Psalm 78: When History Meets Theology

In Psalm 78, the psalmist Asaph provides a theological interpretation of the history of Israel from the time of the exodus till the reign of King David. This psalm of 72 verses is the second longest behind only Psalm 119 and its 176 verses! It is clear from the psalmist’s own introduction in verses 1-8 that the goal of the psalm is that parents might have a tool to teach their children about the wonderful works of God in Israel’s past. As we read this psalm, we recognize the themes of both God’s faithfulness and Israel’s unfaithfulness. The story of Israel’s history is one in which the people of Israel are not the heroes, Jehovah God alone has that distinction.

I would like to suggest that Psalm 78 provides an excellent model for how we should interpret history in general and our life stories in particular. This psalm also is a model for how those events should be explained to our children. Many people look at the subject of history as one that is boring; full of facts, names and dates that must be memorized. The psalmist’s approach here is a better one. Yes, they are still facts, names and dates that must be known, but not as an end in themselves. They are pieces of the larger puzzle that points to the providence of God in history. It has rightly been said that “history” is really “His” story! May we learn to view history as Asaph did for our own good and the good of the generations yet to come!

3 comments

  1. Steve,
    Great post. I am presently preaching thru the book of Luke in my church. When I was in ch.10 dealing with the account of the Good Samaritan, I began to think about how that the message of the gospel is being played out before our eyes every day thru creation, natural occurances and the circumstances of our every day lives. I think maybe that’s kinda,almost, similar to what you’re saying. Or maybe not. Anyway, it made me think about that.

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