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Learning From My Past: Psalm 78:1-8; 32-39

Learning From My Past: Psalm 78:1-8; 32-39

Psalm 78

A maskil of Asaph.

1 My people, hear my teaching;
    listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a parable;
    I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known,
    things our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their descendants;
    we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
    his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
    and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
    to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
    even the children yet to be born,
    and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God
    and would not forget his deeds
    but would keep his commands.
8 They would not be like their ancestors—
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God,
    whose spirits were not faithful to him.

32 In spite of all this, they kept on sinning;
    in spite of his wonders, they did not believe.
33 So he ended their days in futility
    and their years in terror.
34 Whenever God slew them, they would seek him;
    they eagerly turned to him again.
35 They remembered that God was their Rock,
    that God Most High was their Redeemer.
36 But then they would flatter him with their mouths,
    lying to him with their tongues;
37 their hearts were not loyal to him,
    they were not faithful to his covenant.
38 Yet he was merciful;
    he forgave their iniquities
    and did not destroy them.
Time after time he restrained his anger
    and did not stir up his full wrath.
39 He remembered that they were but flesh,
    a passing breeze that does not return.

Have you ever had one of those conversations that it's not until you walk away that you think of 20 better things you could have said? You replay the conversation over and over again in your head, analyzing everything you said and developing a counter-attack at your next intervention. What are ways that we learn from the past? As we analyze our past, being a recent conversation or traumatic event, what should we be looking for?

In Psalm 78, the Psalmist called for Israel to learn the lessons of its history. I won't get into the nitty-gritty, but these are directions of how Israelites are to teach the generations after them. They are told not to forget their past (no matter how dark), but to learn, grow, and teach it to the younger generations. Repentance is the means by which we grow in our relationship with God, but if we fail to learn from our past, we will continue repeating our unfaithfulness. God's faithfulness is contrasted with our unfaithfulness.

Quick Takeaways

  • Believers are responsible for teaching future generations about God and His compassionate dealings with humanity.
  • True repentance leads to a growing relationship wth God that includes willful obedience.
  • God provided atonement for our sin and rebellion, offering forgiveness through faith in Jesus. 


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