One of Asaph’s maskils.
1My people, listen to my teachings.
Listen to what I say.
2I will tell you a story.
I will tell you about things from the past that are hard to understand.
3We have heard the story, and we know it well.
Our fathers told it to us.
4And we will not forget it.
Our people will be telling this story to the last generation.
We will all praise the Lord
and tell about the amazing things he did.
5He made an agreement with Jacob.
He gave the law to Israel.
He gave the commands to our ancestors.
He told them to teach the law to their children.
6Then the next generation, even the children not yet born, would learn the law.
And they would be able to teach it to their own children.
7So they would all trust in God,
never forgetting what he had done
and always obeying his commands.
8They would not be like their ancestors,
who were stubborn and refused to obey.
Their hearts were not devoted to God,
and they were not faithful to him.
9The men from Ephraim had their weapons,
but they ran from the battle.
10They did not keep their agreement with God.
They refused to obey his teachings.
11They forgot the great things he had done
and the amazing things he had shown them.
12While their ancestors watched,
he showed his great power at Zoan in Egypt.
13He split the Red Sea and led the people across.
The water stood like a solid wall on both sides of them.
14Each day God led them with the tall cloud,
and each night he led them with the light from the column of fire.
15He split the rocks in the desert
and gave them an ocean of fresh water.
16He brought a stream of water out of the rock
and made it flow like a river!
17But they continued sinning against him.
They rebelled against God Most High in the desert.
18Then they decided to test God
by telling him to give them the food they wanted.
19They complained about him and said,
“Can God give us food in the desert?
20Yes, he struck the rock and a flood of water came out.
But can he give us bread and meat?”
21The Lord heard what they said
and became angry with Jacob’s people.
He was angry with Israel,
22because they did not trust in him.
They did not believe that God could save them.
23-24But then God opened the clouds above,
and manna rained down on them for food.
It was as if doors in the sky opened,
and grain poured down from a storehouse in the sky.
25These people ate the food of angels.
God sent plenty of food to satisfy them.
26He sent a strong wind from the east,
and by his power he made the south wind blow.
27He made quail fall like rain until they covered the ground.
There were so many birds that they were like sand on the seashore.
28The birds fell in the middle of the camp,
all around their tents.
29The people ate until they were full.
God had given them what they wanted.
30But before they were fully satisfied,
while the food was still in their mouths,
31God became angry and killed even the strongest of them.
He brought down Israel’s best young men.
32But the people continued to sin!
They did not trust in the amazing things God could do.
33So he ended their worthless lives;
he brought their years to a close with disaster.
34When he killed some of them, the others would turn back to him.
They would come running back to God.
35They would remember that God was their Rock.
They would remember that God Most High had saved them.
36But they tried to fool him with their words;
they told him lies.
37Their hearts were not really with him.
They were not faithful to the agreement he gave them.
38But God was merciful.
He forgave their sins and did not destroy them.
Many times he held back his anger.
He never let it get out of control.
39He remembered that they were only people,
like a wind that blows and then is gone.
40Oh, they caused him so much trouble in the desert!
They made him so sad.
41Again and again they tested his patience.
They really hurt the Holy One of Israel.
42They forgot about his power.
They forgot the many times he saved them from the enemy.
43They forgot the miracles in Egypt,
the miracles in the fields of Zoan.
44God turned the rivers into blood,
and the Egyptians could not drink the water.
45He sent swarms of flies that bit them.
He sent the frogs that ruined their lives.
46He gave their crops to grasshoppers
and their other plants to locusts.
47He destroyed their vines with hail
and their trees with sleet.
48He killed their animals with hail
and their cattle with lightning.
49He showed the Egyptians his anger.
He sent his destroying angels against them.
50He found a way to show his anger.
He did not spare their lives.
He let them die with a deadly disease.
51He killed all the firstborn sons in Egypt.
He killed every firstborn in Ham’s#78:51 Ham The Egyptians were Ham’s descendants. See Gen. 10:6-10. family.
52Then he led Israel like a shepherd.
He led his people like sheep into the desert.
53He guided them safely.
They had nothing to fear.
He drowned their enemies in the sea.
54He led his people to his holy land,
to the mountain he took with his own power.
55He forced the other nations out before them
and gave each family its share of the land.
He gave each tribe of Israel a place to live.
56But they tested God Most High and made him very sad.
They didn’t obey his commands.
57They turned against him and were unfaithful just like their ancestors.
They changed directions like a boomerang.
58They built high places and made God angry.
They built statues of false gods and made him jealous.
59God heard what they were doing and became very angry.
So he rejected Israel completely!
60He abandoned his place at Shiloh,#78:60 place at Shiloh See 1 Sam. 4:4-11; Jer. 7:17.
the Holy Tent where he lived among the people.
61He let foreigners capture the Box of the Agreement,
the symbol of his power and glory.
62He showed his anger against his people
and let them be killed in war.
63Their young men were burned to death,
and there were no wedding songs for their young women.
64Their priests were killed,
but the widows had no time to mourn for them.
65Finally, our Lord got up
like a man waking from his sleep,
like a soldier after drinking too much wine.
66He forced his enemies to turn back defeated.
He brought them shame that will last forever.
67Then he rejected Joseph’s family.
He did not accept Ephraim’s family.
68No, he chose the tribe of Judah,
and he chose Mount Zion, the place he loves.
69He built his holy Temple high on that mountain.
Like the earth, God built his Temple to last forever.
70He chose David to be his special servant.
He took him from the sheep pens.
71He took him away from the job of caring for sheep
and gave him the job of caring for the descendants of Jacob—Israel, his chosen people.
72And David led them with a pure heart
and guided them very wisely.