Summary: This is a message of encouragement to those who are on the verging of giving up and quitting.
The Ghost of Ephraim
Psalm 78:9 11 -- “The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.” “They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law;” “And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.”
l. INTRODUCTION -- FROM THE LIFE OF DAVID LIVINGSTONE
In a book entitled, “David Livingstone, His Life and Letters,” written by George Seaver, there are a great many illustrations of a man who was so focused that nothing held him from trying to reach Africa with a portion of the Gospel. In his efforts, there were a number of difficulties that he had to overcome.
When one looks at life, there appears to be one great reflection upon this short journey that men take, it is this: Life promises more than it fulfills, it suggests a good which it somehow fails to impart. The pages of history and of biography alike are blurred with the record of lost causes, quenched enthusiasm, unrealized ideals, and frustrated hopes. David Livingstone’s life is no exception from this particular fact.
He was a man who had to endure the hardship of squalid conditions, poor resources, struggles with attacks from wild animals, and even stricken by malaria several times. Yet there was something within Livingstone that refused to quit. Consider some of the entries in his dairy in 1873:
March 19 -- Thanks to the Almighty Preserver of men for sparing me thus far on the journey of life. Can I hope for ultimate success? So many obstacles have arisen. Let not Satan prevail over me, Oh! My good Lord Jesus! Nothing earthly will make me give up my work in despair. I encourage myself in the Lord my God and go forward.
April 10 -- I am pale, bloodless, and weak from bleeding profusely ever since the 31st of March; an artery gives off a copious stream, and takes away my strength. Oh, how I long to be permitted by the Over Power to finish my work.
April 12 -- Great loss of blood made me so weak I could hardly walk, but tottered along nearly two hours and then lay down quite done. Cooked coffee-our last- and went on, but in an hour I was compelled to lie down. Very unwilling to be carried, but on being pressed I allowed the men to help me along by relays to Chinama, where there is much cultivation.
Livingstone later died on April 29, 1873, have spent his whole energies on a focused task of accomplishing what he felt that God had called him to do. His life was full of deterrents and even detours but the purposes of God found their mark in his heart. He never turned back in the face of difficulty.
ll. PSALM 78
A. Background of Ephraim
-The heading of Psalm 78 informs us that it is a maschil. This is a particular psalm that is designed for instruction and for understanding. The other psalms that are maschil are: 32, 42, 45, 52, 53, 54, 55, 74, 88, 89, and 142.
-The text of Psalm 78 informs us that the children of Ephraim, being armed turned back in the day of battle. They were the descendants of Ephraim.
-Ephraim was the youngest son of Joseph who was born to him in the land of Egypt. The meaning of his name is full of promise. It means “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Gen. 41:52).
-When it came time for Jacob to die and he began to bless all of his children, he mistakenly conveyed a blessing to Ephraim, the youngest son, instead of Manasseh who was the eldest son of Joseph. It was a similar situation to when Jacob deceived Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau.
-Yet one must always understand that a strong past does not always provide for a secure future. One of the great dangers in my own life and in yours also is trying to live on yesterday’s blessings, on yesterday’s commitments, and on yesterday’s memories.
-The tribe of Ephraim was a valuable tribe to the nation of Israel. The tribe of Ephraim was one of the leading tribes from the appointment of Joshua to succeed Moses until the establishment of Saul as the king.
-During the Exodus, Ephraim was located on the west side of the Tabernacle, which would have been toward the rear wall of the Tabernacle. After the establishment of Canaan, the children of Ephraim had the most ideal location for their homeland.
-As a tribe they were very rich and along with this they were very adept in their military skills. Ephraim had a great heritage in its geographical relationship with God. It was here that Shiloh and Shechem were located. At Shiloh, the sanctuary of Israel was located in the tribe of Ephraim. Shechem was important because of the heritage that was associated with Abraham’s altars and with Jacob’s nearby wrestlings with the Lord.