Easy Play Psalm 78

Geneva, 1551


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Psalm 78

2014 BOOK OF PRAISE OF THE CANADIAN REFORMED CHURCHES

1. Give ear, my people, listen as I teach you
and let the words of my instruction reach you.
The wisdom that on God’s decrees is founded
will be to you in parables expounded.
Their hidden truths I will for you unfold –
the things our fathers taught us from of old.

2. These we’ll pass on, not from their children hide them,
that those accounts of bygone days may guide them,
and we will tell the coming generation
how God has dealt with Israel, his nation –
the wondrous works the LORD for them has done,
the glory that his mighty hand has won.

3. To Israel he gave his revelation,
his law as Jacob’s ever-firm foundation,
and all our fathers he, the LORD, commanded
to make it known to those from them descended,
that also they might pass it on in turn
and teach his law to children not yet born.

4. Then they would put their trust in God their Saviour
and not forget his deeds of love and favour,
nor come to share their fathers’ condemnation,
that stubborn and rebellious generation
whose spirits were not faithful to the LORD,
by whom God was rejected and ignored.

5. The Ephraimites with bows for war assembled,
yet they in battle all turned back and trembled.
They did not keep God’s covenant but denied him,
despised his law and shamelessly defied him,
forgot what he had done for them alone,
the miracles that he to them had shown.

6. God worked great marvels, and their fathers saw them;
in Egypt’s land, in Zoän, wonders awed them.
There he the waves for Israel divided
and through the sea his chosen people guided.
He made the water stand up like a heap;
his mighty hand restrained the roaring deep.

7. By day he gave a cloud to lead and guide them;
with fiery light did he all night provide them.
Drink as abundant as the seas he gave them;
he split the rocks, and springs welled up to save them.
From barren crags he made fresh fountains burst,
and rivers flowed to quench his people’s thirst.

8. God in the desert gave them his protection,
yet they rebelled; his mercy met rejection.
In sin and disobedience they persisted,
and God Most High they boldly tried and tested.
In stubborn pride, defiantly they raved,
demanding from his hand the food they craved.

9. They slighted God and said,“Will he be able
to spread us in the wilderness a table?
He struck the rock, we saw the fountains gushing
and streams of water through the desert rushing,
but can he also give his people bread
and bring us meat so that we will be fed?”

10. Therefore the LORD, who heard their provocation,
was full of wrath against his chosen nation.
His fiery rage against all Israel mounted;
his anger rose, for never they recounted
what he had done to help them in their plight;
they did not trust his saving power and might.

11. Yet to the skies God’s orders then were given;
he opened wide the very doors of heaven.
God showed his mercy, Israel sustaining
with plenteous manna down upon them raining.
The food of angels gave he them for bread,
and with the grain of heaven they were fed.

12. The east wind he called up from heaven’s borders,
led forth the south wind to obey his orders,
and on their wings they brought what God had given,
for quails, like dust that by a storm is driven,
rained down upon them from the darkened sky;
then they had meat in plentiful supply.

13. They ate and were well filled with what they wanted;
what they had craved, that he had freely granted.
They gorged themselves, and while they celebrated,
with food still in their mouth and greed unsated,
God’s anger rose against them, and they died;
he slew their strongest men, their flower and pride.

14. But still they sinned and did not cease to grieve him;
despite his wonders they would not believe him.
Their days he ended, and like fog they vanished;
with sudden death and terror they were punished.
But when he slew them, they would once again
return to him, repenting of their sin.

15. Then they remembered God, their Rock and Saviour,
the Most High God who with redeeming favour
had brought them from the land that had enslaved them.
They flattered him, yet thought that he would save them.
Though with their lips they might fine words express,
they scorned his covenant in their faithlessness.

16. Yet he in pity and in lovingkindness
forgave them their iniquity and blindness,
did not destroy them when his wrath was burning,
but he restrained the anger they kept earning,
remembering that they were but mortal men,
a passing breeze that will not come again.

17. How often they would all rebel and leave him!
How often they would in the desert grieve him!
They kept on testing him, his love denying,
the Holy One of Israel defying,
and they forgot the glorious day when he
redeemed his people from their enemy.

18. Through wondrous deeds he Israel delivered;
he turned to blood all Egypt’s mighty rivers.
By swarms of flies its people were tormented,
and with a plague of frogs they were confronted.
Their crops he to the hungry locust gave;
their fields were left with nothing they could save.

19. With hail and sleet their vines and trees he shattered;
their cattle he with bolts of lightning scattered.
He loosed on them his wrath and indignation,
brought them distress and widespread devastation.
Destroying angels he among them sent,
who brought great ruin everywhere they went.

20. Free rein he gave to his consuming anger;
from death he did not spare them any longer
but gave them up to plague and devastation.
He in the tents of Ham brought desolation;
their firstborn he struck down, and they all died –
their eldest sons, all Egypt’s joy and pride.

21. Then like a shepherd he his people guided,
and in the desert they in him confided.
He led his flock, and without fear they followed,
for all their foes the raging sea had swallowed.
Thus to his holy land he brought his own,
to hills and dales which his right hand had won.

22. Before them he drove out the heathen nations,
apportioned to the tribes their habitations,
and in their tents they safely found a dwelling.
Yet they, against the Most High God rebelling,
cast off his laws and him no longer served,
and, like their fathers, from his ways they swerved.

23. They like a faulty bow, all warped and twisting,
provoked God’s anger when, in sin persisting,
they with their heathen worship made him jealous;
in serving worthless idols they were zealous.
Great was God’s wrath when he saw them rebel.
He utterly rejected Israel.

24. From Shiloh’s tent, his dwelling, he departed,
forsook those who were faithless and false-hearted.
He to the clutches of the foe surrendered
his holy ark, the symbol of his splendour.
In anger that his word had been ignored,
he gave his people over to the sword.

25. Their young men were consumed as flames drew near them;
their maidens had no wedding songs to cheer them.
Their priests fell by the sword of heathen nations;
their widows could not voice their lamentations.
The land was ravaged by the godless foe,
and all endured great misery and woe.

26. He then turned back to those he had forsaken;
as from deep slumber did the LORD awaken,
just like a warrior who with wine is heated.
He struck his foes until they all retreated,
and as they fled, he at their backs took aim;
he put them all to everlasting shame.

27. The tents of Joseph’s offspring he rejected,
nor was his house in Ephraïm erected.
But he chose Judah’s tribe in his good pleasure –
Mount Zion, which he loved, his pride and treasure.
He built his temple like the heavenly heights,
firm like the earth, enduring by his might.

28. He chose his servant David, and he crowned him;
he took him from the sheepfolds where he found him.
From tending ewes and newborn lambs he brought him;
to make him Jacob’s shepherd, God had sought him.
And David led his flock with skilful hand;
with upright heart he governed all the land.

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© Copyright 2014 by the Standing Committee for the Publication of the Book of Praise of the Canadian Reformed Churches

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