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Psalm 78
God's Works - Israel's Responses - Son of David

" Birth of Christ "

"Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and know...we will not hide them from their children, telling...the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done."(~vs1-4)

After the Flood, when God wiped out all air-breathing life, except those saved in the ark, man again became corrupt. They built high places of worship to worship the sun, moon and stars.(Gen11,Deu4:19) From out of that corruption God chose Abram, to establish a godly nation, His own special people. (Gen12:1-3) A nation what would be a "testimony" in the world.(vs5) A nation that would not be corrupt like the rest of the world.(vs8)

ISRAEL was at the border to the promised land. But rather than go in and possess the land, they rebelled.(vs10) They refused to trust God, looking instead at their own inadequacies next to the "giants" in the land.(Nu13:33) Bringing on themselves 40 unnecessary years of wanderings.

GOD had just performed marvelous signs and wonders against Egypt.(vs12) He parted the Red Sea so Israel could escape the pursuing enemies.(vs13) And "Personally" led them with the pillar of cloud/fire.(vs14) He gave them water in the desert from the rocks.(vs15)

ISRAEL "sinned even more."(vs17) They rebelled "in their heart."(vs18) God's marvelous provisions were "not enough" for their lusts for delicacies.

GOD became "furious."(vs21) Even though Israel was rebellious, God gave them water, and rained down "angels' food" to eat.(vs25) He brought in quail in such quantities that they covered the ground.(vs27)(Nu11:31) And because of their rebellion, while the food was still in their mouths, God's wrath came against them and killed the "stoutest of them."(vs31)

ISRAEL, in spite of all this, "did not believe in His wondrous works."(vs32)

GOD consumed them in futility.(vs33) He killed them.

ISRAEL then sought Him. Then they remembered that God was their "rock." (vs35) ...their Redeemer. And yet, they flattered Him with their mouth, and were not steadfast in heart. Nor were they faithful in His covenant.(vs37)

GOD, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and didn't destroy them.(vs38) He remembered that they were but flesh.(vs39) Merely "human." Subject to frailty, and short-lived.

ISRAEL provoked God.(vs40) God had exhorted them to "remember" His works amongst them.(vs7) (1Chr16:12) But they did not remember His works in judging Egypt. They did not remember Mt.Sinai.(vs54) Did not remember how He gave them victories over their enemies of insurmountable odds. They did not keep His law. They "turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers"(vs8,57) and erected "high places" and idols.(vs58)

GOD became furious.(vs59) He greatly abhorred Israel. Rather than being the "apple of His eye"(Deu32:10) they were now His "enemies."(vs66) He allowed the captors to come and pillage the land, taking Israelites captive.(vs61) Israel was in and out of favor with God. They were in "perpetual reproach."

And then, finally, God chose a man "after His own heart."(1Sam13:14) David ruled Israel for 40 years and completed the job of pushing back Israel's enemies. And set up a kingdom which Solomon his son would take over, and make into Israel's "glory years."

Just as all Israel came through personal deliverance out of Egypt, Paul writes, "but with most of them God was not well pleased."(1Cor10:5) While Israel, nationally, was God's chosen people; on an individual basis, the people did not obey God from their hearts.(Deut5:29) They proved out the point that, "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?(Jer17:9) This led to Israel experiencing swings up and down, as they would fall into idolatry, and then revival. Good king. Evil kings. Back and forth. But ultimately, God allowed Nebuchadnezzar "His servant"(Jer25:9) to totally wipe out the nation, took them captive, destroying the temple.

Then, under Ezra and Nehemiah Israel came back to the land. Built the temple and city walls of Jerusalem. And the next 400 years proved to be trying times for the little nation. And along the way, they found themselves under the control of the Roman Empire. Hardly a time of "blessing" like the glory years of King David.

Times were dark and bleak. And in fact, the Roman dictators were uprooting everybody for a census. Record and register everyone. Further strengthening their control over the little rebellious nation.

GOD chose just such a time to demonstrate His greatest love, mercy and grace. Just as a thousand years earlier He had chosen David "from the sheepfolds"(vs70), now it was time for the "Son of David" to appear on the scene.

David was beset with human frailties. The Son of David would shepherd Israel with true "integrity of heart."(vs72)

"GOD so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."(Jn3:16)

JESUS was sent to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Mt15:24) He was the promised fulfillment of the One on the "throne of David [to] be established before the LORD forever."(1Kgs2:45) "Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever."(Is9:7) "In mercy the throne will be established; and One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David..hastening righteousness."(Is16:5) Jesus' genealogy states, "the Son of David, the Son of Abraham."(Mt1:1)

ISRAEL, however rejected Jesus. "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him."(Jn1:11) While the leaders were looking for a "savior" from Roman domination, claiming to desire their Messiah, they fulfilled Jesus' illustration, "But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.'"So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. (Mat 21:38-39)

But you notice, while His own rejected Him, we are encouraged, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God."(Jn1:12) And while Israel rejected Him at His first coming, Jesus' coming was for the whole world.(Jn3:16) Yes, God called the nation Israel out to be His own special people. This does not exclude others. God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."(2Pt3:9) While Jesus came, born as a Jewish baby, His coming was also, "as a light to the Gentiles."(Is42:6) And for a time, while Israel has been in exile for nearly 2000 years, the Gentiles have had the privilege of being God's chosen, in the form of the Church.(Rom11:11)

While this Psalm is about Israel, their history is recorded as "examples" to us; to the intent that we don't rebel against God as they did.(1Cor10:6,11) And, while we might be tempted to shake our heads at the Jews and retort, "Those silly people! Didn't they know any better!" ..the fact of the matter is that we "all" are in the same boat. "What then? Are we [Gentiles] better than they [Jews]? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks [Gentiles] that they are all under sin..there is none righteous, no, not one."(Rom3:9-10) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."(Is53:6)

GOOD NEWS. Salvation is available to all people, "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." (Rom 10:12-13)

BIRTH of CHRIST... When the world was lost in sin, "when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."(Rom5:6)

"..Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:6-11)


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