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July 2, 2022 8:00 am
Welcome to through the songs we give ministry of the truthful teaching God's people. God's word over time will study all 150 Psalms with pastor Don Greene from truth community church in Cincinnati, Ohio were so glad you're with us. Let's open to the Psalms right now as we join our teacher in the truthful open going to turn tonight to Psalm 78 Psalm 78 as our text for this evening and it is a bit of a challenge for us in one sense going to cover this entire song in one evening. This evening, mindful of the fact that this is the second longest Psalm of all 150 it's 72 verses are second only to Psalm 119 in length and so we already know, as we start out there that are going to be covering more than a bursa minute you could say in how we approach this if you keep one thing in mind it will help you have a perspective that will give us an idea of what were trying to do here this evening as we remember that the old maxim.
The saying that says you don't want to miss the forest for the trees.
You don't want to be so caught up in details that you miss the big picture and tonight's the night were were going to see the big picture of this Psalm, which we have titled tonight a long history of grace a long history of grace and it's not because the Psalm is long. Although it is but rather that God has a long history of dealing with the nation of Israel. According to grace that they did not deserve and we as Christians can realize and look at the cross, and an even greater way that God has dealt with us according to a grace that we did not deserve that the Lord Jesus Christ when he laid down his life for our sins that Calvary when God appointed a plan for the righteousness and blood of Christ to be the means by which we could have access to a holy God to realize that he is given us favor that we did not deserve. He has return for our sin, grace and kindness and love and mercy. As we have been singing about. As we gathered together here at the start and so Psalm 78 looks at the history of Israel and brings those principles to light and it recites history in the Psalm as the Bible so often does love. This is something to help you in your in your Bible reading that, as is so often the case.
If not, if not always the case.
I don't know that I want to be absolute in the statement, but as is so often the case, the Bible recites history in order to teach spiritual lessons. In other words, were not simply gathering facts here so we can accumulate knowledge and dates and remember what happened the point of reciting history in Scripture is is so very often if not always to impart spiritual lessons to those that are living and are hearing the hearing the message that we would draw from it. Lessons that would encourage us and point us in the right direction and spiritual life.
In Romans chapter 15 verse four.
You can see this stated plainly stick your finger in your Bible at Psalm 78 in turn to Romans 15 verse four for just a moment. Romans 15 in verse four, the apostle Paul said that whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Paul says we look back at what was written in prior times. Looking back at what was said in the Old Testament and we are to draw out of that accurate understanding that would fuel our hearts with a sense of encouragement as we walk through this life and give us a sense of abiding hope that the Lord will be faithful to us, just as he was faithful to his people back then and we draw from that faith we draw from that encouragement we draw from that. Hope the sense that no matter what is happening around us. Now it will be well for our souls.
In the end because of who God is not because you can see the outcome and you can trace what's going to happen from today.
Going into the future. Often there is no hope in that at all because were utterly bewildered. Are we utterly lost in being able to guess and understand how this could possibly work out in any way that is fruitful and in helpful. I've certainly gone through trials like that and I know that you have to. Our hope is not found in understanding our circumstances but knowing who God is and how he deals with his people. So let's dive into Psalm 78.
I'm not going to read through it just kind of get the text as we go along in our explanation of it ever going to break this into three primary sections here. They are of unequal length and so let's look at the first aspect of the Solomon and recognizing that the goal of this Psalm is instruction point number one. The goal of instruction in this song I just say this to help you understand and orient yourself so often, when we read the Psalms were reading writings that by their nature are vertical. They are addressed to God.
They cry out to God, and they they address God old Lord, hear my prayer. Oh Lord, how long and the psalmist is speaking vertically and and we are listening again as he prays Psalm 78 is not like that Psalm 78 is different. Psalm 78 is a horizontal Psalm, by which I mean it is intended to instruct the readers. It has a human audience in view with what it says and you'll see that as we open it up here in the first three verses look at them with me. Psalm 78 verse one he says listen over my people to my instruction. Incline your ears to the words of my mouth cc the horizontal dimension here he is writing to instruct the people of Israel who would be reading his words. He says in verse two. I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter dark sayings of old which we have heard and known and our fathers have told us, so he tells us right from the start. I am going to instruct you by what I say now in that we see that there is to be in the audience to the word of God, a receptive a teachable a believing spirit. We are not to be hardhearted, stiffnecked mules that do not want to be instructed God's word says I will instruct you.
God's word claims that authority in order to that that brings authority to bear on the way that we think and the way that we assess the matters of life. Psalm 78 is written in that spirit, what he saying is this saying there are insights about spiritual life that are to be gleaned from our history when I say our history from Israel's history and these are things that a prior generation told us and now we repeat the chorus to you in that way. Kind of reminds us of second Timothy two where Paul says that we are to take the things we have heard teach them to faithful people, faithful men, who will then go and teach them to others. There is a relay race dynamic to biblical life where we eat.
We speaking collectively here within this room we have received the benefit of teaching for men who have gone before us. Maybe parents may be other pastors professors. Whatever the case may be. We have been given a deposit from the people who have gone before us and that places on us, a responsibility, a duty, and let's make it positive a privilege for us to be able to tell others who have not yet heard about the things we have received from those that have gone before us.
Were not trying to come up with new things. Not trying to come up with new revelation from God.
It's far more than enough. It's far more responsibility than any one person should bear to simply faithfully pass on to the next generation. What we have received ourselves. And so even as we are doing what we do here at truth community church week after week, month after month, year after year. There is a privilege and a responsibility that is being inculcated into your life that says, as I am growing in God's word as you and I are growing in God's word together. We understand that we are developing a responsibility that we would go and pass that on faithfully to those who come after us. Maybe it's our children. Maybe it's future people who have never heard the gospel but were mindful of the fact that we have received a great gift and now it's our privilege and our duty to pass it on to those who have not yet heard. The psalmist is writing from that perspective.
What is it that he wants to tell about in verse four he says this he says we will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come. What the praises of the Lord and his strength and his wondrous works that he has done. He says I am writing to instruct you and I am going to instruct you about the great worth of God and the great things that he has done for his people, so that a generation to come will be able to hear them. He tells his audience. He tells his readers, you listen to me as I instruct you in the worship and works of God so that we can tell a generation yet to be born in the language. I believe it's of Psalm 22 generation yet to be born of the things that we have received and so this Psalm is designed to instruct the children of Israel about the greatness of God and the wonderful things he's done for his people so disoriented us right from the start about how what it is that he's going to do and he hasn't goal in mind he's not simply this is just so important in this. You know you could build. You could build a philosophy of preaching out of these opening eight verses in the song that just occurred to me maybe someday I'll be able to do that.
I rather doubt it. I have other things I need to do, but he tells us what his purpose is. He's not just communicating information.
He intends to produce in his readers the spiritual virtues of faith and obedience below a believing response to God that issues in compliance with his word.
A glad obedience to the revelation of who God is and so these are not matters of simply abstract observation and study were not simply learning numbers and arithmetic here to repeat mindlessly. These are things that are designed to shape your heart to shape your life and to change the way that you live. He is looking to produce faith and obedience. Look at what he says here in verse five through seven.
He says for he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children that they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God to keep his commandments.
Don't you love the intergenerational approach to this. This is really stunning when you think about it. He is writing for the benefit of people. He will never meet.
He is teaching for the benefit of a second generation to come. He says will teach them to our children and they will teach them to their children and so he has this long term perspective about the enduring value of the word of God. The enduring quality that it brings any has a sense of responsibility. He has a sense of obligation vertically toward God that you have deposited this truth to us and I am going to play my part to see that it extends the generations yet to come. And some of you young people that would be a great thing to devote your life to the determined now in your youth, but I will give my life to carry out the word of God in exactly the way that this is said to do what we want to see is notice in verse seven I said is looking to produce faith and obedience.
Look at it right there why all of this effort to do that. Why this long term perspective verse seven that they these wants to come should put their confidence in God.
There's faith there's trust and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.
There is the way of obedience and if his audience that he has in mind would embrace these principles of faith, trust and obedience they would do something significant they would separate themselves, they would differentiate themselves from that prior generation in Israel's history that did not do that that were guilty of unbelief that were guilty of disobedience, and so he wants them to recognize this prior history of failure on the part of Israel so that they would so that they would learn to detest that that they would hate that, to the point that they would turn their backs on that kind of disobedience and turn to God with a full throated love and obedience that embraces his word by trust embraces it by faith and issues in a life of obedience. Look at verse eight. And remember, he's been talking about the children yet to be born that they would arise and tell to their children.
What is he want them to do.
Verse eight and not be like their fathers, their ancestors, a stubborn and rebellious generation a generation that did not prepare its heart and his spirit was not faithful to God, I love what he's done here.
He's just laid it all out on the table. He says I intend to instruct you so that you would walk in faith and obedience to Israel's God. I want you to know that in order to do that you have to consider the failures of the generation ahead and consciously deliberate and consciously choose.
I will reject that I will not be like my ancestors. I see their failure. I see their unbelief. I see their sin and I am going to orient my heart in a different direction. Some of you some of you have the privilege of having received a godly heritage from your family a godly heritage from your parents or maybe a grandparent or something like that.
You have the benefit of that and you are able to walk in and in the in a path that is been laid out before you where they have gone before you and that if you are walking in the wake of that kind of godliness you should thank God that he is given such a gift as that to you because it is easier that way than to try to find your way is a first generation Christian.
Having said that, however, those of you who have examples of spiritual failure from your forebears from your parents, who have not led you in the way of the word of God. You should be able to look at this and say you know what this Psalm is especially for me because I was born into a family.
I have been raised in an environment that is stubborn and rebellious against the word of God that doesn't condemn you to spiritual failure. Rather, it is your opportunity to say look at what they did.
That's what I don't do. That's an example that is negative in the sense that this tells me what I'm not to do. They treated the word of God lightly. They treated the word of God with disdain. They didn't even open the word of God. They were known as people of prayer say okay that's what I received. You know what I know now what not to do to okay that's that's progress now herein.
Psalm 78 and in the rest of Scripture. You find out what it is that you do do what it is that you do believe what it is that you do embrace and so the fact that you come from a negative spiritual environment or for some of you coming from a life of a lot of a lot a lot a lot a lot a sin and now you been born again and you're trying to play spiritual catch up.
Just to realize that the grace of God is operative in all of that in the God's good purposes can still be fulfilled even in your life and that's a great thing to know now in order to fulfill his goal of instruction. He has two themes that he's going to develop from Israel's history.
He's going to talk about their rebellion and he's going to talk about redemption, sin and salvation. Rebellion and redemption. You could say and that brings us to our second section which is the longest section in the Psalm will just call this that the sin in history, or if you like the our words better. The rebellion in history. You can take either one all be happy either way what the psalmist does here is he tells how one of the 12 tribes of Israel particularly failed in battle because of their unbelief. The tribe of freedom.
Look at verse nine, he's he's given his introduction I'm going to instruct you in trust and obedience from history and I'm telling you, don't be stubborn and rebellious. Now he opens with an illustration from history about exactly what he's talking about and he illustrates these points from multiplied examples in Israel's history verses nine through 11 here, the sons of African were archers equipped with bows.
Yet they turned back in the day of battle.
They did not keep the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law, they forgot his deeds in his miracles that he had shown that now Africa was the largest of the northern tribes of Israel and the writer of this Psalm here is describing a failure and faithlessness in their history.
We don't know Scripture doesn't record force elsewhere. What specifically he's referring to. It's enough for us to know that in battle, they fled. They ran away when they should have thought with courage, they fled when they should have thought they feared when they should have been courageous. He attributes this in verse 11 to a spiritual failure and their partner. Failure was not because they were overwhelmed by greater physical force. Their failure was found in their failure to remember who God is and what he had done for them. Verse 11.
Look at it again.
They forgot his deeds and his miracles that he had shown them beloved, when you find yourself faltering in fear. Fear of man.
Fear of circumstances when you find fear and anxiety starting to grip your heart, you can look at this and understand that as fear is gripping your heart. You are increasingly forgetting what God has already done for you, what Christ has done for you and saving you that fear is a reflection that you are starting to forget things of most vital importance that you should be remembering. There is never a cause for fear in the life of the Christian because if you remember Psalm even Psalm 23 the most. One of the most familiar song verse four.
I fear no evil by because you are with me.
Isaiah 41 verse 10 says turn there with me for just a moment.
Isaiah 41 verse 10 in similar spirit says do not fear, for I am with you, do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right and so as Christians were not meant to give into fear. Rather, we are to fight it is we would date a physical battle, and that the source of our victory in that is remembering the deeds in the person of God, particularly for us in the New Testament era how he's revealed himself in Christ is no reason to be afraid of anything. God is with me, of whom shall I be afraid, but for him, forgot that in their cowardice.
In light of their own history was inexcusable. Look at verse 12 he speaks of God. Going back to Psalm 78 now he speaks of what God had done in the history of Israel and the implication is the tribe of freedom should have remembered this great work that he did so that rather than fleeing in battle they would've been courageous in Victoria Senate, he says, look at what God did for them. Verse 12 he wrought wonders before their fathers in the land of Egypt and the field is ON, he divided the sea and caused them to pass through, and he made the water stand up like a heap. Then he led them with the cloud by day and all the night with a light a fire. He split the rocks in the wilderness and gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths.
He brought forth streams also from the rock and caused waters to run down like rivers. He saying look remember what God did for them the miraculous way he delivered them from Egypt. The miraculous way that he parted the seas. The miraculous way that he brought water from a rock.
The miraculous way that he provided for them under under verse circumstances under more extreme adversity. God had delivered them now here you are in a lesser battle of lesser danger. You should be able to reason from the greater to the lesser. If God did the greater thing and the deliverance from Egypt, then it should be clear in your mind that he can deliver here in these lesser circumstances of adversity as well. They didn't reason that way and therefore they failed to see a couple of things here thinking about it from the soul to the perspective of the Old Testament audience, Israel, the nation of Israel existed because God had delivered them.
But despite that provision that occurred in their very myths the pillar of cloud, the pillar of fire their whole nation was grounded in these great historical events. This great historical redemption that took place. They should know their own history and know that God was going to keep them but they didn't do that now think about this, as Christians, and apply the same principle of reasoning to our own hearts here tonight you're here tonight is a Christian you say I believe the Christ has redeemed me across from all my sin. I have been born again by the power the Holy Spirit, God has graciously saved me. Beloved, don't you see when that's true, that the very the very fact that you exist as a Christian is proof that God will continue to keep you until you arrive safely home in heaven and save you to abandon you and save Israel deliver Israel in order to abandon them. The very fact that you are on the receiving end of this kind of blessing is your motivation and proof.
One aspect of motivation and proof for you to trust him for what lies ahead in the future is already done. The greater thing and saving me from said then certainly he can.
He will save me in the lesser circumstances of life until I get safely home. You say, but what about my this and that, what about this problem this trial, the sorrow Scriptures response would be, yeah, what about it.
What about it. I say it gently and I saved in love. What about it, don't go there until you thought through the implications of what we've already said if God has saved you that defines the entire perspective on which you look at everything else. And so you don't look at any aspect of your life any sorrow any essence of adversity in any broken relationship you view all of those from the prior understanding of the redemption that God is granted to you in Christ and all of a sudden you're looking at every piece of adversity every unknown circumstance. Every threatening aspect of the future you're looking at them from a position of strength, not weakness. That's what he is teaching us. That's how he's instructing us to think for Israel, despite their history. That should've driven them to faith and obedience. Despite that provision in their very midst they disbelieved and they rebelled look at verse 17. Remember he is just recited some of the miraculous ways of God provided for them. Now in verse 17 he he switches back and says here was their response to that in real time. This is what they actually did. He says, yet they still continue to sin against him, to rebel against the most high in the desert and in their heart. They put God to the test by asking food according to their desire.
Remember they wanted me, they weren't satisfied with the manna that we won't want something other than what you're providing force verse 19. Then they spoke against God. They said can God prepare a table in the wilderness, behold, he struck the rock so the waters gushed out and streams were overflowing, but the response to that was well can you give bread. Also will we provide meet for his people. Beloved. What the psalmist is saying here is that that dissatisfaction with God's provision and these accusatory questions that they made against God's willingness and ability to provide for them in the wilderness.
All of that was sinful. It was inexcusable, culpable rebellion against the God would save them in the first place, and as a result, it invoked the wrath of God. Verse 21 therefore the Lord heard and was full of wrath and a fire was kindled against Jacob and anger also mounted against Israel. Why, why was God angry because they did not believe in God and did not trust in his salvation.
You see beloved. He just made a really important point. The wrath was against their words in a sentence, but it was in a greater sense against the unbelief of their hearts that prompted them to say what they said God had manifested his trustworthiness to them in history.
He had manifested his ability to deliver to them in history. The righteous response the way that they should have responded, was in faith in Christ. They gave him honor from their inner man to honor him from their inner man and believing really and lovingly say God I trust you no matter what comes. They didn't do that. They were selfish they rebelled. They were stiffnecked and what they spoke was a reflection of the unbelief of their hearts. And that's why the Scripture says God's anger wasn't directed against their unbelief and their failure to trust him. So see beloved one of the things that you and I come to grips with now in our Christian lives together, both individually and corporately is is that is that we realize that that what's going on in our hearts is a matter of great consequence. The nature of sanctification, the nature of the Christian life is not simply about external compliance to a bunch of rules the make you look good in the presence of men because Scripture says God looks on the heart.
When he looks at first Samuel 16 verse seven says and and when God looks on your heart. What does he see their cc a heart of gratitude and thanks of trust. This directed to him in response to his word written and incarnate, or does he see a heart of grumbling dissatisfaction, rebellion. Instead, writer Scripture says his wrath was directed against the condition of their heart, while you mean it doesn't really matter what men see if you know I can't just be content the people think I'm a good Christian man good Christian woman. That's right the issue. The primary issue is what is your attitude and disposition toward the God whose you say saved you and what did God do as a response of his in response to his the unbelief of his people. God disciplined them.
He disciplined them. Ironically, by proving his power to provide for them. They doubted his his ability to give to them what they needed and so he's going to show them that he can do whatever he wishes. Verse 23, yet he commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven, he rained down manna upon them to eat, and gave them food from heaven. Man did eat the bread of Angels. He sent them food in abundance, bread of Angels, and that this was food that was spiritually provided outside normal human means when God provided manna for them. Six days a week with a double portion on the sixth day so they did work on the seventh. Now watch this. In verse 26 because the east wind to blow in the heavens, and by his power, he directed the Southwind. He's referring to an event that occurred in the book of numbers we looked at last time.
Verse 27 when he rained immediate upon them like the dust. Even winged fowl like the sand of the seas. Then he let them fall in the midst of their campground about their dwellings and so they ate and were well filled and their desire he gave to them. People said we want to meet. God said you want me I'll give you me, so I just pours it down upon them to show that he's able to do that, but the outcome of that was not what they expected or what they wanted. Verse 29.
They ate and were well filled and their desire he gave to them, so he gave them what they asked, but then look at verse 30.
This provision was a discipline and a punishment upon them before they had satisfied their desire while their food was in their mouths births, 31, the anger of God, rose against them and killed some of their status ones and subdued the choice men of Israel, they feasted, according to their carnal desires, but they did so without gratitude. They did so not in faith, they were not eating and drinking, to the glory of God first Corinthians 1031. They were just eating and drinking, according to the fleshly desires and had no regard for the God had provided for them. Watch this. They were eating all of this meet without any repentance for their prior unbelief. They didn't look at this and say all we doubted God's ability to provide God, I'm so sorry.
I see in front of me. The evidence that you are able to do whatever you want to do and you we asked for me than here.
You gave us so much me God. I'm sorry for my unbelief. God, thank you for what you've done. They just kind of figuratively speaking, of course, they just pushed God out of the way and started greedily stuffing food into their mouth. This was a low point in the history of Israel. Now, at that point the people of Israel had both positive and negative proof that should've led them to face think with me beloved.
He's just recited how God killed some of their status men.
He has recited the miraculous way that God delivered them from Egypt. Positive power to help them power to discipline them and they felt the pain of their disobedience, watching some of their best young men fall for the sake of their sin and rebellion. They had all the proof. At that point they had all the proof that they needed to bring about their faith.
This should have produced a response of faith and trust to them of responsible obedience like what the psalmist had alluded to in verse seven, you should put your confidence in God and keep his commandments. They didn't do that. I was not on their radar. God delivered them. God had disciplined and what was their response. Verse 32. In spite of all this, they still send and did not believe in his wonderful works. So he brought their days to an end in futility and their years in sudden terror as we saw last time they died in the wilderness, they continued in sin, and they died in the wilderness, sets the book of numbers for you. Verse 34 when he killed them. Then they sought him in return and search diligently for God and they remember that God was there rock in the most high God, their Redeemer, that sounds positive right we keep reading and you see that this was just superficial. This was temporary. This was just another manifestation of unbelief, verse 36 but they deceived him with their mouth and lied to him with their tongue further heart was not steadfast toward him, nor were they faithful in his covenant.
They repented only superficially. This expression of verbal faith. Watch this because this explains a lot of what you see in modern evangelicalism. They make of verbal profession that is disapproved in its reality by their subsequent life of disloyalty, disbelief and disobedience, understand the verbal professions can be false, often are Matthew 721 to 27 and so this is so, let's just pause here for a moment and realize that this is all very sobering. This is this is remarkable to see were meant to reflect on this and think through the implications of what were reading a great God has done great things for his people and their response was not want to faith, gratitude and obedience. It was rather sin and defiance and rebellion and you would think at that point the God was done with the whole nation of that he would've just abandoned them and maybe turn to the ammonites instead of something.
But even even in the depth of that inexcusable rebellion, God still showed sovereign compassion to them. Verse 38 this this is this is contrary to all human thought. Verse 38 in light of what we've read in the prior 37 verses, but he being compassionate for gave their iniquity, and did not destroy them, and often he restrained his anger and did not arouse all his wrath.
Thus, he remembered that they were, but flesh, a wind that passes and does not return here at this point. Beloved. The lesson is starting to come home, he start he's starting to emphasize another aspect of his instruction that he intends to make here in this in this song you see the greatness of God and you see the sin and rebellion of the people, but the lesson goes a step further and says that despite their sin and rebellion, God was still compassionate toward them. God was still merciful to them and and he's saying to his readers. He saying to us today.
Look at this and see the work and compassion of God.
Give God in response Ernest to trust and obedience from the depth of your heart say you are an amazing God, you are a glorious God.
You are worthy of my full hearted, full throated, love and obedience and praise to be a God like that is contrary to all human experience.
You have a power in your ability to work mighty wonders that is unlike anything that any man has. I worship and praise you. In response to that and now I look and I see another dimension, another realm of your character. When people responded sinfully and this obediently to you to show them compassion and for gave their iniquity, and you didn't wipe Israel off the map, what manner of love is this what kind of what kind of grace is this.
And so as we start to think through these things, you start to see how this is to provoke a response. Deep in your heart.
As we said so many times in the series on the Psalms. These songs will be careful with how I say this is about to get myself in trouble. I will be in trouble. These songs are not teaching us little lessons about how to get through another day without going too bad. This isn't just a little bump of good advice for the day and you move on to something else tomorrow. This song is teaching you a profound way to regard God and to think about life profoundly. You are to see his greatness both in his power and in his grace and because it is profound.
The power and the force of that changes the entire way that you think your entire disposition toward life. The entire way that you exist is now done in response to the revealed truth.
The revealed acts of God, he is like that. Therefore, the totality of my life will be lived in a believing loving obedience response to him, nothing in my life falls outside the round of what that impacts everything in your life comes under the embrace of the greatness of this God.
All of it, all of it. So the psalmist is saying what is driving us to give to this God your honest, trust your honest obedience as Luther said in his him a mighty Fortress is our God, to the point that you let goods and kindred go if faithfulness to God requires it. You let your life go you let the world go you let the approval of man go, whatever else it costs me.
I must give the surpassing priority of my heart, soul, strength in mind in a believing loving response to this great God. Everything else is secondary goods and kindred go, this mortal life. Also, the body they may kill God's truth by the still read about some of the Scottish Christians from the 16th and 17th century, and you'll see an example of what that's like men tortured for the sake of being faithful to revealed truth against kings and against the Roman church. They got these were not misguided men who laid down their lives for the faith. These were not fools who, if they had just muttered a couple of words could have avoided all of it. They understood that this kind of God has a claim on my very life on my lifeblood. I cannot commit treason against him all commit so-called treason against everything else in my life will commit treason against my self-interest. I won't deny, disbelieve or disobey this God who has made himself known and for us as Christians, we look back, nodded a redemption at the Red Sea we look back at a redemption of red blood at the cross and say love so amazing, demands my life my soul my all that is what Psalm 78 is teaching us that is what Christ is worthy of that is what this God deserves not a superficial approach the pays lip service on Sunday and lives like the devil throughout the rest of the week know this is what this is what you give all of your life to that's what he deserves. Were talking about the deepest loyalties of your heart and yeah I say it sympathetically.
I say it for my own personal experience. Sometimes it costs it costs and when you're paying in your name when you're in the middle of paying that cost you look back at the cross and you say I I gladly pay this price.
It's a small return on a far greater price that was paid by far greater one for my for lesser soul so now the psalmist is going to rehearse his lesson again.
Look at verse 40 psalmist is going to rehearse the lesson again.
He's going to kind of repeat himself using different illustrations and will were Pat were at the halfway point in the Psalm. Hopefully not halfway through a three hour message. He rehearses the lesson again. Verse 40 he goes back to their disobedience week we've seen a flash of grace. A flash of lightning of grace against the dark sky and it illuminates things for a while and then he comes back to the darkness of their sin and rebellion.
Verse 40 how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert again and again they tempted God entertained the holy one of Israel, and now he's going to go on and say that this sin and rebellion was inexcusable. In light of the deliverance that they had experience from the hand of Egypt.
Verse 42. The rebellion happened, verse 42 when they did not remember his power the day when he redeemed them from the adversary.
When he performed his signs in Egypt and his marbles in the field of so in and then he starts to rehearse some of the plagues that came from the hand of Moses against Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Verse 44 and turned their rivers to blood in their streams. They could not drink. He said among them. Swarms of flies which devoured them in frogs which destroyed them. He gave also their crops to the grasshopper in the product of their labor to the locus, he destroyed their vines with hailstones and their sycamore trees with frost.
He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones and their herds to bolts of lightning.
Now when you read the sequence of these things in the book of Exodus, you see that he's not reciting these plagues in the chronological sequence in which the recorded there. He simply summarizing he's illustrating and now he gives a climax. Verse 49. He sent upon them. His burning anger, fury and indignation in trouble.
A band of destroying angels. He leveled a path for his anger. He did not spare their soul from death speaking about the Egyptians but gave over their life to the plague and smoke all the firstborn in Egypt. The first issue of their virility in the tents of what he saying here is what he saying he's talking about the cradle of Israel's birth he's talking about the origin of this nation which he is now trying to instruct all of Israel should look back at that supernatural origin and CN at the proof of God's care and love and ability to provide for them.
They should look back at their historical origins and see the proof of God's care for them and that should provoke in them a response of faith and obedience. That's what should happen.
Verse 52 and you see that the tender care of God in contrast to the way that he dealt with Egypt. What indeed do he lead forth his own people, like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock he led them safely so that they did not fear, but the CD engulfed their enemies.
You remember the story they fled out of Egypt and the Egyptian army went after them. They were oppressed up they were pushed up against the Red Sea. They were either going to be slaughtered by the Army or ground.
But that's not what happened, why because God cared for them because God loves them because God provided for them and made a supernatural way for them to escape. And in that same supernatural event provided for the destruction of the arm of the ground and the waters that they had just walked through how can you look at that as an Israelite in question. This God. How can you look at that and not trust him. How can you look at that and not worship him.
Their faithlessness, their disobedience, their rebellion against this God is utterly inexcusable.
There is no excuse for that because God had led them safely, but then he not only delivered them from slavery in Egypt.
He looking remember what he did afterwords when he brought them to the promised land.
What did he do, he drove out the nations that had been dwelling there so that they would have a place in which they could dwell safely and securely a land flowing with milk and honey, having an abundant provision in a place that God had provided for them and in which God would protect them.
Verse 54 so he brought them to his holy land to this hill country which his right hand had gained.
He also drove out the nations before them and apportion them for an inheritance by measurement and made the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents God, God supernaturally delivered them from Egypt and to the land of promise. What a good God, what a powerful God, how majestic is that and how privileged was Israel to have this God for them and to have the history that belong to them what massive privilege given to them massive privilege added to by the fact that God was giving them his revelation through Moses and yet the cycle of sin and rebellion continued verse 56, yet they tempted and rebelled against the most high God and did not keep his testimonies but turned back and acted treacherously like their fathers.
They turned aside like a treacherous blow for they provoked him with their high places and aroused his jealousy with their graven images instead of responding in true worship. They they turn to idolatry, they turn to places of worship the God had told them not to do so, what's the response of God. What we see is this the people in the land turned out to be just like the people in the wilderness Israel was bent toward sin not faith and it brought repeated wrath upon them. Verse 59 when God heard he was filled with wrath and greatly import Israel so that he abandon the dwelling place at Shiloh. The tent which he had pitched among men and gave up his strength. The captivity in his glory into the hand of the adversary. He also delivered his people to the sword and was filled with wrath that is inheritance fire devoured his young men and his virgins had no wedding songs. His priests fell by the sword in his widows could not weep. God brought judgment on his people, as shown by the nations that afflicted them.
He disciplined them. He gave vent to his wrath.
After centuries of showing them his provision and his grace, and they continued to rebel.
They met with punishment. They met with judgment, they ultimately met with exile Saunders and in their brings us to our third point this evening.
The grace of God the grace of God even even in his judgment, God did not abandon his people completely. Even then, even after centuries of provocation, God did not forsake his compassion on his chosen nation. Look at verse 65 then the Lord awoke as if from sleep.
In other words, they went through the start. Of discipline.
It was like the Lord was sleeping and not providing for them and but but now what happens next is like is like a warrior overcome by wind in the sense of the Lord awakes out of the sleep he is no longer slumbering and what did he do he acted on behalf of his people over 66 he drove his adversaries backward. He put on them and everlasting reproach. He also rejected the tent of Joseph and did not choose the tribe of freedom.
In other words, he he did not bring back the northern tribes, but verse 68. He chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loved and he built his sanctuary like the highlights, like the earth which is founded forever. Then what did he do he did he ask and he delivers them he brings them back after their troubles in verse 70 look at what he does.
He also chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfold's from the care of the use with suckling lands.
He brought him to shepherd Jacob his people in Israel is inheritance what he saying here is this. After all of that rebellion.
After those centuries of national disobedience.
God raised up David, a man after his own heart who who gave to God, though imperfectly, though pockmarked with some failure gave to God.
A true worship in the true devotion and led the nation in that same way.
Remember how he danced with all of his might, for the presence of God when the ark was brought back genuine heartfelt obedience, God gave them a man like that that they didn't deserve.
So in verse 72 he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart and guided them with his skillful hands by the end of this lengthy song, two things impress you. One is the unending nature of Israel's rebellion and secondly is the persistent patience and compassion of God.
Yes he brings judgment and discipline upon them, but it's always with a view to bringing compassion again when the discipline has spent itself.
He has this he has woven through his dealings with Israel. This this principle of compassion on an undeserving people, and with New Testament eyes we see the subsequent history even more clearly think about this beloved. This is really sweet in the Old Testament.
He gave him David in the New Testament. He gave the Messiah gave them Christ he gave them himself incarnate in human flesh. Their Messiah was with them in human flesh there relocating their ultimate king was in human flesh before them how great the measure of the compassion of God on his people to send their Messiah to come from heaven to walk on earth amongst them would Israel do with him. When the Jews do with crucified, they killed him. The rebellion had found its fullest expression God in human flesh and they grabbed him and using Roman hands.
They nailed him to the cross. What did God do some say that God turned his back forever on Israel. There and now the church replaces Israel in the plan of God. We don't believe it. There rebellion only laid the foundation for Christ to show even further compassion upon the unbelievable is a bad word to use when you're preaching. This is so totally believable. This is so unlike man let's put it that way. That's what I mean by that Luke 23 verse 33 after they scourged him after they mocked him after they spat upon him as they were crucifying him. Luke 23 verse 33 they came to the place called the skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. What we see about this grace and compassion of God. Jesus was saying. Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. Father forgive them.
They don't know what they're doing short while later, after the resurrection.
Father answered the prayer of his own beloved son. Acts chapter 2, verse 34 were almost done here next to verse 34. Remembering the Christ and prayed for the father to forgive them. Peter preaches and he says let's look at verse 36 therefore let all the house of Israel let you Jews know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ. This Jesus whom you crucified, you crucified your own Messiah.
What did God do at that crucial point in redemptive history. Verse 37 that when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles brother and what should we do in Peter's word. You see the disposition of the grace of God toward even the people to crucified his son. This is astounding. This is grace amazing. Peter said to them, repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit for the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off as many as the Lord our God will call to himself and with many other words he solemnly testified a love that he solemnly testified Peter was not putting on a carnival for them.
He solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them saying be saved from this perverse generation and so then verse 41, those who had received his word were baptized, and that day there were added about 3000 souls. While that is gracious.
That is amazing. Love you look at that and say how can it be that God would deal with people like that. Like that, they crucified Christ.
He forgave them what a compassionate God, what a great Savior. We land the plane tonight by saying this, learn from Israel's history and apply it to your own heart mourn.
I tell you mourn the remnants of stubborn rebellion and unbelief in your heart and set your mind to put them to death to mortify that and then come afresh to Christ to receive his grace and mercy. Look at the way he dealt with Israel. We see the outcomes of its dealings with the Lord is gracious and compassionate look at how he dealt with Nineveh in the book of Jonah is a God is sovereign compassion.
Look at how he dealt with humanity at the cross. He is a God of great mercy and compassion, realize that even in your sin that you're trying to deal with now that God has a disposition of grace and mercy toward you.
That is beyond human comprehension, believe him with gratitude respond to him with repentance and let your faith be encouraged and let your faith find its fulfillment in your obedience to him.
Let's pray together.
Our father indeed there is a long history of grace emanating from the throne of God. You chose a people to be your own.
You endured there rebellion even as you provided for them consistently over time. Yes you discipline them but there was always an ultimate goal of compassion and we saw at the cross, the fulfillment of your compassion upon your people your mercy expressed in our Lord Jesus Christ. So father thank you for the mercy that you have shown to our souls. Those of us that are in Christ, we thank you from the bottom of our heart for such undeserved favor given to such undeserving people like us with grateful and somewhat chastened hearts here this evening. Father, we offer up to you. Our response of trust and confidence in your purposes for us. Trust for your future grace trust for your future provision for us trust for your continued mercy in our lives. We ask that you would enable to live out a true repentance that is worthy of this salvation you have given to through our great great wonderful well friend thank you for joining us on through the Psalm. Did you know that we also offer a daily podcast. It's a shorter format that is a perfect companion for you as you start your day drive to work or maybe have your workout on the treadmill. You can find that daily podcast that the truth pulpit.com look for the link that says radio podcast again that's found on the truth pulpit.com.
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