Psalm 78

A maskil of Asaph.
1My people, listen to my teaching.
Pay attention to what I say.
2I will open my mouth and tell a story.
I will speak about things that were hidden.
They happened a long time ago.
3We have heard about them and we know them.
Our people who lived before us have told us about them.
4We won’t hide them from our children.
We will tell them to those who live after us.
We will tell them what the Lord has done that is worthy of praise.
We will talk about his power and the wonderful things he has done.
5He gave laws to the people of Jacob.
He gave Israel their law.
He commanded our people who lived before us
to teach his laws to their children.
6Then those born later would know his laws.
Even their children yet to come would know them.
And they in turn would tell their children.
7Then they would put their trust in God.
They would not forget what he had done.
They would obey his commands.
8They would not be like their people who lived long ago.
Those people were stubborn. They refused to obey God.
They turned away from him.
Their spirits were not faithful to him.

9The soldiers of Ephraim were armed with bows.
But they ran away on the day of battle.
10They didn’t keep the covenant God had made with them.
They refused to live by his law.
11They forgot what he had done.
They didn’t remember the wonders he had shown them.
12He did miracles right in front of their people who lived long ago.
At that time they were living in Egypt, in the area of Zoan.
13God parted the Red Sea and led them through it.
He made the water stand up like a wall.
14He guided them with the cloud during the day.
He led them with the light of a fire all night long.
15He broke the rocks open in the desert.
He gave them as much water as there is in the oceans.
16He brought streams out of a rocky cliff.
He made water flow down like rivers.

17But they continued to sin against him.
In the desert they refused to obey the Most High God.
18They were stubborn and tested God.
They ordered him to give them the food they wanted.
19They spoke against God. They said,
“Can God really put food on a table in the desert?
20It is true that he struck the rock, and streams of water poured out.
Huge amounts of water flowed down.
But can he also give us bread?
Can he supply meat for his people?”
21When the Lord heard what they said, he was very angry.
His anger broke out like fire against the people of Jacob.
He became very angry with Israel.
22That was because they didn’t believe in God.
They didn’t trust in his power to save them.
23But he gave a command to the skies above.
He opened the doors of the heavens.
24He rained down manna for the people to eat.
He gave them the grain of heaven.
25Mere human beings ate the bread of angels.
He sent them all the food they could eat.
26He made the east wind blow from the heavens.
By his power he caused the south wind to blow.
27He rained down meat on them like dust.
He sent them birds like sand on the seashore.
28He made the birds come down inside their camp.
The birds fell all around their tents.
29People ate until they couldn’t eat any more.
He gave them what they had wanted.
30But even before they had finished eating, God acted.
He did it while the food was still in their mouths.
31His anger rose up against them.
He put to death the strongest among them.
He struck down Israel’s young men.

32But even after all that, they kept on sinning.
Even after the wonderful things he had done, they still didn’t believe.
33So he brought their days to an end like a puff of smoke.
He ended their years with terror.
34Every time God killed some of them, the others would seek him.
They gladly turned back to him again.
35They remembered that God was their Rock.
They remembered that God Most High had set them free.
36But they didn’t mean it when they praised him.
They lied to him when they spoke.
37They turned away from him.
They weren’t faithful to the covenant he had made with them.
38But he was full of tender love.
He forgave their sins
and didn’t destroy his people.
Time after time he held back his anger.
He didn’t let all his burning anger blaze out.
39He remembered that they were only human.
He remembered they were only a breath of air
that drifts by and doesn’t return.

40How often they refused to obey him in the desert!
How often they caused him sorrow in that dry and empty land!
41Again and again they tested God.
They made the Holy One of Israel sad and angry.
42They didn’t remember his power.
They forgot the day he set them free
from those who had treated them so badly.
43They forgot how he had shown them his signs in Egypt.
They forgot his miracles in the area of Zoan.
44He turned the river of Egypt into blood.
The people of Egypt couldn’t drink water from their streams.
45He sent large numbers of flies that bit them.
He sent frogs that destroyed their land.
46He gave their crops to the grasshoppers.
He gave their food to the locusts.
47He destroyed their vines with hail.
He destroyed their fig trees with sleet.
48He killed their cattle with hail.
Their livestock were struck by lightning.
49Because he was so angry with Egypt, he caused them to have great trouble.
In his great anger he sent destroying angels against them.
50God prepared a path for his anger.
He didn’t spare their lives.
He gave them over to the plague.
51He killed the oldest son of each family in Egypt.
He struck down the oldest son in every house in the land of Ham.
52But he brought his people out like a flock.
He led them like sheep through the desert.
53He guided them safely, and they weren’t afraid.
But the Red Sea swallowed up their enemies.
54And so he brought his people to the border of his holy land.
He led them to the central hill country he had taken by his power.
55He drove out the nations to make room for his people.
He gave to each family a piece of land to pass on to their children.
He gave the tribes of Israel a place to make their homes.

56But they tested God.
They refused to obey the Most High God.
They didn’t keep his laws.
57They were like their people who lived long ago.
They turned away from him and were not faithful.
They were like a bow that doesn’t shoot straight.
They couldn’t be trusted.
58They made God angry by going to their high places.
They made him jealous by worshiping the statues of their gods.
59When God saw what the people were doing, he was very angry.
He turned away from them completely.
60He deserted the holy tent at Shiloh.
He left the tent he had set up among his people.
61He allowed the ark to be captured.
Into the hands of his enemies he sent the ark where his glory rested.
62He let his people be killed by swords.
He was very angry with them.
63Fire destroyed their young men.
Their young women had no one to marry.
64Their priests were killed by swords.
Their widows weren’t able to weep.

65Then the Lord woke up as if he had been sleeping.
He was like a warrior waking up from the deep sleep caused by wine.
66He drove back his enemies.
He put them to shame that will last forever.
67He turned his back on the tents of the people of Joseph.
He didn’t choose to live in the tribe of Ephraim.
68Instead, he chose to live in the tribe of Judah.
He chose Mount Zion, which he loved.
69There he built his holy place as secure as the heavens.
He built it to last forever, like the earth.
70He chose his servant David.
He took him from the sheep pens.
71He brought him from tending sheep
to be the shepherd of his people Jacob.
He made him the shepherd of Israel, his special people.
72David cared for them with a faithful and honest heart.
With skilled hands he led them.