Psalm 78

Asaph wrote this special song.

God has been good to his people

78:1This psalm tells about God's people until the time of King David. It tells us that God was good to his people, but they often did not obey him.

1 My people, listen to what I am teaching you.

Listen to the words that I speak.

2 I will tell you something to make you wise.

Then you will understand

things that happened long ago.

3 We have heard about these things

and we know them.

Our fathers have told them to us,

4 and we will not hide them from our children.

We will tell our children and our grandchildren

why they should praise the Lord.

We will tell them about his strength,

and about the great things that he has done.

5 He gave his laws to Jacob's descendants,

the Israelite people.

He commanded our ancestors

to teach them to their children.

6 Then the children would know about them,

even the children still to be born.

When the time came,

they too would tell their children.

7 Then their family would trust in God.

They would not forget what God had done.

They would obey his commands.

8 So they would not be like their ancestors,

who turned against God.

Those people refused to obey God,

and they did not trust him to be their guide.

9 The soldiers of Ephraim had bows and arrows,

but they ran away when the battle started!

78:9God gave his people everything that they needed, but they still did not trust him. Ephraim was one of Israel's 12 tribes.

10 They did not obey the covenant

that God had made with them.

They refused to obey his laws.

11 They forgot about what he had done for them.

They forgot the miracles that he had shown them.

12 He did miracles for their ancestors to see,

in the region of Egypt that is called Zoan.

13 He cut the sea into two separate parts,

and he led them through it.

He made a path between two walls of water.

78:13God led his people on a dry path through the Red Sea. See Exodus 14:21-22.

14 He showed them the way with a cloud in the day

and with light from a fire all night.

78:14See Exodus 13:21-22.

15 He broke rocks into pieces in the wilderness

so that his people had plenty of water.

Springs of water came from deep in the earth.

16 He caused streams to pour from the rocks

so that the waters ran like rivers.

17 But his people continued to do bad things against him.

In the wilderness,

they turned against the Most High God.

18 They decided to test God,

to see what he would do.

They demanded to have the food that they liked best.

19 They spoke against God, and they said,

‘Can God give us food to eat here in the wilderness?

20 Yes, water did come out when he hit the rock.

There were streams of water that poured out like a river.

But can he also give us food to eat?

Can he supply meat for his people?’

21 When the Lord heard this,

he was very angry.

So he sent fire to punish his people.

He became very angry against the Israelites.

22 They did not trust God,

that he had the power to save them.

23 So God commanded the clouds high above

to give food to his people.

He caused the skies to open like a door.

24 He poured down manna like rain,

so that they could eat grain that came from heaven.

25 In that way, people ate the special bread of angels!

God gave them all the food that they could eat.

26 Then God caused a wind to blow from the east.

He used his power to send a south wind too.

27 He caused meat to pour down on them,

like dust from the sky.

The birds covered all the ground

like sand on the shore of the sea.

28 God made the birds fall near the tents

where his people were living.

29 They ate as much as they could eat.

Yes, God gave them what they had demanded!

30-31 But God became very angry with them,

even before they had finished eating.

While the food was still in their mouths,

he killed the strongest men among them.

Many of the best young Israelite men died.

32 Even when this happened,

the people continued to do bad things.

When God had done these miracles,

they still did not trust him to help them.

33 So he made their lives end quickly, like a breath.

They became very afraid.

34 When God killed some of them,

the other people turned to God.

They were sorry and they prayed to him.

35 They remembered that God

was their strong Rock.

They remembered that the Most High God

was their Redeemer.

36 But they deceived him with their words.

What they said to him was lies.

37 They did not really trust him.

They did not obey the covenant

that he had made with them.

38 But God was kind to them,

and he forgave them for their sins.

He did not destroy them.

Many times he was patient,

and he did not become angry with them.

39 He remembered that they were weak and human,

like a wind that blows away and does not return.

40 When the Israelite people were in the wilderness,

they often turned against God.

That caused God to be very sad.

41 Many times they tested God, the Holy One of Israel,

so that he was very upset.

42 They forgot about his great power,

and how he rescued them from their enemies.

43 He did powerful miracles in Egypt,

in the region of Zoan.

44 He caused the Egyptians' rivers to become blood,

so that they could not drink water from them.

78:44See Exodus 7:17-21.

45 He sent large numbers of flies to bite them.

78:45See Exodus 8:20-24.

He sent frogs that destroyed their land.

78:45See Exodus 8:1-6.

46 He caused locusts to eat their crops,

and everything that grew in their fields.

78:46See Exodus 10:12-15.

47 He destroyed their vines with hail.

He destroyed their fig-trees with frost.

48 He sent hail to kill their cows.

He sent lightning to kill their other animals.

78:48See Exodus 9:22-25.

49 He was so angry with them,

that he sent terrible things to punish them.

Great trouble came to them,

like an army of his angels that bring death.

50 Nothing could stop his anger.

He did not save them from death.

He let bad illness kill them.

51 He killed all the firstborn sons in Egypt.

The strongest men of Ham's descendants died.

78:51See Exodus 12:29.

52 But God led his own people safely out of Egypt.

But took them through the wilderness,

like a shepherd leads his sheep.

78:52See Exodus 13:17-22.

53 They were safe with him as their guide,

and they were not afraid.

But their enemies drowned in the sea.

78:53See Exodus 14:26-28.

54 He brought his people to the edge of his holy land.

It was land with the mountain

that he had taken with his power.

55 He chased away the nations that were living there.

He gave to each tribe their own piece of land,

so that Israel's tribes could live there.

78:55See Joshua 11:16-23.

56 But the Israelites continued to test the Most High God,

and they turned against him.

They did not obey his commands.

78:56See Judges 2:11-15.

57 They turned away from him and they deceived him,

as their ancestors had done.

They were useless,

like a bow that would not shoot straight!

58 The places where they worshipped their idols

made God very angry.

59 God heard what they were doing,

and he became very angry.

He turned against the Israelite people.

60 He went away from his home at Shiloh.

That was the tent where he lived among people.

78:60See Joshua 18:1.

61 He let Israel's enemies take away the Covenant Box,

that showed his power and his glory.

78:61See 1 Samuel 4:4-22.

62 He was so angry with his own people,

he let their enemies kill them in battle.

63 Fire killed their young men in war.

There was nobody for the young women to marry.

64 Their priests died in battle.

Their widows had no chance to weep.

65 Then the Lord woke up,

like someone had woken him from sleep.

He shouted loudly,

like a soldier who has drunk a lot of wine.

66 He chased his enemies away.

He caused them to be ashamed for ever.

67 He chose not to live among Joseph's descendants.

He did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.

68 Instead, he chose the tribe of Judah.

He chose Mount Zion,

the place which he loves.

69 There he built a temple for himself,

to be like his home in heaven.

He made it to be strong, like the earth itself,

so that it would always be there.

70 Also, he chose his servant, David.

He took David away from the fields,

71 so that he no longer took care of his father's sheep.

He became like a shepherd,

to lead his people, Jacob's descendants.

He ruled the people that belonged to God,

the Israelite people.

72 David took care of them with an honest heart.

He was wise in the way that he led them.