It is very tempting when reading Psalm 78 to let your brain check out or see it’s just a recounting of Israel’s history. I struggled with it myself and wondered how long the psalmist would go on before getting to his conclusion. This psalm, however, isn’t about Israel at all. It’s about God! The bible is a collection of writings that tell the story of man’s interactions with God over the course of time, so while yes the story of Israel is being recounted, the focus is God’s love for His people.
Despite Israel’s rebellion, God was graceful. Despite Israel’s unfaithfulness, God was loving. Despite Israel’s doubt, God provided. Now, go back and read those three sentences and replace the word “Israel” with “my”. Go on, I’ll wait right here.
Israel’s story is recorded in the bible not for us to know the history of God’s people, but to know the history of God. Here, the psalmist is writing to remind his readers how good God has been despite our own sinfulness. He’s always there like a good father caring for his children out of love and compassion. Sometimes we read things in the Old Testament (and maybe even in the New) and think God is a big mean angry dude who gets ticked off every time we misstep. Reading the summary of the history of God’s people, however, encourages me to reflect upon my own life and see the times I turned my back on God but He stayed with me. How many times did He provide for me and I cried that it wasn’t good enough and He gave me more? How often does He allow me to suffer to strengthen and grow me?
Psalm 78 is a bit long so instead of me writing more about it, I’ll encourage you to reread it but through the lens of your own relationship with Him. How have you witnessed Him provide for you? How has He delivered you from your enemies? What evidence do you have that He loves you, even though you may have forgotten?