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Psalm 78

1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth!

2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, 

3 things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. 

4 We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 

5 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, 

6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, 

7 so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; 

8 and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.                     Psalm 78.1-8

This past week has been one full of memories and thinking back. We just celebrated Memorial Day as a country, as a family we had our first graduation party for our oldest son, Ezra, and we heard 7 amazing salvation testimonies at baptisms after church on Sunday. All of these occasions gave us reason to think about the past and give thanks. 

We live in a country where we have the freedom to worship God. This freedom came at great cost—a cost we do not often fully understand or appreciate. Many men and women made incredible sacrifices so that we could enjoy the freedom we currently have. We need to remember these men and women so that we do not forget what our freedom cost and take it for granted. 

As my wife and I looked back through photos preparing for Ezra’s graduation party, I was reminded of how blessed we have been to have such godly influences in our children’s lives. God has been amazingly gracious throughout the years. 

There are several challenges for us in the first few verses of Psalm 78 that I want us to look at briefly:

  1. Listen - We need to listen to God’s Word. We need to listen when people tell of what God has done in their lives. We need to incline our ears towards God and His Word. We need to be ready and willing to hear. 

  2. Share - We need to speak of what God has done. The psalmist says that he would utter dark sayings of old, that he would not hide the truth from even the children. Sometimes sharing what God has done involves sharing how we have failed. We should not hide hard or difficult things, but we should share them in such a way that God is honored and glorified. 

  3. Remember - The goal of listening and sharing is so that we remember. We are so prone to forget the seriousness of our sins and the magnitude of God’s grace. When we listen and when we talk about these things, we are more likely to remember God’s grace. 

  4. Hope - The goal of all these things is that we set our hope in God. Many of the failures that are recounted in the rest of Psalm 78 are because the people forgot. They got caught up in their own desires or trusted in their own strength. All of these things led to disaster. The reason we should tell our children about successes and failures is so that they can see the one constant through our lives - God. He is our hope and joy. He works through the good and the bad. When we share those things, we help those who come after us set their hope in God and not in themselves or their own effort. 

These are the things that were going through my mind as I read Psalm 78 this past week. It is a sobering, challenging, and ultimately encouraging Psalm. I would encourage you to take time to read it this week. May we set our hope in God and not forget His works; and by His grace, may we remain faithful.

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