A well-written song by Asaph.
78:1 Pay attention, my people, to my instruction!
Listen to the words I speak!
78:2 I will sing a song that imparts wisdom;
I will make insightful observations about the past.
78:3 What we have heard and learned –
that which our ancestors have told us –
78:4 we will not hide from their descendants.
We will tell the next generation
about the Lord’s praiseworthy acts,
about his strength and the amazing things he has done.
78:5 He established a rule in Jacob;
he set up a law in Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
to make his deeds known to their descendants,
78:6 so that the next generation, children yet to be born,
might know about them.
They will grow up and tell their descendants about them.
78:7 Then they will place their confidence in God.
They will not forget the works of God,
and they will obey his commands.
78:8 Then they will not be like their ancestors,
who were a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation that was not committed
and faithful to God.
78:9 The Ephraimites were armed with bows,
but they retreated in the day of battle.
78:10 They did not keep their covenant with God,
and they refused to obey his law.
78:11 They forgot what he had done,
the amazing things he had shown them.
78:12 He did amazing things in the sight of their ancestors,
in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.
78:13 He divided the sea and led them across it;
he made the water stand in a heap.
78:14 He led them with a cloud by day,
and with the light of a fire all night long.
78:15 He broke open rocks in the wilderness,
and gave them enough water to fill the depths of the sea.
78:16 He caused streams to flow from the rock,
and made the water flow like rivers.
78:17 Yet they continued to sin against him,
and rebelled against the sovereign One in the desert.
78:18 They willfully challenged God
by asking for food to satisfy their appetite.
78:19 They insulted God, saying,
“Is God really able to give us food in the wilderness?
78:20 Yes, he struck a rock and water flowed out,
streams gushed forth.
But can he also give us food?
Will he provide meat for his people?”
78:21 When the Lord heard this, he was furious.
A fire broke out against Jacob,
and his anger flared up against Israel,
78:22 because they did not have faith in God,
and did not trust his ability to deliver them.
78:23 He gave a command to the clouds above,
and opened the doors in the sky.
78:24 He rained down manna for them to eat;
he gave them the grain of heaven.
78:25 Man ate the food of the mighty ones.
He sent them more than enough to eat.
78:26 He brought the east wind through the sky,
and by his strength led forth the south wind.
78:27 He rained down meat on them like dust,
birds as numerous as the sand on the seashores.
78:28 He caused them to fall right in the middle of their camp,
all around their homes.
78:29 They ate until they were stuffed;
he gave them what they desired.
78:30 They were not yet filled up,
their food was still in their mouths,
78:31 when the anger of God flared up against them.
He killed some of the strongest of them;
he brought the young men of Israel to their knees.
78:32 Despite all this, they continued to sin,
and did not trust him to do amazing things.
78:33 So he caused them to die unsatisfied
and filled with terror.
78:34 When he struck them down, they sought his favor;
they turned back and longed for God.
78:35 They remembered that God was their protector,
and that the sovereign God was their deliverer.
78:36 But they deceived him with their words,
and lied to him.
78:37 They were not really committed to him,
and they were unfaithful to his covenant.
78:38 Yet he is compassionate.
He forgives sin and does not destroy.
He often holds back his anger,
and does not stir up his fury.
78:39 He remembered that they were made of flesh,
and were like a wind that blows past and does not return.
78:40 How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness,
and insulted him in the desert!
78:41 They again challenged God,
and offended the Holy One of Israel.
78:42 They did not remember what he had done,
how he delivered them from the enemy,
78:43 when he performed his awesome deeds in Egypt,
and his acts of judgment in the region of Zoan.
78:44 He turned their rivers into blood,
and they could not drink from their streams.
78:45 He sent swarms of biting insects against them,
as well as frogs that overran their land.
78:46 He gave their crops to the grasshopper,
the fruit of their labor to the locust.
78:47 He destroyed their vines with hail,
and their sycamore-fig trees with driving rain.
78:48 He rained hail down on their cattle,
and hurled lightning bolts down on their livestock.
78:49 His raging anger lashed out against them,
He sent fury, rage, and trouble
as messengers who bring disaster.
78:50 He sent his anger in full force;
he did not spare them from death;
he handed their lives over to destruction.
78:51 He struck down all the firstborn in Egypt,
the firstfruits of their reproductive power in the tents of Ham.
78:52 Yet he brought out his people like sheep;
he led them through the wilderness like a flock.
78:53 He guided them safely along,
while the sea covered their enemies.
78:54 He brought them to the border of his holy land,
to this mountainous land which his right hand acquired.
78:55 He drove the nations out from before them;
he assigned them their tribal allotments
and allowed the tribes of Israel to settle down.
78:56 Yet they challenged and defied the sovereign God,
and did not obey his commands.
78:57 They were unfaithful and acted as treacherously as their ancestors;
they were as unreliable as a malfunctioning bow.
78:58 They made him angry with their pagan shrines,
and made him jealous with their idols.
78:59 God heard and was angry;
he completely rejected Israel.
78:60 He abandoned the sanctuary at Shiloh,
the tent where he lived among men.
78:61 He allowed the symbol of his strong presence to be captured;
he gave the symbol of his splendor into the hand of the enemy.
78:62 He delivered his people over to the sword,
and was angry with his chosen nation.
78:63 Fire consumed their young men,
and their virgins remained unmarried.
78:64 Their priests fell by the sword,
but their widows did not weep.
78:65 But then the Lord awoke from his sleep;
he was like a warrior in a drunken rage.
78:66 He drove his enemies back;
he made them a permanent target for insults.
78:67 He rejected the tent of Joseph;
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.
78:68 He chose the tribe of Judah,
and Mount Zion, which he loves.
78:69 He made his sanctuary as enduring as the heavens above;
as secure as the earth, which he established permanently.
78:70 He chose David, his servant,
and took him from the sheepfolds.
78:71 He took him away from following the mother sheep,
and made him the shepherd of Jacob, his people,
and of Israel, his chosen nation.
78:72 David cared for them with pure motives;
he led them with skill.