Lessons from Israel’s Past
A Maskil of Asaph.
1My people, hear my instruction;
listen to the words from my mouth.
2I will declare wise sayings;
I will speak mysteries from the past —
3things we have heard and known
and that our ancestors have passed down to us.
4We will not hide them from their children,
but will tell a future generation
the praiseworthy acts of the Lord,
his might, and the wondrous works
he has performed.
5He established a testimony in Jacob
and set up a law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach to their children
6so that a future generation —
children yet to be born — might know.
They were to rise and tell their children
7so that they might put their confidence in God
and not forget God’s works,
but keep his commands.
8Then they would not be like their ancestors,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not loyal
and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
9The Ephraimite archers turned back
on the day of battle.
10They did not keep God’s covenant
and refused to live by his law.
11They forgot what he had done,
the wondrous works he had shown them.
12He worked wonders in the sight of their ancestors
in the land of Egypt, the territory of Zoan.
13He split the sea and brought them across;
the water stood firm like a wall.
14He led them with a cloud by day
and with a fiery light throughout the night.
15He split rocks in the wilderness
and gave them drink as abundant as the depths.
16He brought streams out of the stone
and made water flow down like rivers.
17But they continued to sin against him,
rebelling in the desert against the Most High.
18They deliberately tested God,
demanding the food they craved.
19They spoke against God, saying,
“Is God able to provide food in the wilderness?
20Look! He struck the rock and water gushed out;
But can he also provide bread
or furnish meat for his people?”
21Therefore, the Lord heard and became furious;
then fire broke out against Jacob,
and anger flared up against Israel
22because they did not believe God
or rely on his salvation.
23He gave a command to the clouds above
and opened the doors of heaven.
24He rained manna for them to eat;
he gave them grain from heaven.
25People ate the bread of angels.
He sent them an abundant supply of food.
26He made the east wind blow in the skies
and drove the south wind by his might.
27He rained meat on them like dust,
and winged birds like the sand of the seas.
28He made them fall in the camp,
all around the tents.
29The people ate and were completely satisfied,
for he gave them what they craved.
30Before they had turned from what they craved,
while the food was still in their mouths,
31God’s anger flared up against them,
and he killed some of their best men.
He struck down Israel’s fit young men.
32Despite all this, they kept sinning
and did not believe his wondrous works.
33He made their days end in futility,
their years in sudden disaster.
34When he killed some of them,
the rest began to seek him;
they repented and searched for God.
35They remembered that God was their rock,
the Most High God, their Redeemer.
36But they deceived him with their mouths,
they lied to him with their tongues,
37their hearts were insincere toward him,
and they were unfaithful to his covenant.
38Yet he was compassionate;
he atoned for their iniquity
and did not destroy them.
He often turned his anger aside
and did not unleash all his wrath.
39He remembered that they were only flesh,
a wind that passes and does not return.
40How often they rebelled against him
in the wilderness
and grieved him in the desert.
41They constantly tested God
and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42They did not remember his power shown
on the day he redeemed them from the foe,
43when he performed his miraculous signs in Egypt
and his wonders in the territory of Zoan.
44He turned their rivers into blood,
and they could not drink from their streams.
45He sent among them swarms of flies,
which fed on them,
and frogs, which devastated them.
46He gave their crops to the caterpillar
and the fruit of their labor to the locust.
47He killed their vines with hail
and their sycamore fig trees with a flood.
48He handed over their livestock to hail
and their cattle to lightning bolts.
49He sent his burning anger against them:
fury, indignation, and calamity —
a band of deadly messengers.
50He cleared a path for his anger.
He did not spare them from death
but delivered their lives to the plague.
51He struck all the firstborn in Egypt,
the first progeny of the tents of Ham.
52He led his people out like sheep
and guided them like a flock in the wilderness.
53He led them safely, and they were not afraid;
but the sea covered their enemies.
54He brought them to his holy territory,
to the mountain his right hand acquired.
55He drove out nations before them.
He apportioned their inheritance by lot
and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.
56But they rebelliously tested the Most High God,
for they did not keep his decrees.
57They treacherously turned away like their ancestors;
they became warped like a faulty bow.
58They enraged him with their high places
and provoked his jealousy with their carved images.
59God heard and became furious;
he completely rejected Israel.
60He abandoned the tabernacle at Shiloh,
the tent where he resided among mankind.
61He gave up his strength to captivity
and his splendor to the hand of a foe.
62He surrendered his people to the sword
because he was enraged with his heritage.
63Fire consumed his chosen young men,
and his young women had no wedding songs.
64His priests fell by the sword,
and the widows could not lament.
65The Lord awoke as if from sleep,
like a warrior from the effects of wine.
66He beat back his foes;
he gave them lasting disgrace.
67He rejected the tent of Joseph
and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.
68He chose instead the tribe of Judah,
Mount Zion, which he loved.
69He built his sanctuary like the heights,
like the earth that he established forever.
70He chose David his servant
and took him from the sheep pens;
71he brought him from tending ewes
to be shepherd over his people Jacob —
over Israel, his inheritance.
72He shepherded them with a pure heart
and guided them with his skillful hands.