Most children love to hear stories. They love them so much, in fact, that they often ask to have the same ones repeated..over, and over, and over, and….well, you get my drift here! Some stories get such a following that you only need say the title and the parents can probably repeat the story by hear. (Although it has been some time, I would guess that I could quote ‘Goodnight Moon’, and ‘The Three Bears’ in my sleep!)
God is smart enough to know that repetition of important words and deeds help people remember. That is why we see even those unbelievers who are familiar with His mighty works in repeating such deeds as David and Goliath, or the Ten Commandments.
Oral histories are important in most cultures and the elders who tell them usually tend to hand them down to succeeding generations. It is by this means that many can hear their history–even if it many of their ancestors couldn’t read or write.
Most of the Psalms are attributed to David, but there are some that have been recorded as coming from another source. In Psalm 78 we have a ‘Maschil of Asaph’. Since Maschil means ‘instruction’, what we are being given is a type of ‘instructional history’ written by Asaph.
Psalm 78:1-8-Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old; Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.
Set not their heart aright.
Here is an instruction and a warning. We are to memorize and utilize God’s law which He has handed down. We, the generations that follow, know what He has done for us, and also allowed to happen when we ignore His word. He knows that humans are a stubborn and rebellious people who think that we ‘know it all’ and can ‘do it all’ without His help.
His hope is that by setting down these stories we will be reminded of what has gone before us and learn from the mistakes of those who refused to honor and listen to God.
Just as we know that the small bowl, chair, and bed, will be, “just right’ for Goldilocks, Christians should review the stories of God written in Scripture in hope that we may gain instructions on how to keep from making the mistakes of our ancestors.
We will fail at times…but by reading the reminders in the Bible we often make the roadblocks we undergo in life much lighter! Reading the Bible as your ‘bedtime story’ is a great way to keep your feet on a smooth path…