56 But they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High.
They did not obey his laws.
57 They turned back and were as faithless as their parents.
They were as undependable as a crooked bow.
58 They angered God by building shrines to other gods;
they made him jealous with their idols.
59 When God heard them, he was very angry,
and he completely rejected Israel.
60 Then he abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh,
the Tabernacle where he had lived among the people.
61 He allowed the Ark of his might to be captured;
he surrendered his glory into enemy hands.
62 He gave his people over to be butchered by the sword,
because he was so angry with his own people—his special possession.
63 Their young men were killed by fire;
their young women died before singing their wedding songs.
64 Their priests were slaughtered,
and their widows could not mourn their deaths.
65 Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep,
like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor.
66 He routed his enemies
and sent them to eternal shame.
67 But he rejected Joseph’s descendants;
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.
68 He chose instead the tribe of Judah,
and Mount Zion, which he loved.
69 There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens,
as solid and enduring as the earth.
70 He chose his servant David,
calling him from the sheep pens.
71 He took David from tending the ewes and lambs
and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants—
God’s own people, Israel.
72 He cared for them with a true heart
and led them with skillful hands. 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 56-58. Describe how God’s own people rebelled against him.
Read verses 59-64. Describe how the Lord responded.
How does a story like this put us in our place?
Read verses 65-67. The stories that have been told have specifically focused on the tribe of Ephraim.
Read verses 68-72. What good plan did the Lord put in place as a result of Ephraim’s rebellion? What does this teach you about the Lord’s character?
::::: DIGGING DEEPER :::::
Ephraim was the second son of Joseph, but was blessed by Jacob as if he were the firstborn (Genesis 48). As a result, much was expected of his descendants. If you have time, read the stories of Exodus and Joshua involving the tribe of Ephraim to familiarize yourself with the actions of God and the people of Israel.
::::: APPLICATION CHALLENGE :::::
Why is it important to tell the next generation the stories of the Bible?