Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 44

Catch-Up Day (Psalms 78–80)

Bible text(s)

God and his People

1Listen, my people, to my teaching,

and pay attention to what I say.

2I am going to use wise sayings

and explain mysteries from the past,

3things we have heard and known,

things that our ancestors told us.

4We will not keep them from our children;

we will tell the next generation

about the LORD's power and his great deeds

and the wonderful things he has done.

5He gave laws to the people of Israel

and commandments to the descendants of Jacob.

He instructed our ancestors

to teach his laws to their children,

6so that the next generation might learn them

and in turn should tell their children.

7In this way they also would put their trust in God

and not forget what he has done,

but always obey his commandments.

8They would not be like their ancestors,

a rebellious and disobedient people,

whose trust in God was never firm

and who did not remain faithful to him.

9The Ephraimites, armed with bows and arrows,

ran away on the day of battle.

10They did not keep their covenant with God;

they refused to obey his law.

11They forgot what he had done,

the miracles they had seen him perform.

12While their ancestors watched, God performed miracles

in the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.

13He divided the sea and took them through it;

he made the waters stand like walls.

14By day he led them with a cloud

and all night long with the light of a fire.

15He split rocks open in the desert

and gave them water from the depths.

16He caused a stream to come out of the rock

and made water flow like a river.

17But they continued to sin against God,

and in the desert they rebelled against the Most High.

18They deliberately put God to the test

by demanding the food they wanted.

19They spoke against God and said,

“Can God supply food in the desert?

20It is true that he struck the rock,

and water flowed out in a torrent;

but can he also provide us with bread

and give his people meat?”

21And so the LORD was angry when he heard them;

he attacked his people with fire,

and his anger against them grew,

22because they had no faith in him

and did not believe that he would save them.

23But he spoke to the sky above

and commanded its doors to open;

24he gave them grain from heaven,

by sending down manna for them to eat.

25So they ate the food of angels,

and God gave them all they wanted.

26He also caused the east wind to blow,

and by his power he stirred up the south wind;

27and to his people he sent down birds,

as many as the grains of sand on the shore;

28they fell in the middle of the camp

all round the tents.

29So the people ate and were satisfied;

God gave them what they wanted.

30But they had not yet satisfied their craving

and were still eating,

31when God became angry with them

and killed their strongest men,

the best young men of Israel.

32In spite of all this the people kept sinning;

in spite of his miracles they did not trust him.

33So he ended their days like a breath

and their lives with sudden disaster.

34Whenever he killed some of them,

the rest would turn to him;

they would repent and pray earnestly to him.

35They remembered that God was their protector,

that the Almighty came to their aid.

36But their words were all lies;

nothing they said was sincere.

37They were not loyal to him;

they were not faithful to their covenant with him.

38But God was merciful to his people.

He forgave their sin

and did not destroy them.

Many times he held back his anger

and restrained his fury.

39He remembered that they were only mortal beings,

like a wind that blows by and is gone.

40How often they rebelled against him in the desert;

how many times they made him sad!

41Again and again they put God to the test

and brought pain to the Holy God of Israel.

42They forgot his great power

and the day when he saved them from their enemies

43and performed his mighty acts and miracles

in the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.

44He turned the rivers into blood,

and the Egyptians had no water to drink.

45He sent flies among them, that tormented them,

and frogs that ruined their land.

46He sent locusts to eat their crops

and to destroy their fields.

47He killed their grapevines with hail

and their fig trees with frost.

48He killed their cattle with hail

and their flocks with lightning.

49He caused them great distress

by pouring out his anger and fierce rage,

which came as messengers of death.

50He did not restrain his anger

or spare their lives,

but killed them with a plague.

51He killed the firstborn sons

of all the families of Egypt.

52Then he led his people out like a shepherd

and guided them through the desert.

53He led them safely, and they were not afraid;

but the sea came rolling over their enemies.

54He brought them to his holy land,

to the mountains which he himself conquered.

55He drove out the inhabitants as his people advanced;

he divided their land among the tribes of Israel

and gave their homes to his people.

56But they rebelled against Almighty God

and put him to the test.

They did not obey his commandments,

57but were rebellious and disloyal like their ancestors,

unreliable as a crooked arrow.

58They angered him with their heathen places of worship,

and with their idols they made him furious.

59God was angry when he saw it,

so he rejected his people completely.

60He abandoned his tent in Shiloh,

the home where he had lived among us.

61He allowed our enemies to capture the Covenant Box,

the symbol of his power and glory.

62He was angry with his own people

and let them be killed by their enemies.

63Young men were killed in war,

and young women had no one to marry.

64Priests died by violence,

and their widows were not allowed to mourn.

65At last the Lord woke up as though from sleep;

he was like a strong man excited by wine.

66He drove his enemies back

in lasting and shameful defeat.

67But he rejected the descendants of Joseph;

he did not select the tribe of Ephraim.

68Instead he chose the tribe of Judah

and Mount Zion, which he dearly loves.

69There he built his Temple

like his home in heaven;

he made it firm like the earth itself,

secure for all time.

70He chose his servant David;

he took him from the pastures,

71where he looked after his flocks,

and he made him king of Israel,

the shepherd of the people of God.

72David took care of them with unselfish devotion

and led them with skill.

A Prayer for the Nation's Deliverance

1O God, the heathen have invaded your land.

They have desecrated your holy Temple

and left Jerusalem in ruins.

2They left the bodies of your people for the vultures,

the bodies of your servants for wild animals to eat.

3They shed your people's blood like water;

blood flowed like water all through Jerusalem,

and no one was left to bury the dead.

4The surrounding nations insult us;

they laugh at us and mock us.

5LORD, will you be angry with us for ever?

Will your anger continue to burn like fire?

6Turn your anger on the nations that do not worship you,

on the people who do not pray to you.

7For they have killed your people;

they have ruined your country.

8Do not punish us for the sins of our ancestors.

Have mercy on us now;

we have lost all hope.

9Help us, O God, and save us;

rescue us and forgive our sins

for the sake of your own honour.

10Why should the nations ask us,

“Where is your God?”

Let us see you punish the nations

for shedding the blood of your servants.

11Listen to the groans of the prisoners,

and by your great power free those who are condemned to die.

12Lord, pay the other nations back seven times

for all the insults they have hurled at you.

13Then we, your people, the sheep of your flock,

will thank you for ever

and praise you for all time to come.

A Prayer for the Nation's Restoration

1Listen to us, O Shepherd of Israel;

hear us, leader of your flock.

Seated on your throne above the winged creatures,

2reveal yourself to the tribes of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.

Show us your strength;

come and save us!

3Bring us back, O God!

Show us your mercy, and we will be saved!

4How much longer, LORD God Almighty,

will you be angry with your people's prayers?

5You have given us sorrow to eat,

a large cup of tears to drink.

6You let the surrounding nations fight over our land;

our enemies insult us.

7Bring us back, Almighty God!

Show us your mercy, and we will be saved!

8You brought a grapevine out of Egypt;

you drove out other nations and planted it in their land.

9You cleared a place for it to grow;

its roots went deep, and it spread out over the whole land.

10It covered the hills with its shade;

its branches overshadowed the giant cedars.

11It extended its branches to the Mediterranean Sea

and as far as the River Euphrates.

12Why did you break down the fences round it?

Now anyone passing by can steal its grapes;

13wild pigs trample it down,

and wild animals feed on it.

14Turn to us, Almighty God!

Look down from heaven at us;

come and save your people!

15Come and save this grapevine that you planted,

this young vine you made grow so strong!

16Our enemies have set it on fire and cut it down;

look at them in anger and destroy them!

17Preserve and protect the people you have chosen,

the nation you made so strong.

18We will never turn away from you again;

keep us alive, and we will praise you.

19Bring us back, LORD God Almighty.

Show us your mercy, and we will be saved.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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