Study Guide – Psalm 78:23-39

Psalm78-23-39

23 But he commanded the skies to open;
he opened the doors of heaven.
24 He rained down manna for them to eat;
he gave them bread from heaven.
25 They ate the food of angels!
God gave them all they could hold.
26 He released the east wind in the heavens
and guided the south wind by his mighty power.
27 He rained down meat as thick as dust—
birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore!
28 He caused the birds to fall within their camp
and all around their tents.
29 The people ate their fill.
He gave them what they craved.
30 But before they satisfied their craving,
while the meat was yet in their mouths,
31 the anger of God rose against them,
and he killed their strongest men.
He struck down the finest of Israel’s young men.

32 But in spite of this, the people kept sinning.
Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him.
33 So he ended their lives in failure,
their years in terror.
34 When God began killing them,
they finally sought him.
They repented and took God seriously.
35 Then they remembered that God was their rock,
that God Most High[b] was their redeemer.
36 But all they gave him was lip service;
they lied to him with their tongues.
37 Their hearts were not loyal to him.
They did not keep his covenant.
38 Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins
and did not destroy them all.
Many times he held back his anger
and did not unleash his fury!
39 For he remembered that they were merely mortal,
gone like a breath of wind that never returns. NLT

 

Background: The speaker of this psalm is determined to help the next generations avoid the reckless faith of prior generations. Verses 1-7 share a long-term conviction that the truths of God must be shared with the next generations so that they can share them with future generations who aren’t yet even born. Verse 8, then, serves as a measure marker for the stories that will be told throughout the rest of the chapter: These difficult stories are told so that future generations will avoid falling away from the Lord.

 

With this in mind, read verses 23-29. Describe what the Lord had done for the people of Israel.

 

Read verses 30-32. Describe how God’s own people rebelled against him.

 

Read verses 33-35. Describe the outcome of the people’s rebellious actions.

 

Read verses 36-39. Describe what the speaker of this psalm then reveals about the actions of God’s people and the actions of the Lord.

 

::::: DIGGING DEEPER :::::

If you have time, read the stories of Exodus to familiarize yourself with the actions of God and the people of Israel.

 

::::: APPLICATION CHALLENGE :::::

How does hearing this specific story encourage people to continue to follow the Lord?

Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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