A maskil[a] 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.
9 The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows,
turned back on the day of battle;
10 they did not keep God’s covenant
and refused to live by his law.
11 They forgot what he had done,
the wonders he had shown them.
12 He did miracles in the sight of their ancestors
in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and led them through;
he made the water stand up like a wall.
14 He guided them with the cloud by day
and with light from the fire all night.
15 He split the rocks in the wilderness
and gave them water as abundant as the seas;
16 he brought streams out of a rocky crag
and made water flow down like rivers.
17 But they continued to sin against him,
rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High.
18 They willfully put God to the test
by demanding the food they craved.
19 They spoke against God;
they said, “Can God really
spread a table in the wilderness?
20 True, he struck the rock,
and water gushed out,
streams flowed abundantly,
but can he also give us bread?
Can he supply meat for his people?”
21 When the Lord heard them, he was furious;
his fire broke out against Jacob,
and his wrath rose against Israel,
22 for they did not believe in God
or trust in his deliverance.
23 Yet he gave a command to the skies above
and opened the doors of the heavens;
24 he rained down manna for the people to eat,
he gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Human beings ate the bread of angels;
he sent them all the food they could eat.
26 He let loose the east wind from the heavens
and by his power made the south wind blow.
27 He rained meat down on them like dust,
birds like sand on the seashore.
28 He made them come down inside their camp,
all around their tents.
29 They ate till they were gorged—
he had given them what they craved.
30 But before they turned from what they craved,
even while the food was still in their mouths,
31 God’s anger rose against them;
he put to death the sturdiest among them,
cutting down the young men of Israel.
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.
40 How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
and grieved him in the wasteland!
41 Again and again they put God to the test;
they vexed the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember his power—
the day he redeemed them from the oppressor,
43 the day he displayed his signs in Egypt,
his wonders in the region of Zoan.
44 He turned their river into blood;
they could not drink from their streams.
45 He sent swarms of flies that devoured them,
and frogs that devastated them.
46 He gave their crops to the grasshopper,
their produce to the locust.
47 He destroyed their vines with hail
and their sycamore-figs with sleet.
48 He gave over their cattle to the hail,
their livestock to bolts of lightning.
49 He unleashed against them his hot anger,
his wrath, indignation and hostility—
a band of destroying angels.
50 He prepared a path for his anger;
he did not spare them from death
but gave them over to the plague.
51 He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt,
the firstfruits of manhood in the tents of Ham.
52 But he brought his people out like a flock;
he led them like sheep through the wilderness.
53 He guided them safely, so they were unafraid;
but the sea engulfed their enemies.
54 And so he brought them to the border of his holy land,
to the hill country his right hand had taken.
55 He drove out nations before them
and allotted their lands to them as an inheritance;
he settled the tribes of Israel in their homes.
56 But they put God to the test
and rebelled against the Most High;
they did not keep his statutes.
57 Like their ancestors they were disloyal and faithless,
as unreliable as a faulty bow.
58 They angered him with their high places;
they aroused his jealousy with their idols.
59 When God heard them, he was furious;
he rejected Israel completely.
60 He abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh,
the tent he had set up among humans.
61 He sent the ark of his might into captivity,
his splendor into the hands of the enemy.
62 He gave his people over to the sword;
he was furious with his inheritance.
63 Fire consumed their young men,
and their young women had no wedding songs;
64 their priests were put to the sword,
and their widows could not weep.
65 Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
as a warrior wakes from the stupor of wine.
66 He beat back his enemies;
he put them to everlasting shame.
67 Then he rejected the tents of Joseph,
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
68 but he chose the tribe of Judah,
Mount Zion, which he loved.
69 He built his sanctuary like the heights,
like the earth that he established forever.
70 He chose David his servant
and took him from the sheep pens;
71 from tending the sheep he brought him
to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
of Israel his inheritance.
72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
with skillful hands he led them.
Psalm 78 | Dwight Stinnett
*This transcript is generated from the sermon audio. This document has not been edited for spelling, grammar, or exactness.
Thank you. It’s always good to give Cory a break and a chance to do some things with family time. I know that he watches these, maybe not live, but later let’s tell him how much we appreciate him. You hear me say every time, tough time to be a pastor right now. And I mean, it really is serious. Cory does a faithful job and we really appreciate him for that. It was said earlier that we’re going to be starting a new series on psalms right now, and so it falls to me to get that started off today. And so I’ll be giving a little bit of an introduction to the Psalms, and that means it’s going to be a little bit more teachy than usual. I apologize for that ahead of time. And then we’ll be taking a look at Psalm 78, which is a really long, complex psalm that I was probably over ambitious in choosing. And two of those things means this may be a little bit longer than usual, and if that’s too much for you, go ahead and join the kids. You won’t hurt my feelings at all if you’re a guest with us today, I apologize for that and invite you to please come back next week because I promise you it’ll be a lot better next week. So let’s pray together and then we’ll begin. Lord, we’ve come here from all kinds of places this morning. Some have had a great week, a lot accomplished, and they feel good about things. They’ve come in today pumped up and ready to praise and give thanksgiving for you. But for others, it’s been a tough week. Seems like everything went wrong. They’ve been filled with pain and sorrow, and it’s all they could do to crawl in here this morning. But we know that you’re a big God and that you’re prepared to meet all those needs. So we give them to you today. Whatever our plans, circumstances were for today, we give the time to you. Do whatever you will. Pray that the things I say may be clear and true and point to you. Christ may. Amen. Read without. We’re beginning the Book of Psalms today, and you may know that the Psalms is the first book of the third section, third major section of the Hebrew Bible that we call the Kefuvim, which means the writing. Most of the individual psalms that we have in our Book of Psalms were written over a period of about 500 years, from 900 BC. To 400 BC. And that spans the days of the early monarchy to the building of the first Temple and civil war and division of the kingdom, the conquest and destruction by Babylon, and the return from exile. And sometime after the return exile, the scribes and keepers of the law compiled 150 different Psalms into the single book that we have today with five different sections. In Hebrew, that book is called Tehelim, means praise. And we get our English title for it psalms from the Greek Almost, which means Thaw. And we commonly speak of the Psalms as a hymn book or the Jewish hymn book, but it’s really not comparable to our hymn books. They’re probably better described as a book of prayers and meditation that were often maybe even usually sung or chanted in the temple, or even individually. And given the time span that we’re talking about, it’s pretty obvious that one person didn’t write all those psalms. There are 75 of them that have been attributed to David, but twelve are attributed to the sons of Asaph. Now, we find Asaph identified in the Book of Chronicles as one of the worship leaders in the temple under David. And so apparently there were followers of Asaph down through the years that wrote some other psalms that were used in worship and for different reasons. In the same way, there’s a group of psalms that are identified as being written by the sons of Korah. Now, we don’t know for sure who Korah was. There’s three or four of them noted in the Old Testament, but none of them seem to be worship leaders like Asaph. So we just have to say it’s a Korah. We don’t know who he was. And some psalms have been attributed to Solomon and Moses and Ethan and Heman and the remainder. About 47, almost 50 psalms are anonymous. We have no idea who may have written. All but 34 of those psalms have superscriptions things written right at the very beginning that give us different kinds of information. Sometimes an author is identified, or there’s a dedication to somebody in that SuperScript. Sometimes a setting for the psalm is suggested, or the particular use of psalm may be suggested. Other times there are tunes or musical instruments that are identified, but there’s a lot of terms in there. We honestly have no idea exactly what they mean, and so we’re kind of guessing at them. If you’ve read a lot of Psalms, pretty quickly, two things jump out at you that make it different from other parts of the Bible. The first is that they look different. At least since the 1950s, the modern translations of the Psalms and the English have correctly typeset the Psalms as poems. You recognize that by the disjointed lines and things. The other thing that’s different about the Psalms is they sound different. The voice that’s speaking the Psalms is often an individual or a group speaking to God instead of God speaking to us. And both of those things have some implications for the way we read and understand the Psalm. A biblical poetry is not limited to the Book of Psalms. In fact, the whole Book of Song of Solomon and Lamentation, the entire books are poetry from one end to the other. And in addition, there’s large portions of the Book of Job and the prophets that are also poetic. And in fact, if you remember our study of Habakkuk, that is the way you say it, that finished up last week. You remember that he ended his book, his prophecy with a psalm at the very end. But saying Hebrew poetry really doesn’t help us a lot because biblical poetry is not exactly like the poetry that we learned in school. See, Western poetry is typically recognized by its use of rhyme and rhythm, whose Woodsies are I think I know his house is in the village. Though novice poems like that. Biblical poetry follows a style that’s found in Mesopotamian clay tablets that are hundreds of years before Moses showed up on the the style is called parallelism and it’s found throughout the ancient Near East as a way of writing. And the distinguishing characteristics, distinguishing feature of parallelism is not rhyme, but the balancing of two ideas in sequential lines. And there are lots of variations for that. But the most basic pattern is same idea said in two different ways. For example, we look at Psalms three one o Lord, how many are my foes? How many rise up against me? Same thing said in two different ways. It gives you some emphasis and at least in the Hebrew, a very euphonious sound that’s very pleasing. But another variation is two lines may be opposites of one another. For example from Psalm one six for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish opposite things going on there. But also said in the same kind of parallel way that we had in the first example. Sometimes parallel lines get complex, get ideas combined as you move through them. For example, from Psalm 19 the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy making, wise, simple, get a different idea introduced at the very end of it. That’s a culmination of those things, but is still a parallelism. And sometimes the parallel lines progress to a climax or a conclusion. Like Psalm 29 describe to the Lord Almighty ones ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Describe to the Lord the glory do his name worship the Lord, the splendor of his holiness. That’s illusion of those three lines before. Now, despite the major differences, there are some similarities between Hebrew poetry, in fact all world poetry and what we see in English. That is, both use very compact language. By that I mean big ideas are compressed into just a few words. And poetry does this by making use of creative, creative use of images and metaphors beautiful. But it makes translation really difficult because those images and metaphors may not come across easily in another language and bring the same full meaning, pardon me, that was intended by the poet literally. The words may make no sense when they get translated. And also images and metaphors tend to be specific for culture. So think just a minute about images, metaphors. For example, Elvis used to sing I’m just a hunk, a hunk of burning love. It’s okay, you can laugh. I know I’m a terrible Elvis. But you laugh also because you know exactly what that’s all about. Just a few simple words in English. You know immediately what the reference is. And because we’ve grown up immersed in American culture, we know not to take that line literally. We know that it makes no sense to figure out. How do you measure a hunk of love? There is no measurement for that. What’s the unit for a hunk of love? No idea. And does anybody know what the combustion temperature of love is? We don’t know what that is either. But we know the singer is not going to burst into flames, don’t we? That’s not part of it. None of those things help us understand the poem any better or make any difference about things. But that image just explodes in our minds and makes a thousand different connections. And they’re not all the same for all of us. It might make you hum the whole song because you know it. Or it might make you remember a date from a long time ago. You might remember hearing the song on the radio or remember other songs that Elvis recorded. You might be reminded that you don’t like Elvis, there’s somebody else you’d rather listen to than him. And all of that and more rumbles around in a head from a single line of nine words recorded in a song over 50 years ago. That’s the power of poetic imagery. And these Hebrew poems are loaded with the same kind of thing. But because we’re not native Hebrew speakers, and because we’re not immersed in the culture of the Hebrews from 2000 years ago, we don’t often recognize the metaphor when it comes across or even understand what it’s all about. And so it’s difficult for us to fully appreciate the impact of those ancient images and metaphors. For example, from Psalm 29 we read you turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. Now, without some explanation, you might suspect there’s a connection between wailing and sackcloth parallelism, but you may or may not know the details that in that culture, in that time and place, a coarse garment made from the hair of goats or camels sackcloth was worn in public as a sign of warning. Little bit of a trace of that’s in our culture today. Well, not much of it left today. If you wear black for a funeral, it’s a public sign of what’s going on inside. But some images are almost universal. It seems like, for example, from Psalm 42 as the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God, when can I go and meet with God? In Hebrew, this is only 14 words. And this English translation, which is very good, uses more than twice as many words. And still English is very moving and expressive, and most of us have a picture of what’s going on there. I don’t know a more powerful description of the desperate longing for God than an animal thirsting for a stream. While we want to understand the images and metaphors that are used in poetry, in Hebrew poetry, we really don’t want to dilute the power of that poetry by overanalyzing, because that can just run you down a rabbit hole. We also hear two voices in Saul. Sometimes it’s a singular voice, isolated, individual speaking, and it’s very personal, just like the example Psalm 42 that read. But other psalms are plural voices, a group or a community speaking or singing or chanting the same words, like Psalm 95 oh come, let us sing for joy to the Lord. Let us shout aloud to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol him with music. Song psalms like that are reminders that there are times and places that we pray and sing together as a community of faith. Our individual prayers, meditations and songs are important, but we’re not given permission to neglect time, to worship together, to come and sing together, come and pray together. By any standard, the prayers and meditations that are preserved in the Book of Psalms are a very mixed lot differ widely in their setting form, their purpose. Not all the psalms can be easily pigeonholed into a single classification system. Still, we recognize that there are a handful of common psalm types, such as lament, praise, thanksgiving, each royal. Interesting that there are more laments than there are any other type of psalm for us, and the lament is like ancient Hebrew version of the blues. And that large section of psalms, unfortunately, doesn’t get carried over into our church. Worship don’t add many laments or songs. Think maybe we’re missing something because of that. That’s another rabbit hole I won’t go down. The point is that the entire range of human experiences is to be found in the soul. Anger, peace, hope and futility, judgment, mercy, fear and confidence, wrath and grace, joy and despair. They’re all there. If you read through the whole book, the poet may accuse God or be so bold as the voice anger toward God. The Book of Psalm, taken as a whole, gives us a structured, disciplined model. Bring anything God in prayer and psalm anything to God in prayer. No matter what’s going on inside or what’s going on in our lives. Bring it to God. God is big enough. That’s probably why we so quickly turn to the Book of Psalms to express ourselves. Times of Cris this wide range of psalms teaches us that worship is not just about joyous celebration before God, but also includes fearfully calling out to God when we’ve been crushed to dust. We don’t know what else with our lives may actually be anched God about that’s. The paradox of faith living God. Okay, let’s take a deep breath now and see what we can learn from Psalm 78. This is a long, complex psalm. Probably a bad choice for today, I’ll bet one you’ve never read. If you’re using one of the Bibles in front of in front of us, it’s on page 503, and I’m not going to read it nonstop, so you may want to have a marker or stick your finger in it. If it’s your Bible, you may want a pencil. That’s okay, but let’s start reading from the beginning of Psalm 78. See the pages get alarmed, don’t you? Psalm 78 a Masquel of ASAT o my people, hear my teaching, listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables. I will utter hidden things, things from old what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children. We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, where he commanded our forefathers to teach their children so that the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born. And they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God, and would not forget his deeds, but would keep his command. They would not be like their forefathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose heart were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful him. The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back to the day of battle. They did not keep God’s covenant. They refused to live by his law. They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them. Your finger or your marker there. This psalm is a story about the people of God. And the first eleven verses that we just read are like a prologue, an introduction to that story. And that story includes good, bad, ugly. Psalm 78 has a simple SuperScript. It says it’s a mascul of ASAP. That means it’s a wise saying, a meditation or a teaching. And the group of temple worship leaders associated with Asaph are responsible for recording. This psalm is not a private, personal meditation, but it presumes a group setting where the people of God are listening to someone recite this almost epic poem. And it’s not hardly a celebrative joy or a liturgy to be chanted in the temple, but it’s a somber, purpose driven poem, self described as a teaching or a parable. The worship leader tells the listeners he will be speaking about ancient mysteries. And then the language begins to sound a lot like deuteronomy. And the listeners would be rightly reminded of Moses, of how the powers and wonders of God led them from Egypt, Sinai, Canaan. In Sinai, the covenant was established and the law was given, and among those laws was the command to teach the power and wonders of God from one generation to the next. These stories would have been at least 200 years old at this point. But the power and wonders of God was kept alive as if it happened yesterday. That way the people of God would always trust God. They would remember God’s wondrous deeds, and they would keep God’s commandments. So far, so good. Then we can see the storm clouds gathering, rising. See them in words that describe God’s people as stubborn, rebellion, breaking the covenant. Worst of all, forgetting what God had done. Picking up in verse twelve. He did miracles in the sight of their ancestors in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan. He divided the sea and led them through. He made the water stand up like a wall. He guided them with the cloud by day and with light. The fire all night split the rocks in the wilderness, gave them water as abundant as seas. He brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow like rivers. But they continued to sin against rebelling in the wilderness, against the Most High. They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God. They said, Can God really spread a table in the wilderness? Through he struck the rock and water gushed out, and streams flowed abundantly. But can he also give us bread? Can he supply meat for his people? And when the Lord heard them, he was furious. His fire broke out against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel, for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance. This section begins by poetically reminding people of how God’s power and wonders led them out of Egypt through the wilderness. Verse 17 is the one that jumps out at us as storms begin to move in with that one little word. But that little conjunction signals a change direction story. And it’s a story familiar to any student of the Bible. God does wonderful things for his people, but they never seem satisfied. But they complain and they turn against God. Zasker followed in this particular case. The fire described in verse 21 is probably a reference to an event that’s recorded in Numbers chapter Eleven. Surely God has washed his hands of this ungrateful, rebellious people. They deserve picking up at verse 23. Yet in spite of all the things that happened before, yet gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of heaven. He rained down manna for the people to eat, and he gave them the grain of heaven. Human beings ate the bread of angels. He sent them all the food they could eat. He let loose the east wind from the heavens, and by his power made the south wind blow. He rained meat down on them like dust birds, like sand on the seashore. He made them come down inside their camp, all around their tent. They ate till they were gorged. He had given them what they craved. This section begins with another little conduct yet meaning in spite of what’s happened, despite a well deserved judgment and punishment, god’s unrelenting mercy provided this ungrateful rebellious people with manna and quail. Tell the story. You’ve read those excellent number passages. That’s the mystery of God’s grace, which this psalm is all about. God’s wondrous provision, but the people rebelling, God rightfully judges. Yet god’s first prevails. And that pattern happens not once Paul 78 but three times. What makes this solve so long? It’s a repeating cycle that’s easily identified by the conjunction, but that key but is found in verse 17. But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the wilderness, against the Most High God in verse 30. But before they turned from what they craved, even while the food was still in their mouths, they complained. 56 but they put God to the test, rebelled against Most High. And each of those instances is followed by God’s anger and devastating judgment. And it’s a cycle that just repeats itself. What an awful song. Why would I do this? This song will be right among the prophets. We don’t like to speak about God’s anger and judgment, especially when it’s directed against God’s people. Remember that from Abuk also. But thankfully, this psalm is not only about the failure of God’s people devastation, God’s anger, judgment. Psalm is primarily about God’s persistent presence and mercy for the rebellious and faithless people picking up at verse 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. He remembered that they were but flesh, a passive breeze that about return, the repeating cycle, god’s provision, the people’s failure, God’s punishment gets altered the last two rounds section in these sections not God’s wrath but God’s ash that has last word here. The psalmist tells us that God demonstrated a heart faithful integrity, while Israel had a heart of rebellious faith. God remembered while his people forgot. God is determined to have a people. Psalmist thinks that God breaks this vicious cycle beginning in verse 63. Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, as a warrior wakes from the stupor of wine. He beat back his enemies, he put them to everlasting shame and then he rejected the tents of Joseph, did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loved. He built his sanctuary in the heights like the earth he established forever. He chose David, his servant, and took him from the sheep pen, from tending the sheep he brought him out be shepherd of his people, Jacob of Israel, his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart, with skillful hands led. The psalmist begins with a startling, almost offensive image of God as a warrior suddenly waking from a deep sleep while the battle is going on all around. And God’s victory is described in a series of images and references that may not be totally clear. The psalmist says the people of God. Psalmist tells us that the people God chose the tribe of Judah over others, but chose Judah for what? I think this section is about moving the Ark of the Covenant in the place of worship. Shiloh in the north, which bruised the land, judah that’s done by King David tribed in two, Samuel six. And the selection of Judah and David broke all the lead. Judah was not the eldest son of Jacob. Reuben, Simeon and Levi were all ahead of. And in the same way, David was not the eldest, but the youngest son of Jesse. One more time, God seems to habitually subvert cultural expectations. While it may not make much sense to us, psalmists thought that the key to breaking the cycle of disobedience judgment was somehow related to the place of worship and to the person who was on the throne. If the people of God would just worship God in the right place, and if they just had the right person sitting on the throne, all would be well. We know Psalmist was limited in his vision, but he saw evidence of God’s presence in the selection of David. King David was a living demonstration of how God shepherded his people with a skillful hand or a gentle hand. David was the living sign of God’s heart, of integrity among his people. And we’re blessed know a little bit more of the story psalmist did at this point in history. We know that neither the place of worship or the person on the throne was able to break vicious cycle. David’s son Solomon finally built Grand Temple in Jerusalem, but the cycle would continue for another 400 years or so before Babylon came in and destroyed everything and carried the Hebrew leaders away into the exile. Just like Abaku saw coming the other prophets. And even exile didn’t solve the problem. The psalmist hope about David was also not well founded. We know that David may have done some wonderful things, but we also know that he did some terrible things. Bad enough that God would not allow him to build the temple for him in Jerusalem. And we know that the kingdom descended into civil war among David’s sons even before he died. Still, David became the source and the inspiration for the idea of Messiah. He was idealized in the sense that the prophet saw and wanted a king like David. Like David, but without that bloodthirsty inclination like David, but without the lust and sense of privilege that possessed him from time to time, like David, only better. See, the longing for Messiah was never about a reincarnated David. We know that King David ruled when this psalm was composed was not the final word God’s gracious presence. It was one born of the line of David, almost 900 years later. Jesus Christ, the Messiah of God, god himself with his people in an unprecedented, unexpected way. Like David, only better. That’s where hope lies. But we recognize that this story of experiencing God’s presence but still rebelling is not just story of ancient Israelite. It’s our story also. Each and every one of us goes through this cycle of enjoying and basking in God’s providence here, then turning away. We love it. But before long, we become self centered and entitled. We take God for granted. And our expectations and demands and behaviors coupled with our disregard test the limits of God’s patience. And the cycle repeats and repeats for us, just like it did for the ancient Israelites. We’re caught in a trap. We can’t let go. We sing the same song over again. We can’t change the song. And so God did god tabernacled with us in Jesus Christ. God came to live with us in our stories, despite the bad and the ugly. In fact, Jesus went through some of the ugliest stories human history. But he did it not only to expose the ugliness of our stories or to justify God’s judgment. Christ came into the midst of our ugly stories to say you don’t have to finish out this bad storyline. You don’t have to do this. I have a better story for you. I can’t erase the bad and the ugly that you’ve already written with your life. But if we walk, if you walk with me, we’ll have a good and honest story from here to the end. The song will have a better ending than what you’re headed for, right? See, the ugly cycle broken by God’s. God’s mission alone. That the mystery of God’s grace. That what this Psalm is all about. Let’s pray. While our worship lord, we really don’t know what to say as we think about ourselves, ways we have neglected and abused you and taken you for granted. The many ways you’ve been with us that we didn’t deserve. The way you relent so much in judgment against us. But most of all, the promise of someone like David, only better. Give us a better song. Lord, help us today to choose that song. Sing along with others for you and what you have done for us. Christ his name. Pray.