Psalm 78 is a historical narrative that reminds us of God’s works.
It is described as…
“a narrative of the great mercies God had bestowed upon Israel, the great sins wherewith they had provoked him, and the many tokens of his displeasure they had been under for their sins.”
In verses 1-18, the psalmist begins by saying, “Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth!” (Psalm 78:1). The psalmist is imploring the reader to listen to his words so that they may learn from the mistakes of their forefathers and not repeat them.
He then begins to remind us of God’s mighty works, specifically in regard to the exodus.
- God divided the sea to allow the Israelites to pass through on dry land and escape Egypt (vs 13).
- God led his people by a cloud by day and fire by night (vs 14).
- When they were thirsty, God made rocks spring forth water, and not just a trickle, but a river (vs 15-16)
Yet no matter how gracious God was, the people still complained and rebelled.
Would I do it differently?
When I read stories of how fickle, selfish, and hardheaded the Israelites were, I often try to put myself in their shoes and wonder if I would do it differently. When I was younger, I used to get so annoyed by the Israelites, and would say, “I would never do that! How can they be so blind?”
However, as I’ve matured (gotten older😉), I am slower to condemn the Israelites because the fact is, I don’t know if I would have behaved any differently. I hope I would have, but as I become more aware of my own weaknesses and my own fickleness, I’m not sure I would have.
Have you ever found yourself getting annoyed with the Israelites?
Would you have behaved differently?