Ok very much continuing the theme of remembering. This is a recap of the whole history of Israel from exodus to David.
It’s a song to teach young people their history and their identity.
Asaph has studied the scriptures deeply and reduced giant portions of them down to these 70 verses.
The history we get is of God’s saving deeds for Israel, his harsh judgement when they despise him and his generous provision.
He notes that when God slew them, they returned to him and tried to obey, but then the praise would devolve to empty flattery not matched in their hearts.
It’s a picture of God’s patience as time and time again he doesn’t give them what their faithless hearts demand, abandonment.
God’s mercy is partly in account of their ephemeral nature “”
The selective winnowing of God’s people comes down to Judah, to David. The psalm ends with him guiding Israel with skillful hands, a bit like #76 the other day, a snapshot of the glory days.
One theory is that the book of Psalms was assembled as a sort of portable temple for the period of exile when the real one was destroyed. If so this section has been about the value of suffering, of judgement, and how it doesn’t mean God has abandoned you.
I feel a bit coddled and guilty when I read about the Israelites, because I feel like I live in a time of relatively cheap grace.
A bit like as the youngest child in my family, the parents I knew were much softer and gentler than the severe parents my eldest brother remembers.
But that jarring perspective of God’s, that we are a passing breeze – that’s why he goes easy on us, wow. The old testament is good at reminding me how loved I am, how wild yet patient God is. The cost of love.
What can I give this year?