Psalm 78

Wisdom / God and the Nations (Asaph)

            In God’s Way is Wisdom

            1 Listen, O my people, to my instruction;

            Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

·         “It is awful to think how many parents, by their negligence and wickedness, become the murderers of the souls of their children.” (Scott)

·         Sin must be a horrible thing.

·         Men’s persistency in sin is inscrutable. We read the history of the Israelites and we marvel. We honestly look at our own history and we see the same record of ingratitude and perverseness, and we are confounded.

·         In all ages the parent sin of men has been unbelief. . . . Doubting any perfection of God is tantamount to robbing him of his glory.

·         The greater the gift, the greater is the sin of lightly esteeming it.

·         Every dispensation of God’s providence, whether prosperous or adverse, is suited more or less to show what is in us.

·         “Thus it is with us in spirituals. We should be better pleased, perhaps, to be set up with a stock or sufficiency at once, such an inherent portion of wisdom and power, as we might depend upon, at least for common occasions, without being constrained, but a sense of indigence, to have continual recourse to the Lord for everything we want. But his way is best.” (Newton, commenting on the humbling effect of day to day dependence on manna)

·         Our desires for particular forms of temporal good things should be very moderate. We know not that they will prove blessings. They may turn out to be curses. . . . With God’s blessing an affliction is a mercy. Without his blessing any good thing is a curse.

·         The history of every people shows the absolute necessity of divine grace to change the heart and purify the life. For help and strength from God there is no substitute. If mercies and wonders without number are sent on men, without the grace of God’s Spirit, the record will ever be, for all this they sinned still.

·         How careful then ought all to be not to quench, resist, grieve or vex that blessed agent, the author of all piety in men.

·         It is for an unspeakable joy that God employs his infinite knowledge in tenderly considering our frailty, our liability to err, our natural weakness, and the shortness and uncertainty of our lives. He pities us, not because we deserve pity, but because he loves to show mercy to such as need and seek it.

·         The human heart is very deceitful. It promises well, and performs ill. It is deceitful above all things. If God were not omniscient, it would deceive him. It often deceives our neighbor. It more frequently deceives ourselves.

·         In all ages God has set but little store by the externals of religion compared with the estimate in which he has held vital piety.

·         A very precious vessel was the ark of the covenant! . . . Yet when his chosen people rebelled against God, and forgot the true source of their safety, he gave up the ark to their bitterest foes.