A well-written song by Asaph.
78:1 Pay attention, my people, to my instruction!
Listen to the words I speak!
78:2 I will sing a song that imparts wisdom;
I will make insightful observations about the past.
78:3 What we have heard and learned—
that which our ancestors have told us—
78:4 we will not hide from their descendants.
We will tell the next generation
about the LORD’s praiseworthy acts,
about his strength and the amazing things he has done.
78:5 He established a rule in Jacob;
he set up a law in Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
to make his deeds known to their descendants,
78:6 so that the next generation, children yet to be born,
might know about them.
They will grow up and tell their descendants about them.
78:7 Then they will place their confidence in God.
They will not forget the works of God,
and they will obey his commands.
78:8 Then they will not be like their ancestors,
who were a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation that was not committed
and faithful to God.
78:9 The Ephraimites were armed with bows,
but they retreated in the day of battle.
78:10 They did not keep their covenant with God,
and they refused to obey his law.
78:11 They forgot what he had done,
the amazing things he had shown them.
78:12 He did amazing things in the sight of their ancestors,
in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.
78:13 He divided the sea and led them across it;
he made the water stand in a heap.
78:14 He led them with a cloud by day,
and with the light of a fire all night long.
78:15 He broke open rocks in the wilderness,
and gave them enough water to fill the depths of the sea.
78:16 He caused streams to flow from the rock,
and made the water flow like rivers.
78:17 Yet they continued to sin against him,
and rebelled against the sovereign One in the desert.
78:18 They willfully challenged God
by asking for food to satisfy their appetite.
78:19 They insulted God, saying,
“Is God really able to give us food in the wilderness?
78:20 Yes, he struck a rock and water flowed out,
streams gushed forth.
But can he also give us food?
Will he provide meat for his people?”
78:21 When the LORD heard this, he was furious.
A fire broke out against Jacob,
and his anger flared up against Israel,
78:22 because they did not have faith in God,
and did not trust his ability to deliver them.
78:23 He gave a command to the clouds above,
and opened the doors in the sky.
78:24 He rained down manna for them to eat;
he gave them the grain of heaven.
78:25 Man ate the food of the mighty ones.
He sent them more than enough to eat.
78:26 He brought the east wind through the sky,
and by his strength led forth the south wind.
78:27 He rained down meat on them like dust,
birds as numerous as the sand on the seashores.
78:28 He caused them to fall right in the middle of their camp,
all around their homes.
78:29 They ate until they were stuffed;
he gave them what they desired.
78:30 They were not yet filled up,
their food was still in their mouths,
78:31 when the anger of God flared up against them.
He killed some of the strongest of them;
he brought the young men of Israel to their knees.
78:32 Despite all this, they continued to sin,
and did not trust him to do amazing things.
78:33 So he caused them to die unsatisfied
and filled with terror.
78:34 When he struck them down, they sought his favor;
they turned back and longed for God.
78:35 They remembered that God was their protector,
and that the sovereign God was their deliverer.
78:36 But they deceived him with their words,
and lied to him.
78:37 They were not really committed to him,
and they were unfaithful to his covenant.
78:38 Yet he is compassionate.
He forgives sin and does not destroy.
He often holds back his anger,
and does not stir up his fury.
78:39 He remembered that they were made of flesh,
and were like a wind that blows past and does not return.
78:40 How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness,
and insulted him in the desert!
‘They provoked God at least ten times (Nu 14:22) during the first two years of their journey through the wilderness:
- at the Red Sea (Ex 14:11-12)
- at the waters of Marah (Ex 15:24)
- in the wilderness of Sin (Ex 16:2)
- when they kept the manna until the following day (Ex 16:10)
- when the manna was collected on the Sabbath (Ex 16:27)
- in Rephidim, where there was no water (Num 20:2,13)
- at Horeb when a molten calf was made (Ex 22:1 &c.)
- at Taberah (Nu 11:1-3)
- when they lusted for flesh (Num 11:4)
- when they murmured at the news brought by the men, who had been sent to search the land (Num 14:1, &c.).’
(Daniel Cresswell, quoted by Spurgeon)