Raise a Song!

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Reading the Word

Psalm 81:1–4 (ESV)

1 Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! 2 Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. 3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. 4 For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Israel was instructed to celebrate their festivals corporately. These festivals were put in place by God as ways to remind the people of what he had done for them as each festival looked pointed to God’s work on their behalf. The particular festival in view in this psalm pointed the Israelites to the Exodus. As part of the celebration the people would sing together with musical instruments.

We too, as Christians, are called to gather corporately to worship and remember all that God has done. Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to neglect gathering with fellow believers. While there are many things to sing about, the focus of our worship is the crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ. He is our salvation and the cross is the pivotal moment in the history of the world. Let us raise a song for joy to our God for all he has done!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

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Testing God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 78:17–25 (ESV)

17 Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. 18 They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. 19 They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the wilderness? 20 He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed. Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?” 21 Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob; his anger rose against Israel, 22 because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power. 23 Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, 24 and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Even after God delivered the people out of Egypt, showing his love and power, the people sinned against him. They did so by testing God (v. 18). Instead of praising God and trusting in him because of all he had done, they questioned God. “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?” They did not trust that God would provide their basic needs of food and water as he led them through the desert to the land of Canaan. As a result, God was full of wrath (vv. 21-22), but he gave them water and fed them in abundance.

O believer, do not fail to see that God has shown his love and power to us. He has shown it as he has brought salvation to us through the shed blood of his Son, Jesus Christ. And he has shown it as he has given us new life through his Spirit that indwells us. Let us not ask for new proofs of God’s love and power. Such demands and attitudes are sinful and the result of unbelief. Instead, let us find confidence from all that God has done in the past as we walk by faith into the future.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

No Turning Back

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Reading the Word

Psalm 78:9–16 (ESV)

9 The Ephraimites, armed with the bow, turned back on the day of battle. 10 They did not keep God’s covenant, but refused to walk according to his law. 11 They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them. 12 In the sight of their fathers he performed wonders in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan. 13 He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap. 14 In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a fiery light. 15 He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. 16 He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

Understanding and Applying the Word

After opening the psalm by calling for the people to learn from history (vv. 1-8), verses 9-16 begin to recount that history. It begins by telling how the Ephraimites had forgotten their history and had shrunk back in the day of battle. They forgot how God had displayed his power and allowed the Israelites to cross the Red Sea when they went out of Egypt. God also led them with a cloud in the day and a pillar of fire at night and supplied water from a rock. If the Ephraimites had remembered their history, they would have gone into battle knowing that God was with them.

We can read these words and wonder at how the people could forget what God had done. How often do we do the same in our own lives? We have seen and experienced God’s power as believers. We are told in Scripture that all who believe are born again and have the Spirit of God living within them. Yet, when faced with difficulty or trials, we often forget that God is with us and we wonder how we will make it through our circumstances. Let us not forget our history. It prepares us for the future.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Lest We Forget

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Reading the Word

Psalm 78:1–8 (ESV)

1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, 3 things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 5 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, 6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, 7 so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; 8 and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This long psalm begins with the call to “Give ear” or “Hear”. The picture is of a teacher who is teaching a group and is calling them to attention. The subject of the teaching is Israel’s history and it is valuable because God has revealed himself throughout that history. By learning from Israel’s past, the people can know God and avoid the mistakes of their ancestors.

The Bible is a book that teaches us about God by recording how he has acted and revealed himself throughout history. As believers, we study that history so we can know him, know what he has done, and know what he desires of us now. The Christian faith is grounded in history, with its central focus on the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is our duty and to our benefit to learn that history and to teach it to the next generation so that his name might be glorified in us and that our children do not stray from him. How well do you know your history?

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!