Remember God’s Power — Psalms 76-78

You read a lot about the seminal event of the Exodus in the psalms as well as in other places (including the New Testament). The reasons vary a bit, but one of the main reasons you see it in the psalms is to cause the reader (singer or listener) to remember how good God has been to Israel and that He is powerful enough to rescue us from anything. The psalms today bring up the power of God as the psalmists wrestle with trouble for these very reasons.

To save the humble of the earth (Psalm 76:8.9) — Although this psalm doesn’t refer to the Exodus, the purpose of the psalm is the same, to remind us of the great power of the God of Heaven for whom nothing is too difficult — it just uses a different reference point, the amazing victories of the past (possibly one just recently won in the psalmist’s context). This causes him to write in almost a boastful way, demanding fear, obedience, and obeisance of all the world, because God is the God of humble Israel and Judah.  And though “chest thumping” would seem to tempt others to attack just to prove us wrong, the point is valid — the power and ability of God is most assuredly something that Christians can “bank” on. Remember God’s victories and rest assured.

Will the Lord reject forever? (Psalm 77) — In this psalm the writer is drawing upon the power of a great storm to find hope for his otherwise hopeless situation. Again, it isn’t certain what the circumstances are — it could be a defeat that has caused the psalmist to be oppressed or enslaved or it could be exile to Assyria or Babylon — but things look pretty near hopeless. The psalmist wonders if God will reject forever, will never be favorably disposed toward Israel again, has forgotten His love and His promises. Prayers don’t appear to be heard or answered, so it would seem that the writer’s or Israel’s offense has been great and that there are severe consequences to bear for failing to obey the Lord. But the penitent author comforts himself with remembering the deeds of God in days gone by, because they remind him that the impossible is always possible for the God who does wonders — as at the Exodus (v. 20). Once again the take-away for us is that we need to reject hopelessness, remember the power of God to do wonderful things, and embrace repentance of sin and obedience to the LORD.

Don’t forget to tell the kids (Psalm 78) — I watched a commercial for a genealogical website the other day in which the happy customer had discovered that his great-grandparents had lived next door to the Wright brothers. His wise-cracking reaction was, “Now, who forgot to mention that?” There’s a lot of cool things, I rather suspect, that never do get handed down to the next generation. Somethings are better left unsaid, but other things are treasures that shouldn’t be forgotten. This is the genius of things like Passover and Feast of Tabernacles in the Bible, because they have such powerful history passing power. This psalm is one that reminds and urges parents to pass down the story, one that will serve them and all who believe in the God of the Bible well indeed.

And one of the parts of this psalm (v. 25) speaks of the Manna, which fed Israel in the wilderness for 40 years, as the “bread of angels”. It’s hard to know whether this designation is intended to say that it is actual bread eaten by angels, or merely a metaphor for “bread from Heaven” (Psalm 105:40), or possibly bread distributed by angels every night for Israel to pick up and use for food. Regardless of the exact meaning, it’s information that we didn’t have before in the Scriptures and is pretty amazing.

And did you also note vs. 34, that “When He killed them, then they sought Him, And returned and searched diligently for God.” It wasn’t when God was nice to them, saving them from Egypt, providing them everything they needed for survival in the wilderness that they turned to him — oh no. It was when He punished them! And isn’t that too much like us humans. Make a break from the usual for God — thank and praise and turn to Him while He’s being nice.

And this passage (v. 49) also tells of God’s destroying angels at the death of the firstborn. The Hebrew speaks of evil angels. Other passages remind us how God uses both the good and the bad for His own purposes, and it tells us of what God is holds back for the benefit of His people.

See you tomorrow, Lord willing.

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About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the church of Christ in Manchester NH where I've worked since the 1970's. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, the Lord's church, and Gander Brook Christian Camp.
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