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Psalm 78

God’s Guidance of His People in Spite of Their Unfaithfulness.

A skillful song, or a didactic or reflective poem, of Asaph.

78 Listen, O my people, to my teaching;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth [and be willing to learn].

I will open my mouth in a parable [to instruct using examples];
I will utter dark and puzzling sayings of old [that contain important truth]—

Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.

We will not hide them from their children,
But [we will] tell to the generation to come the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
And [tell of] His great might and power and the wonderful works that He has done.


For He established a testimony (a specific precept) in Jacob
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers
That they should teach to their children [the great facts of God’s transactions with Israel],

That the generation to come might know them, that the children still to be born
May arise and recount them to their children,

That they should place their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments,

And not be like their fathers—
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that did not prepare its heart to know and follow God,
And whose spirit was not faithful to God.


The sons of Ephraim were armed as archers and carrying bows,
Yet they turned back in the day of battle.
10 
They did not keep the covenant of God
And refused to walk according to His law;
11 
And they forgot His [incredible] works
And His miraculous wonders that He had shown them.
12 
He did marvelous things in the sight of their fathers
In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan [where Pharaoh resided].
13 
He divided the [Red] Sea and allowed them to pass through it,
And He made the waters stand up like [water behind] a dam.
14 
In the daytime He led them with a cloud
And all the night with a light of fire.
15 
He split rocks in the wilderness
And gave them abundant [water to] drink like the ocean depths.
16 
He brought streams also from the rock [at Rephidim and Kadesh]
And caused waters to run down like rivers.

17 
Yet they still continued to sin against Him
By rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18 
And in their hearts they put God to the test
By asking for food according to their [selfish] appetite.
19 
Then they spoke against God;
They said, “Can God prepare [food for] a table in the wilderness?
20 
“Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out
And the streams overflowed;
Can He give bread also?
Or will He provide meat for His people?”

21 
Therefore, when the Lord heard, He was full of wrath;
A fire was kindled against Jacob,
And His anger mounted up against Israel,
22 
Because they did not believe in God [they did not rely on Him, they did not adhere to Him],
And they did not trust in His salvation (His power to save).
23 
Yet He commanded the clouds from above
And opened the doors of heaven;
24 
And He rained down manna upon them to eat
And gave them the grain of heaven.
25 
Man ate the bread of angels;
God sent them provision in abundance.
26 
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens
And by His [unlimited] power He guided the south wind.
27 
He rained meat upon them like the dust,
And winged birds (quail) like the sand of the seas.
28 
And He let them fall in the midst of their camp,
Around their tents.
29 
So they ate and were well filled,
He gave them what they craved.
30 
Before they had satisfied their desire,
And while their food was in their mouths,
31 
The wrath of God rose against them
And killed some of the strongest of them,
And subdued the choice young men of Israel.
32 
In spite of all this they still sinned,
For they did not believe in His wonderful and extraordinary works.
33 
Therefore He consumed their days like a breath [in emptiness and futility]
And their years in sudden terror.

34 
When He killed [some of] them, then those remaining sought Him,
And they returned [to Him] and searched diligently for God [for a time].
35 
And they remembered that God was their rock,
And the Most High God their Redeemer.
36 
Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouths
And lied to Him with their tongues.
37 
For their heart was not steadfast toward Him,
Nor were they faithful to His covenant.
38 
[a]But He, the source of compassion and lovingkindness, forgave their wickedness and did not destroy them;
Many times He restrained His anger
And did not stir up all His wrath.
39 
For He [graciously] remembered that they were mere [human] flesh,
A wind that goes and does not return.

40 
How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness
And grieved Him in the desert!
41 
Again and again they tempted God,
And distressed the Holy One of Israel.
42 
They did not remember [the miracles worked by] His [powerful] hand,
Nor the day when He redeemed them from the enemy,
43 
How He worked His miracles in Egypt
And His wonders in the field of Zoan [where Pharaoh resided],
44 
And turned their rivers into blood,
And their streams, so that they could not drink.
45 
He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them,
And frogs which destroyed them.
46 
He also gave their crops to the grasshopper,
And the fruit of their labor to the locust.
47 
He destroyed their vines with [great] hailstones
And their sycamore trees with frost.
48 
He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones,
And their flocks and herds to thunderbolts.
49 
He sent upon them His burning anger,
His fury and indignation and distress,
A band of angels of destruction [among them].
50 
He leveled a path for His anger [to give it free run];
He did not spare their souls from death,
But turned over their lives to the plague.
51 
He killed all the firstborn in Egypt,
The first and best of their strength in the tents [of the land of the sons] of Ham.
52 
But God led His own people forward like sheep
And guided them in the wilderness like [a good shepherd with] a flock.
53 
He led them safely, so that they did not fear;
But the sea engulfed their enemies.

54 
So He brought them to His holy land,
To this mountain [Zion] which His right hand had acquired.
55 
He also drove out the nations before the sons of Israel
And allotted their land as an inheritance, measured out and partitioned;
And He had the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents [the tents of those who had been dispossessed].
56 
Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God
And did not keep His testimonies (laws).
57 
They turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers;
They were twisted like a warped bow [that will not respond to the archer’s aim].
58 
For they provoked Him to [righteous] anger with their high places [devoted to idol worship]
And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images [by denying Him the love, worship, and obedience that is rightfully and uniquely His].
59 
When God heard this, He was filled with [righteous] wrath;
And utterly rejected Israel, [greatly hating her ways],
60 
So that He abandoned the tabernacle at Shiloh,
The tent in which He had dwelled among men,
61 
And gave up His strength and power (the ark of the covenant) into captivity,
And His glory into the hand of the enemy (the Philistines).
62 
He also handed His people over to the sword,
And was infuriated with His inheritance (Israel).
63 
The fire [of war] devoured His young men,
And His [bereaved] virgins had no wedding songs.
64 
His priests [Hophni and Phinehas] fell by the sword,
And His widows could not weep.

65 
Then the Lord awakened as from sleep,
Like a [mighty] warrior who awakens from the sleep of wine [fully conscious of his power].
66 
He drove His enemies backward;
He subjected them to lasting shame and dishonor.
67 
Moreover, He rejected the tent of Joseph,
And did not choose the tribe of Ephraim [in which the tabernacle stood].
68 
But He chose the tribe of Judah [as Israel’s leader],
Mount Zion, which He loved [to replace Shiloh as His capital].
69 
And He built His sanctuary [exalted] like the heights [of the heavens],
Like the earth which He has established forever.
70 
He also chose David His servant
And took him from the sheepfolds;
71 
[b]From [c]tending the ewes with nursing young He brought him
To shepherd Jacob His people,
And Israel His inheritance.
72 
So David shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart;
And guided them with his skillful hands.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 78:38 The ancient Sopherim, the Jewish scholars whose responsibility it was to do counts of all the letters, words, and verses of the OT, said that this verse marks the halfway point in Psalms.
  2. Psalm 78:71 The first impression one might receive from this passage is that God elevated David from the lowliest position in Israel to the highest. But the ancient rabbis said that God tested David’s skills and wisdom as a shepherd. For example, it is said that David held back the bigger sheep from the pasture and brought out the smaller ones first to graze on the tender grass. The rabbis represented God as saying, “He who knows how to shepherd the sheep, each one in proportion to its strength, shall come and shepherd My people.”
  3. Psalm 78:71 Lit following.
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2 Kings 5:19-27

19 Elisha said to him, “Go in peace.” So Naaman departed and was a good distance away from him,

20 when Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “My master has spared this Naaman the Aramean (Syrian), by not accepting from him what he brought. As the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” 21 So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is all well?” 22 And he said, “All is well. My master has sent me to say, ‘Just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a [a]talent of silver and two changes of clothes.’” 23 Naaman said, “Please take two talents.” And he urged him [to accept], and tied up two talents of silver in two bags with two changes of clothes and gave them to two of his servants; and they carried them in front of Gehazi. 24 When he came to the hill, he took them from their hand and put them in the house [for safekeeping]; and he sent the men away, and they left. 25 Then he went in and stood before his master. Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” He said, “Your servant went nowhere.”

26 Elisha said to him, “Did my heart not go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a [proper] time to accept money and clothing and olive orchards and vineyards and sheep and oxen and male and female servants? 27 Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So Gehazi departed from his presence, a leper as white as snow.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 5:22 About 60 lbs.
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1 Corinthians 5:1-8

Immorality Rebuked

It is actually reported [everywhere] that there is sexual immorality among you, a kind of immorality that is condemned even among the [unbelieving] Gentiles: that someone [a]has [an intimate relationship with] his father’s wife. And you are proud and arrogant! You should have mourned in shame so that the man who has done this [disgraceful] thing would be removed from your fellowship!

For I, though absent [from you] in body but present in spirit, have already passed judgment on him who has committed this [act], as if I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I am with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to [b]hand over this man to Satan for the destruction of his body, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Your boasting [over the supposed spirituality of your church] is not good [indeed, it is vulgar and inappropriate]. [c]Do you not know that [just] a little leaven ferments the whole batch [of dough, just as a little sin corrupts a person or an entire church]? [d]Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new batch, just as you are, still unleavened. For Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of vice and malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and [untainted] truth.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 5:1 Some maintain that the man had married his stepmother. The marriage, if it occurred, was illegal and invalid by both Jewish and Roman law.
  2. 1 Corinthians 5:5 Probably a call for the man to be excommunicated and removed from the safety and blessing of the church.
  3. 1 Corinthians 5:6 See note 3:16.
  4. 1 Corinthians 5:7 Paul is using the Passover celebration as an analogy. Leading up to the Passover meal was the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Ex 12:17-20), during which the Israelites were to remove all leaven from their homes to symbolize the removal of sin from their lives. Leaven (yeast) was often used as a symbol of spiritual corruption.
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Matthew 5:27-37

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who [so much as] looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye makes you stumble and leads you to sin, tear it out and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand makes you stumble and leads you to sin, cut it off and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

31 “It has also been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife is to give her a certificate of divorce’; 32 but I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except on grounds of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who has been divorced commits adultery.

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not make false vows, but you shall fulfill your vows to the Lord [as a religious duty].’ 34 But I say to you, do not make an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God; 35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you are not able to make a single hair white or black. 37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’ [a firm yes or no]; anything more than that comes from the evil one.

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