Summary: God’s People must have the courage to go forward into battle.
A. Psalm 78 is one of two historical psalms (Psa.105)
1. It traces the history of God’s mighty and marvelous deeds on behalf of Israel.
2. It begins with a call to learn from the mistakes they made in the past.
3. Verse 7 especially expresses the main point of this Psalm.
4. This is why we continue to teach the younger generation the Word of God v.4
B. In verses 9-11 the Psalmist cites the example of the tribe of Ephraim
1. Today we will meet the Ghost of Ephraim which is still with us today.
2. We today can so easily fail the Lord just as they once did.
I. SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP: “Children of Ephraim” Cf. Gen.41:52; 48:8-20
A. The tribe of Ephraim were the most important tribe from the time of Joshua/Saul
1. They enjoyed a special relationship with God.
2. With that relationship came a responsibility to be examples to the other tribes
B. As Christians we too enjoy a special relationship with God through Jesus Christ
1. We are His children, and “sons of God” 1 John 3:1-2
“ Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be
called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
2. How do we know we are His children?
3. We possess a new NATURE, have received the HOLY SPIRIT, and when we are chastised by God, we know for sure we are His (I John 3:9-12; Rom.8:15-17; Heb.12:5-8)
4. Three words describe the Blessedness of that relationship: REGENERATION (John 1:12); ADOPTION (Gal.4:5-6); GLORIFICATION (Rom.8:19-21).
II. SUFFICIENT RESOURCES “Equipped with bows”
A. They were soldiers equipped with everything they needed to win the battle
1. They had skill and supplies in abundance
2. They also the power,protection and presence of God to assure their victory
B. We are in a similar situation to them
1. God has given us “all things that pertain to life & godliness” II Pe.1:3
2. We, who are soldiers in God’s army, have been given the whole armor of God
3. Eph.6:10-18 - What more do we need for victory over the forces of darkness?
4. We are armed and ready to go into battle with the Evil One. II Tim.2:4
5. The Christian life is a battlefield, not a playground. God has given us sufficient resources to help defend ourselves against every enemy.
III. SHAMEFUL RETREAT - “they turned back on the day of battle”
A. This is the most tragic part of this story!
1. They failed God, who had been so faithful to Him.
2. Read this whole Psalm and see the goodness and greatness of God
B. Why did Ephraim fail?
1. They failed in their warfare because they failed in their walk
2. That’s where failure starts - in our daily walk with God.
3. God wanted them to walk in His law that He might help them win the battle,but they would not obey Him. They were filled with fear - cowards!
C. It is a shameful thing when God’s people look back instead of going forward
1. Lot’s wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.
2. We must not look back - Lk.9:62. A brave and bold soldier knows only one direction - forward, and he will never retreat in the face of battle.
3. These were unfaithful soldiers, who turned against the law of God and forgotthe works of God!
D. Let’s just quit - are household words today
1. A marriage, job, church etc.
2. Don’t give up - don’t run - stand still and refuse to retreat, and let God help you through difficult times. Don’t let the Ghost of Ephraim ruin your life!
3. We need determination in the face of calamity, hardship, suffering & criticism.
4. Don’t quit - stand firm, and fight the good fight until the finish - II Tim.4:6-8
Heb.10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him”
A. As a Church - let us learn from the tribe of Ephraim. Let us not fail God as they did.
B. As Individual Christians, let us go forward, sharing our faith with others each day that the Lord’s Church might grow here. Phil.3:13 Only one way to go -forward! Ex.14:15
C. If not yet a Christian, pray you will come forward today, confess your faith in Christ and be baptized into Him for the forgiveness of sins. Acts 22:16