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December 30, 2021 7:00 am
The gospel is founded on an historical fact that Jesus died on the cross of Calvary. The history of the Bible helps us understand who God is not a God of our imagination, but a God who invades history to accomplish his purposes.
The writers of Scripture laid out that history to remind God's people, that certain actions must not be repeated, and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Bortz preparing you to think and act quickly. God's people do not always learn from the mistakes of the past but even in failure there is hope.
Let's join Dr. Boyce as he examines Psalm 78 the history of God's people in the message that our God is the God of second chances 10 years between 1978, 1988 I was chairman of a group known as the International Council on biblical inerrancy and one of the objections to that high view of the Bible which we were trying to uphold as prevailed, all down through the centuries of church history is that the Bible may very well be accurate and true and reliable in areas of faith and morals. But I can't really be trusted in the areas of history and science, and speaks of a historical matter. You don't have to take it seriously. All you really have to do is believe it when it speaks about God what you want to do now. We replied, in those days as I continue to reply today that it's not that simple. You got divided up that way because although it may be true with other religions. The religious ideas are separated from history. It is certainly not true with Christianity. Christianity is an historical religion of the Bible is grounded in the acts of God in history. Now that is obviously true in the New Testament because the entire gospel that we proclaim is that God invaded history in the person of Jesus Christ. He became a God man and not only did he live and teach the things of the record in the bottom of the gospel, but at the end of his earthly life he died on the cross becoming an atonement for our sins. All gospel hands-on lab of the very son of God actually died in our place on the cross so that's historical gospel and if you attack the history well. You inevitably undermine the very essence of what Christianity is all about. Not only is that true of the New Testament where it is obvious to us to destroy the Old Testament as well because the Old Testament is not just lost, not just the 10 Commandments, but just a revelation of God to Moses or something of that nature that can be expressed in theological language is also God's great saving acts in history and their number Psalms to talk about that Psalm 78 is one of the but it's only one it's really the first great example of this that we come to out we are going to find other examples. Psalm 80 is one come to that in two more studies, but there are Psalms and do it extensively.
Perhaps the best examples are Psalms 100 and 506, 107, 114, 135 and 136 were to come.
All of those in due time. These rehearse the history of God's dealings with Israel in order to make the point. God is a certain way, he is like he is revealed himself to be in history and not other than that, and so we have to come to terms with the God who is God of our imagination. Furthermore, the history shows what happens when you follow God. And when you don't follow God when you follow after God's blessing when you don't follow after God's judgment and so the history is reviewed in order to say to the people in the present day Outlook. If this is the way God is like. It is what history is like this is how you want to live. We do have one example. One classic example of that in the New Testament, and that Stephen's speech before the Sanhedrin is recorded in the seventh chapter of the book of acts they hauled him off or upset by his teaching and he began to review the history of Israel and his whole point was a godsend. A whole series of profits of the people in every time God sent a prophet. They rejected a prophet, and often they killed them and now finally they killed Jesus Christ so use her history to show them that they were behaving that way. Diane Liotta turn from it and repent what they were doing because that is what they have done in the judgment, now Psalm 78 is like this. It's the longest of these historical songs and so it's a good one with which to begin and end, and it has a simple lesson to review an awful lot of history lesson itself is a very simple one and it's just this history must not repeat itself. Three other people's been bad, but don't let it happen again is what he saying remember what happened and repent. Don't do it again on course they didn't do it again, but the history says is that they rejected God turn from his ways did it all over again when they rejected Jesus Christ but that's the message of the song, how it falls in the seventh stanza.
Some generally speaking, that will divided in the new international version there some variation the way they are treated by the commentators but the standard that you have here are good ones.
The first eight verses all they saw a very compelling preamble what's going to be set is going to be talking about this history, but he begins the first day verses to explain why he's talking about the history of what is exactly that is going to do on the two things to notice there in the first eight verses first of all the describes what he is going to do as a parable and opened his mouth in parables out a parable to us usually suggest just the story doesn't even have to be true, probably is you think the letters that got up the story is made up to make a point. And that's true Jesus parables were like that.
But the word itself involves more work parable itself is composed of two words parent means alongside of, as in the Paraclete. It's a reference for the Holy Spirit is one is called alongside of us to help us that the first part para and then the second way is the throw or to cash, so a parable is something a story of historical incident or something of that nature that is placed alongside of something else in order that we might learn from the comparison on this case.
What we have of the Old Testament stories the history of Israel laid over against the present time so that we might not repeat the mistakes of those who live in the class is what is doing is what this is going to be all about. The second thing we want to notice is the emphasis in this preamble upon the children telling the children sort of things that they need to know and for the same reason the children won't repeat the mistakes of the class to what their fathers done before the Allin asset begins to talk about the children. He is three reflecting great theme all the earlier books of the Old Testament, particularly the book of Deuteronomy Deuteronomy means the second wall. The second giving of the law.
The fifth chapter of the book of Deuteronomy repeats the 10 Commandments that you have an exit this but in the sixth chapter is very strong chapter that follows the second giving of the 10 Commandments in stressing how it's important that we don't forget it and that we pass these teachings to our children says that a number of places these commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
Impress them on your children than a little later on and it sort of writes out little dialogue so you don't miss the idea in the future, says versus six through 922 25 in the future when your son asked you what is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws of the Lord our God has commanded you. And you telling this we were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand before our eyes. The Lord sent miraculous signs and wonders great and terrible upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us up from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on the our forefathers and the Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive as is the case today is what it says in Deuteronomy. That's what you're supposed to teach your children, and acceptance. He begins to record this solvent review.
Some of this history, the very things that were supposed to be taught saying the same thing you say, make sure you tell your children these things in order that they might live righteous lives and follow after the war, to be blessed and not experience judgment.
Other different ways in which you can apply that. But 1 Obvious Way. In view of the struggles of our having.
Today in the area of education is this. We are not in favor as Christians of what is commonly called value neutral education world strongly believes in value neutral education or that really means is that they resist moral standards want to be free to do exactly what they want to do and so if you try to talk about moral standards are absolute right and wrong are opposed by that and I will today and that is a very vigorous way will fight you for organizations will sue you try to say anything that has any morality in it in the public sphere paying the price for that you fill out morals and people begin to act immorally so we had cheating in the schools and violence in the schools rape and robbery of all of the things that would just of them thought impossible even half a generation ago, we were not for that Christian people like the Jews of old have the responsibility of reviewing the past in order that our children might learn truth from falsehood right from wrong and going towards right now.
They don't always do it. Of course, but we have always done it ourselves either, but that's our responsibility and so we have to do that we have to do it faithfully necessary have to do in and around schools that were not allowed to do it elsewhere. I was talking just as noontime. Somebody just came back from Russia talking about how hungry they are to hear something about God and the schools teach us something about God and morals of the schools rock is not ironic. Russia, the great evil empire. According to Ronald Reagan now welcomes religion in America the land of the pilgrims land of God will even let you say anything about God and the school principal anywhere across schools and can't do any of that juicy but we are opposed to that, as Christian people, and we do it in the hole line of the biblical tradition, preamble with verse nine you come to the second of these stances were actually begins to get into this and he begins with God's dealings with Ephraim was one of the 12 Jewish tribes puzzle to us why asset should talk so much about Ephraim a couple reasons. First of all Ephraim does not seem to us to be one of the prominent tribes meaning of Judah. Perhaps our Benjamin or whatever, maybe we don't normally think of Ephraim, we wouldn't give Ephraim this kind of prominence and secondly the incident that's referred to here, the minute Ephraim though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle is something that we don't even know about that's referring that we don't find it anywhere else in the Old Testament so little bit of a puzzle from battle. Apparently lately didn't like the other spot they turned back. We don't know anything about that. I why in the world is acetate that particular track lighting is a very good reason and it comes clearly later in the song.
What we find in this six stanzas versus 56 and following where he begins to talk about Ephraim again is that God rejected this tribe as the tribe of which the Messiah should come in the early days, Ephraim really was a prominent drive. When they came out of Egypt and during the years of the desert wandering and when they enter into the promised land to begin the conquest. Ephraim was one of the strongest and certainly the most numerical of the tribe so you would naturally think that it would be from Ephraim that the blessing would come the Messiah would come, but at the end of the Psalm ends on that note, this is what assets try to pound away at we find God rejected Ephraim as the tribe was the Messiah becoming established Judah. Instead, it not only did he reject Ephraim. He rejected Shiloh, which was sitting in Ephraim's territory where the ark was In order to bring the Ark to Jerusalem and establish the center of the kingdom in Jerusalem and the tribe in the South. Solicit using the point is that Ephraim did not follow after the Lord.
So God rejected Ephraim saying in here say it at the end and this point is for us. That's just the way it's going to happen if you do not follow after God you find that you suffer for churches of been rejected and become nothing in the sight of God because they don't follow after God. Remember what Jesus told the church in Ephesus and those letters to the churches that we find in the early chapters of the book of Revelation, Jesus said, Revelation 25 if you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place glass office saying to the people of his day is repent of your sin so that it doesn't happen with you is happened in the past will happen again. Be careful.
Now we go to the next stanza when the devil tempted the Lord Jesus Christ in the wilderness, which is recorded in Matthew four also look for one of the things he tempted to do is jump off the temple because the devil said read in the Psalms of the 91st Psalm, but God will send his angels to look you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
I said look right into this tryout save. It really works if you really trust God jump off the temple to lift you up will come floating down. You will get hurt people is a miracle to great way to begin program and Jesus replied by by quoting from Deuteronomy 616 and the text.
The replied with was this you shall not put the Lord your God to the test replied rightly when we come to this next stanza of the stanza begins with verse 17 we find that that's exactly what the people in the wilderness did verse 18 says they will fully put God to the test. Now what they do exactly that was putting God of the test well they input into the test by expecting them to provide life's necessities as God was obliged to do that God had led them out into the wilderness and the league about in the wilderness to die so if they lack food.
He had to provide food like water. He had to provide water that wasn't the problem. The problem was first that the people were dissatisfied with what God had done.
They wanted more.
Find yourself like that, being dissatisfied with what God is and think of all that God is given us this link back in previous ages of this world's history, how people suffered without any of the things we have that make life nice. We have all of that and yet we are dissatisfied we want more.
That's what they did.
The first thing secondly they considered that the reason why God did not give them everything I wanted was because he couldn't do it.
So if you put that into theological terminology.
Their sins were first in gratitude and then second unbelief is always in those two areas of the put God the test now answer this concern here to highlight least nature of the sin only does it is by highlighting the abundance of God's blessings is read through that stance and you'll see how he does it he talks about God raining down Mandel on London semantic plenty of food production. Verse 25 of them having all the food they can eat is for water.
Verse 20 says when he struck the rock water gushed out and streams flowed abundantly by saying thank the food was not poor, fair deposit little later on.
The food of angels is one of a plenty of water to drink and yet people were still to satisfy what they say. Verse 19 is this, can God spread a table in the desert. I mean the kind of table we would like right and verse 20. Any supply meet.
First, people begin as well but is he really able to go beyond that they would give us meat. That's what we really want one asset reminds the people as a last for me. God gave them the eccentric whale that I got sick many of them died because I subsides God's anger flared out against the people because they were satisfied with what he had done dissatisfaction with God when he's given us all things richly in Jesus Christ is certainly one of the great sins of the church.
Well the judgment that is mentioned at the end of the third stanza leads into the subject matter of the fourth stanza, which is versus 32 through 39 theme of the stanzas repentance and the connection is this. When the people were charged. I repented problem is that there repentance wasn't true repentance is on a temporary little thing get God off their backs as it were, reminds us of Hosea Hosea and that first of the great minor profit. His writings has two sections 1 and chapter 6 at the beginning when in chapter 14. At the beginning in which he talks about repentance and he talked about a true repentance will in chapter 6 he talks about a false repent and in Hosea what they say is repent and God's been popular this we don't want this to go on anymore.
This is repent because when you repent is always good to you again, he changes his mind. It's like the sun coming up in the Eastern going down the West like the moon coming out at night.
That's what God is like. It's a very glib kind of thing. And that's what is true here. Look what asset says versus 34 through 37 whenever God sloughed secant late eagerly turned to him again. They remember that God was there rock that God most high was the Redeemer then flatter him with their mouths lying to him with their tongues, their hearts were not loyal to him. They were not faithful to his covenant and say that's hypocritical repentance and must be nauseating to God what Hosea says in his prophecy. Is that true repentance involves this. First of all, an honest acknowledgment of sin. You don't hear much of the day. Secondly, of turning from it. And third, an appeal to God's grace, not all of that is absent here is a striking note, almost a surprising note because in the same stanza talks about this false repentance asset says nevertheless God is merciful and he atoned for their iniquities and did not destroy them.
What he saying is that obviously is what they deserved to be destroyed, and that God was a merciful God and preserve them anyway. Now that is exactly the way God is with us, you and I got what we deserved from God would be in hell right now are wasn't hello got held up on that. We certainly would not enjoy any of the blessings we enjoy as Christians, we wouldn't have fellowship of other people.
Nobody would be praying for as we go all out there on our own, like the world about any got a guidance, not knowing the law of God. I was a merciful God is merciful and so in spite of the fact that we deserve the abandonment by God but hell and damnation. That's what we deserve. In spite of that God has been merciful.
Well mercy like that love like that demands our grateful response are one of well Isaac once wrote love so amazing, so the blind man's my soul, my life, my all. That's what asset is, say that's a way God is treated you in the past, in spite of the way you've treated him and he deserves everything from you.
You should follow after him.
One of the commentators on the Psalms. I often quote from Stuart Perrone earlier age actually writing in the 1800s because this passage of most striking and affecting picture of man's heart and God's gracious forbearance of all ages and sin calling for chastisements chastisement producing only temporary amendments God's goodness, forgotten, and yet God's great love never weary.
Well, it really is affecting step backward quite often doesn't affect us.
We go our own way and there's a sense in which the stanza of the song begins with verse 40 is a new beginning. Some commentators have called that a new beginning because what he does here is go back and review the history of the people again going back to the Exodus from Egypt talking about plagues from commentators of divided the solvent to haves this way, the more vertical unsafe actually to Psalms put together, and so forth.
Isn't that the second half builds over where you come out at the end of the first half but nevertheless it does review the history and so you look at that and you say what what is the point here. Why at this point halfway through the solvent is asset go back to the ending, as it were, and start all over again will he answer is obvious. You see, God is done all these things for the people to people of not really repented and follow after him to do.
The only thing you can do is go back and tell the story again maybe look at it the second time is eight that's what is exactly what it's doing here what he is done, stanza lawn, we were reminded that God had done. Miracles of the people of forgotten them. Stanza two were reminded that he provided for the people's needs. Abundantly, they remain unsatisfied in stanza three, were reminded of God's just judgments but these only produced a false repentance that got even his mercy was effective for in spite of his mercy the people are sporty often rebelled against them in the desert and grieved them in the wastelands but together got miracles provision got judgment. You got mercy for great actions on the part of God and yet in spite of them. Reaction of the people's rebellion and unbelief is a possible answer is in verse 42 is probably the most important verse, and Solomon says they did not remember his power.
The day he redeemed them from the oppressor. That's it is exactly what they forgot redemption, God gave I'm ready use that word redemption, there because that is one of the keywords in the Christian vocabulary to describe the work of Christ what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross is redeem us from our sin.
He bought us out of our slavery to city set us free. What the word means just as God set the people of Israel free from their bondage in Egypt but just as they forgot, we forget it. And so we go on and live our lives in any of that for appalling that you be the case, but it is that's exactly the way we operate. Derek Kidner, another commentator says on this point, if redemption itself is forgotten. Faith and love will not last long. Means by that is that if it's possible to read. Forget the fact that Jesus Christ redeemed you on the cross from your sin, then you're not going to trust him for very long in life's trials or love them enough to obey them in times of temptation. Well, we do that situation called on some some special solution from heaven, delete delete dig around in the past and find something new that we forgotten enough to do exactly what asset does. That is, tell the story all over again is if you forget about the redemption of Jesus Christ.
What you need a miracle you need to hear about the redemption of Jesus Christ, and he learned again because you forgotten it. And so that's what he does goes back and he begins to talk about the redemption of the Jews from Egypt from their slavery talks about plagues is a good description on the release six of them here.
The 10 reviews out a few covers the more or less restore the turning of the Nile. The blood the plague of flies multiplication of the frogs. The locus the hail and finally the killing of all the firstborn of Egypt is plagues builds were that last terrible judgment against the firstborn and set the tone for the contrast. Because what happens at that point is that God quite a different way leads his people out of Egypt like a flock of timid, safe, and trusting sheet variant of that stanza that is the end of stanza five or verses that bring them the very border the promise land and in doing versus Fortin five. Some of the scholars put those two verses with the next stanza, but really doesn't matter where you place it really does matter is when you get to this next stanza that is stanza six. Beginning in verse 56 we find again that they put God to the test but hear what they done is even heightened over what they did before using before they were ungrateful and unbelieving and rebellious and they would God to the test. That way, but hear what they do is worship idols there there in verse 58. They angered them with their high places, aroused his jealousy with their idols. They rejected God they went after other gods like we go after the gods of our culture, we are more concerned with being famous or rich or well-regarded or whatever it may be that we are with a bag.
Jesus Christ is what they were doing and what it says is this so he rejected.
That's what he referred to at the beginning is my starts talking about Ephraim as God rejected Ephraim as the tribe from which the Messiah would come and he abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh which is where the ark was kept set the ark and the captivity that refers to the time when it fell into the hands of the listings and when God eventually brought it back and never went back to Shiloh again. It was Capt. the house of a man named Bennett Avenue. Tabernacle was removed first mom and afterwards to give the end and then finally to Jerusalem and then at time of David, the ark was taken up Jerusalem and Judah never went back. Ephraim again is why said using the second half of the Psalm is not just that repetition of the first tab going over the story again is heightening it an assignment here was the final result was apostasy because they rejected God. God, in a certain sense had rejected them as a way of saying the one sin leads to one another's hardens hearts never something to be feared and kept away from answers good news to because where the final stanza ends is where Psalm itself, and this is this is spoken of God's building anger against entrenched human sin, but it also says that his mercy is not and we had it at the end of stanza four.
Here, the entire class beginning with verse 65 is given over to it I mentioned earlier about the second half and some commentators calling out a new beginning.
Some commentators refer to this last stanza say this is the new beginning and it is one sense only in the sense that there are always new beginnings with God is a Ephraim is rejected, but Judas chosen drywall is cast off Jerusalem becomes a new center for God's dealings and asked if ends on the note God from Judah chose David to be Israel's rated faithful king I was we know people also went downhill from that point on it.
By the time of the coming of Jesus Christ actually did away with Jesus conspiring with the Romans have been killed, so you never get to a plateau in any of this year either. Following after God and going up. He rejected God and going down and the history repeats itself and the only real lesson from history someone is that is that we never learn from his seat by the grace of God.
You can learn and there are people who have learned down through the ages or people say yes yes that's right we have sin we got our own way. But God sent Jesus Christ to be our Savior and we believe that by his grace were going to follow after him. We deserve nothing we receive everything Jesus Christ that's great good news so our job is to remember not to forget to remember God's mercy, to remember God's blessings and to tell the children we pass it on the next generation. That's our calling to spray our father, we are thankful for the song reviews the history which is not really our history as Gentiles, and that is part of the history of the people of God, principles of the same where people in spite of your mercy and your power range supervision in your judgment, in spite of all of that went their own way. Just as we do. We thank you that your merciful in spite of it all, your merciful to them continue the work of the Jewish people and eventually brought Jesus Christ a Jew. My background in a broad many to faith in him. Now today, both Jews and Gentiles are father we would follow after Jesus asked for grace to do it whenever you do it by ourselves. We asked for grace to. We thank you for the strength is there in Jesus Christ alone is thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars and churchmen who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church.
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