Summary: Let us resolve that we will not hide the sayings from of old in the Scriptures; rather, we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. Let us make known the faithfulness of the Lord.
Psalm 78:1-8 We Will Not Hide Them
1/1/06 D. Marion Clark
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. I will not hide them from our children, but on this first day of the year will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
The Deeds of the Lord
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created all that exists. He created the Milky Way solar system with its 200 billion stars; he created all of the billions of galaxies that exist. God created the mountains that soar thousands of feet high and cover nearly a quarter of the earth; he created the oceans and seas that cover over two-thirds of the earth and are as deep as the mountains are high. God created all that we see and do not see. He created atoms and protons and electrons. He created the millions of microbes that are on your hands. God created all the animals, all the plants, everything that has life. And he created creation out of nothing. He called creation into being and set it into motion so that creation expands and shrinks and changes in uncountable ways. And so we have lightening and erupting volcanoes, hurricanes and meteor showers, seasons and stars that move in precision. We have decay and birth. Are these not glorious deeds and wonders of the Creator Lord that he has performed in his might? Such deeds have been told from of old in the Scriptures and revealed in creation itself, so that mankind may look, may examine, explore, and subject to tests and find the greatness of God ever more awe inspiring.
But there is more. For there are the wondrous deeds of God as he providentially guides creation and human history. It is God who “sits above the circle of the earth…who brings out the hosts of stars by name.” It is God who provides grass for the livestock to eat and plants for man to cultivate; it is God who provides springs and rivers for drink. God guides the courses of stars, meteors, and comets. God protects both the mother and the unborn child and brings labor at the right time. Such things we are taught by the ancient Scriptures and such things we may examine for ourselves and grow in wonder as we discover the complexities and precise balances of molecules and systems by which God preserves and moves forward his creation. Surely he is a God of wondrous deeds.
But God providentially guides the activities of man. He raises and removes rulers; he even controls their decisions, even using their evil intent to bring about his good will. God numbers our days so that we all live according to the time he has set. No one goes through life alone but that God is there with him guiding his steps. Again, the ancient Scriptures teach us these things, and again we can observe their reality. Historians marvel at the rise and fall of civilizations and at the complex movement of forces both great and seemingly trivial which lead to unlooked for consequences. And how many of us can look back over our lives, marveling at the unexpected twists and turns that have made us what we are. Truly the Lord is a God of wondrous deeds that nothing and no one is too great or too small to glorify him; no event is too momentous or too trivial for him to use for his glory.
But there is more. For there are the wondrous deeds of God as Judge. For as much as we may point to injustice and evil in the world, the truly great marvel is that good so often prevails. And it prevails because God is the judge who visits his judgment against the wicked. Let the Jewish people be the great example. For time and again nations have sought to not only defeat them, but eliminate them altogether, and yet those same nations and rulers have received the judgment they planned to execute on the Jews. We note that what is good never seems to last, but such an observation is more true for what is wicked, for no wicked regime lasts and the wicked are more likely to meet untimely death than the good. These truths we are taught by the ancient Scriptures and born out by history. Truly God has performed wondrous deeds of judgment.
But there is more. Indeed, the greatest deeds have yet to be recalled, the deeds of redemption. The ancient Scriptures tell us of such deeds in dark sayings from the first moments of the fall of man. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). From that time on we are told of God’s acts of redemption, how mankind was redeemed from the flood; how God called forth Abram to become Abraham, the father of a multitude of nations; how he redeemed Abraham’s descendents from famine, then from oppression in Egypt, then from the wilderness, and time and time again from enemies seeking their destruction. There are stories of how God redeemed individuals from their sins like Samson, David, and the wicked king Manasseh. There are stories of God raising up delivers to redeem his people from threats, oppression, and bondage – men and women like Moses, Joshua, Deborah, David, and Esther. There is the great redemption of the Jewish people told again and again which this psalm recites. Listen.