Psalm 78

Moving forward by looking back.




A contemplation by Asaph.


VERSE 1. Hear my teaching, my people. Turn your ears to the words of my mouth.

Hear my teaching. Asaph will teach the people, so they are to hear. To hear is key to the most important commandment:

Deuteronomy 6:4. Hear, Israel: the LORD is our God. The LORD is one.


VERSE 2. I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter dark sayings of old,

I will open my mouth in a parable. Asaph has an “Evangelical” identity. He shares with others the great things God has done for the Jewish people.

In our day, part of our identity as Christians is to share with other people the great things God has done for us.


VERSE 3. Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.


VERSE 4. We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, his strength, and his wondrous deeds that he has done.


VERSE 5. For he established a covenant in Jacob, and appointed a teaching in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children;


VERSE 6. that the generation to come might know, even the children who should be born; who should arise and tell their children,


VERSE 7. that they might set their hope in God, and not forget God’s deeds, but keep his commandments,


VERSE 8. and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that didn’t make their hearts loyal, whose spirit was not steadfast with God.

stubborn and rebellious generation. Let’s not be like that generation.


VERSE 9. The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.


VERSE 10. They didn’t keep God’s covenant, and refused to walk by his Torah.


VERSE 11. They forgot his doings, his wondrous deeds that he had shown them.


VERSE 12. He did marvelous things in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.

the field of Zoan. Zoan was the capital city of the land of Goshen in northeast Egypt.


VERSE 13. He split the sea, and caused them to pass through. He made the waters stand as a heap.

Exodus 15:8. With the blast of your nostrils, the waters were piled up. The floods stood upright as a heap. The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea.

Joshua 3:16. the waters which came down from above stood, and rose up in one heap a great way off, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those that went down toward the sea of the Arabah, even the Salt Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people passed over near Jericho.

Psalm 78:13. He split the sea, and caused them to pass through. He made the waters stand as a heap.


VERSE 14. In the daytime he also led them with a cloud, and all night with a light of fire.


VERSE 15. He split rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink abundantly as out of the depths.


VERSE 16. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.


VERSE 17. Yet they still went on to sin against him, to rebel against the Most High in the desert.

they still went on to sin against him. Some people scoff at the Jewish people for their many sins. However, We are no different, for all people have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

To sin is to violate God’s will for us. It harms our relationship with God. We all have missed the mark and sinned. Here are the verses we’ve found »


VERSE 18. They tempted God in their heart by asking food according to their desire.


VERSE 19. Yes, they spoke against God. They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?


VERSE 20. Behold, he struck the rock, so that waters gushed out, and streams overflowed. Can he give bread also? Will he provide meat for his people?”


VERSE 21. Therefore the LORD heard, and was angry. A fire was kindled against Jacob, anger also went up against Israel,


VERSE 22. because they didn’t believe in God, and didn’t trust in his salvation.

Hebrews 11:6. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV translation)


VERSE 23. Yet he commanded the skies above, and opened the doors of heaven.


VERSE 24. He rained down manna on them to eat, and gave them food from the sky.

There were times when the LORD God fed his people with bread from heaven. It was not “the Eucharist.” Rather, it was a miraculous provision that kept them alive. Read more »


VERSE 25. Man ate the bread of angels. He sent them food to the full.

There were times when the LORD God fed his people with bread from heaven. It was not “the Eucharist.” Rather, it was a miraculous provision that kept them alive. Read more »


VERSE 26. He caused the east wind to blow in the sky. By his power he guided the south wind.


VERSE 27. He rained also meat on them as the dust; winged birds as the sand of the seas.


VERSE 28. He let them fall in the middle of their camp, around their habitations.


VERSE 29. So they ate, and were well filled. He gave them their own desire.


VERSE 30. They didn’t turn from their cravings. Their food was yet in their mouths,


VERSE 31. when the anger of God went up against them, killed some of their fattest, and struck down the young men of Israel.


VERSE 32. For all this they still sinned, and didn’t believe in his wondrous works.


VERSE 33. Therefore he consumed their days in vanity, and their years in terror.


VERSE 34. When he killed them, then they inquired after him. They returned and sought God earnestly.


VERSE 35. They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God, their redeemer.


VERSE 36. But they flattered him with their mouth, and lied to him with their tongue.

lied to him with their tongue. They became hypocrites.


VERSE 37. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they faithful in his covenant.

their heart was not right. Is your heart right with God? Do you seek the heart of God?

1 Samuel 13:14b. The LORD has sought for himself a man after his own heart.


VERSE 38. But he, being merciful, forgave iniquity, and didn’t destroy them. Yes, many times he turned his anger away, and didn’t stir up all his wrath.


VERSE 39. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes away, and doesn’t come again.


VERSE 40. How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness, and grieved him in the desert!


VERSE 41. They turned again and tempted God, and provoked the Holy One of Israel.


VERSE 42. They didn’t remember his hand, nor the day when he redeemed them from the adversary;


VERSE 43. how he set his signs in Egypt, his wonders in the field of Zoan,


VERSE 44. he turned their rivers into blood, and their streams, so that they could not drink.


VERSE 45. He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.


VERSE 46. He gave also their increase to the caterpillar, and their labor to the locust.


VERSE 47. He destroyed their vines with hail, their sycamore fig trees with frost.


VERSE 48. He gave over their livestock also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.


VERSE 49. He threw on them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, indignation, and trouble, and a band of angels of evil.


VERSE 50. He made a path for his anger. He didn’t spare their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence,


VERSE 51. and struck all the firstborn in Egypt, the chief of their strength in the tents of Ham.


VERSE 52. But he led out his own people like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.


VERSE 53. He led them safely, so that they weren’t afraid, but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.


VERSE 54. He brought them to the border of his sanctuary, to this mountain, which his right hand had taken.

right hand. The Bible often mentions “the right hand” of God. That is a position of power and honor. We believe it refers to Jesus Christ. More verses about the right hand.


VERSE 55. He also drove out the nations before them, allotted them for an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.


VERSE 56. Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God, and didn’t keep his testimonies;


VERSE 57. but turned back, and dealt treacherously like their fathers. They were twisted like a deceitful bow.


VERSE 58. For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their engraved images.


VERSE 59. When God heard this, he was angry, and greatly abhorred Israel;

greatly abhorred Israel. That is, “completely rejected Israel.” The author is speaking poetically, because the LORD God will never ever reject Israel:

Romans 11:1. I ask then, did God reject his people? May it never be! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

Romans 11:2a. God didn’t reject his people, which he foreknew …


VERSE 60. So that he abandoned the tent of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men;


VERSE 61. and delivered his strength into captivity, his glory into the adversary’s hand.


VERSE 62. He also gave his people over to the sword, and was angry with his inheritance.


VERSE 63. Fire devoured their young men. Their virgins had no wedding song.


VERSE 64. Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows couldn’t weep.


VERSE 65. Then the Lord awakened as one out of sleep, like a mighty man who shouts by reason of wine.


VERSE 66. He struck his adversaries backward. He put them to a perpetual reproach.


VERSE 67. Moreover he rejected the tent of Joseph, and didn’t choose the tribe of Ephraim,


VERSE 68. But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which he loved.


VERSE 69. He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which he has established forever.


VERSE 70. He also chose David his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds;


VERSE 71. from following the ewes that have their young, he brought him to be the shepherd of Jacob, his people, and Israel, his inheritance.


VERSE 72. So he was their shepherd according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.