Psalm 78. One Simple Truth.


Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 78. (MsgB)

An Asaph Psalm.

Listen, dear friends, to God’s truth, bend your ears to what I tell you.
I’m chewing on the morsel of a proverb; I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths,
Stories we heard from our fathers, counsel we learned at our mother’s knee.
We’re not keeping this to ourselves, we’re passing it along to the next generation—
God’s fame and fortune, the marvelous things He has done.

Know the truth and tell the stories so their children can trust in God,
Never forget the works of God but keep His commands to the letter.
Heaven forbid they should be like their parents, bullheaded and bad,
A fickle and faithless bunch who never stayed true to God.


Psalm 78 is one of only twelve accredited to Asaph. (Psalms 50, 73-83) Scholars are uncertain if these 12 songs were actually written by a psalmist named Asaph, were penned by various musician-songwriters working in the Temple, or were songs written by King David and only transcribed by a guy named Asaph.

I guess, we’ll never really know.

But what the hey? The real fact here is that these songs written and accredited to Asaph still give us one amazing glimpse of what it was like to worship God nearly one thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 78 is, by far, Asaph’s longest psalm. 72 verses. Line after line that gives us, blow by blow, the story of a faithful God and a wayward people. A history, that quite honestly, should embarrass a good Jew, yet at the same time, should show all of us how amazing this God of the Bible actually is!

What other God, for example, do you know who would have such an amazing ability to keep loving, keep serving, keep delivering, and keep saving such a strong-headed bunch of goofballs as the people of Israel?

When we open up the Bible and read Israel’s story laid out for us over hundreds of pages, we tend to overlook how poorly God’s people treat their God. The disrespect, the pride, the arrogance, and the snotty attitudes tend to blend into the background when the story is told in bits and pieces. But here, in Psalm 78, Asaph lays out, in 72 verses, a story that, quite honestly, is an embarrassment to the human race.

And, as I see it, this is exactly what Asaph is trying to point out in the lyrics of his long-winded song.

The message is pretty clear. Let me summarize it for you in three short sentences…

God is faithful.

We are not.

Put your trust in God.

So when faced with this simple truth, you’d think that we human beings would be able to take it from there. You’d think we’d learn our lesson after several thousand years, wouldn’t you?

But yet, here we are in the 21st century, still unable or unwilling (or both) to learn the simple lessons Israel needed to learn in their journey with God so long ago.

Thanks Asaph. You said it well.

A bit long-winded, admittedly. But, hey, what preacher can bring God’s truth to the church in less than 72 verses? Look here. It took me 400+ words to tell my readers the same thing!

God is faithful.

We are not.

Put your trust in God.

My prayer: God, as hard as it is to hear the truth, the fact remains. You are faithful. I’m not. So in the light of this cold truth, I choose to place what faith and hope I do have in You, and You alone. History shows me that this is the wisest choice a human being can make. I make that choice today. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: Am I being faithful, like Asaph, to spell out, verse by verse, for the younger generation, the full story of God’s people? Am I being faithful with the entire story? Truthful? Honest? Am I making sure the facts always point to the basic truth that God is faithful, we are not; so put your trust in God?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?


Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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