Ps. 78:1-72; 81:1-83:18
We need to know history. It has been said that those who forget history are apt to relive it. The psalmist devoted a long discourse on the history of God’s people, Israel.
Before beginning his review of Israel’s journey, the writer reminded them of the importance of teaching God’s law to their children; that they might also teach their children. He started his review with their deliverance from bondage in Egypt. The psalmist reminded them of their complaints in the wilderness and of God’s care for them by providing water, manna and meat. He also wrote of God’s displeasure with their lack of faith and how that they had been punished by spending forty years in futility and fear. Punishment would bring Israel back to God and in His compassion, He would forgive them. BUT their repentance would be short-lived as they would forget Him again. He reviewed the plagues brought against the Egyptians and the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea.
Even as God led His children like sheep into the promised land, they continued to rebel. They erected unauthorized places of worship and turned to idols instead of the Living God. David was then chosen to lead the children of Israel. Even in all of their rebellion, God continued to mercifully forgive them when they repented.
The psalmist began a poem with a call to worship the God of Jacob. That call was followed by a narrative from God relating His care for Israel when they had called in trouble and their later rejection of that care. God allowed them to make their own decisions and they chose to ignore His voice. He ended with a lament from God for the blessings that His people had missed because of their unfaithfulness.
Earthly judges are human with human weaknesses. Many times in the case of those judges, they were unjust; taking bribes and abusing the poor and helpless. The psalmist pointed those injustices out and called for God to judge the earth, for His judgment is righteous.
Many times, Israel’s enemies had called for their destruction as a nation and God had protected them. The psalmist again called for God’s justice and protection from those who were also His enemies. He listed several nations who had previously fought against them and included Assyria who had joined with them. The prayer to God was for Him to deal with them as He had done before and perhaps, they would seek His name.