mighty warriors,
    refused to fight when God told them to and turned away,
    they broke their covenant with God, and refused to obey His laws,
    they forgot God's mighty works, they forgot the miracles He had done.
    His miracles were well known among the people,
    His works in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan,
    He divided the sea, so the children could pass over the dry earth,
    while the waters stood like giant walls.
    In the daytime, He went ahead of them as a cloud,
    in the night, He stood watch over them as a pillar of fire.
    He broke open rocks in the desert to bring out water
    to quench their thirst as they traveled.
    He brought streams out of the rocks,
    He made those streams run like rivers.

    And the people sinned even more against God,
    provoking Him in the wilderness,
    they tempted God by asking for meat to feed their lust.
    They spoke against God, they mocked Him,
    they said, “Can God set a table in the wilderness?
    He broke the rocks and water came out,
    great streams overflowed, so can He give bread as well?
    Can He provide meat for his people?”
    God heard this from His chosen people,
    and it made Him angry.

    God's wrath was let loose on Jacob
    and on the house of Israel,
    because they turned their back on God,
    and did not trust in His salvation;
    so He commanded the clouds to open,
    and opened the door to heaven,
    and gave them manna to eat, and the corn of heaven.
    God allowed them to eat the food of the angels,
    and blew great winds to send them wild birds,
    dropping them in their camp so they did not have to hunt,
    and they did not thank God, and their lust for meat grew.

    Then the wrath of God was unleashed,
    He killed the selfish and the gluttons,
    He killed the chosen men of Israel.

    And still the people sinned against God,
    and did not regard His wondrous works.
    So that generation suffered for their vanity,
    and wandered in the desert until they were dead.

    When they were gone, the people remembered God,
    they repented their sins and asked his forgiveness.
    They remembered that God was their redeemer,
    that God was their rock and their shelter and their protector.

    But they were only saying what they thought He wanted to hear,
    their tongues were lying, and in their hearts, they did not love God.


    The Black Sheep

    There's been a lot of interest these days in ancestry. Everyone wants to know the “real” story behind their roots. One major internet company advertises constantly: a woman discovers she lives only 4 blocks from her grandmother's apartment, a bald man discovers his uncles were all barbers. It seems we are all very interested in learning how we came to be who we are.

    One of my uncles began a search back into the family past. I asked my father once if he wanted to do a family tree, and his response was “all your gonna find is horse thieves and rustlers”, so I left it at that. I know now he was being facetious, which is a tendency of the men in our family. In fact, the men on my father's side of the family were mostly farmers and husbandmen, raising pigs and cattle. Most of them served this country in time of war, which means I am descended on both sides from a long line of patriots and decent, hard working middle class Americans. Oh, I'm sure there are a few ne'er do wells in the list, but they are few and far between. Overall, I'd say my roots are as solid as anyone's.

    The children of Israel, like any tribal people, depended on an oral history to remind themselves of their pasts. But that history wasn't always very good. As as matter of fact, by the beginning of the account above, I'd say it was pretty dark. The Jews had a “roller coaster” ride with God throughout their history, and I am sure they will repeat this again and again until they get it right. Which will be in the second coming, according to Revelation.

    Asaph is repeating the history above as a warning to the Jews. Does it strike anyone else as odd they never seemed to listen? Or are we as humans just so damn stubborn in our ways that even when we accept God, we try to hedge some things in our life to ourselves?

    When you become a Christian, you are supposed to “Let go and Let God”. Obviously the Jews in the desert had a problem with that. I wonder how many of us have that same problem today?

    ~Fred~
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