Thursday, December 15, 2016

Three Traits of a Life that Matters (Psalm 78)

This is Part 3 of the series "Fools Rush In: Learning from the Wisdom Psalms". See the links below to read the other parts. 78 teaches us that we can build a life that matters by trusting God, remembering His works, and obeying Him.

Trusting God

The Israelites had major trust issues when it came to God. In fact, we all do!

But trust makes us receptive to God’s work and prepares us for fruitful service. God is building an everlasting kingdom in and through us. But we pull back from this privilege when we stop relying on Him (Psa. 127:1).

How can we know that we’re trusting in God? One of the indicators is a vibrant prayer life.

How frequently, and how much time do I give to prayer? How much does God’s Word direct my prayers? Do I commune with God, or just go through a grocery list of petitions?

Remembering God's Works

There’s a saying, “experience is the best teacher”. Our knowledge of anything is abstract until we actually experience it ourselves.

That’s why the Lord didn’t just tell the Israelites about who He was and what He was like; He also showed them by signs and wonders.

God gives us more than true statements. He also gives us a story, a history, that we can point to and say, “Behold, this is God, my God, and this is what He did for me!”

The Israelites were prone to forgetting what God had done for them in the past (Psalm 78:11, 42). As a result, they lost their direction. They rebelled against God, strayed from him, and betrayed him (Psa. 78:17, 36, 57).

God intended for them to be a powerful and glorious nation, one that reflected the power and glory of God Himself! Butby rejecting Him, they forfeited this privilege.
When God heard, he was full of wrath, and he utterly rejected Israel, He forsook his dwelling at Shiloh, the tent where he dwelt among mankind, and delivered his power to captivity, his glory to the hand of the foe. (vv. 59-61)
We need to remember God’s works so that we learn to trust Him. “Remembering” means more than recollecting past experiences. How we interpret those experiences matters.
They spoke against God, saying ‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness? He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed. Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?’ (vv. 19-20)
Technically, the Israelites remembered that past experience. But they didn’t learn what God wanted to teach them.

So, let's pray along these lines: “Lord, help me to understand what’s happening around me, and in my own life. Help me to see things with the eyes of faith and to trace Your hand in all of these things!”

Obeying God

If we really trust the Lord and remember His works, then we will obey!
When he killed them, they sought him; they repented and sought God earnestly. They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer. But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues. Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant. (vv. 34-37)

There are a lot of people who give lip service to God, but their actions betray them. There are many examples of them in Scripture, and they’re not the ones whose lives mattered.

Maybe one of the best examples is King Nebuchadnezzar. He had several encounters with the four Hebrew wise men: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. God even dealt with him personally, when as punishment for his pride, God made him temporarily insane. He praised God afterwards. But what happened after that? Did he walk in obedience to the Lord after that? Apparently not. He remained unchanged. His kingdom remained unchanged. He was the most powerful man who had ever lived up to his time, the pinnacle of human significance. But time proved that even he, and men like him, have only temporary significance, not eternal significance. They are like grass... The great kingdom of Babylon is long gone. We only remember it now as a symbol of worldly power and wealth that stands in opposition to God.

Brethren, nothing will ruin our usefulness and our prayers more than withholding obedience from God, than sinning willfully. So let’s walk in integrity, and repent of all our known sins, so that our prayers won’t be hindered.


Psalm 78 exhorts us to trust in God, to remember His works, and to obey Him. In return it promises a life of eternal significance because it is bound up with God’s eternal kingdom. Do our prayers reflect a commitment to these things? Do they reflect a thirst for the things of God, and a yearning to be free from the influence of our flesh, the world, and the devil?

No comments:

Post a Comment