Disloyalty and Disqualification

Scripture: Psalm 78:37-38, ‘their hearts were not loyal to him, they were not faithful to his covenant. Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath.’


Observations: This Psalm is a wisdom Psalm, its purpose is to teach people. It begins ‘hear my teaching. (v1)’ And what it is trying to teach is the lessons God’s people had learned from the past. God had given his people his Law (v5), which they were to pass onto the next generation (v4,6), so that ‘they would put their trust in God, (v7)’ and ‘would not be like their forefathers. (v8)’ In particular he picks on the tribe of Ephraim. He accuses Ephraim of ‘turning back in battle, (v9)’ of ‘not keeping God’s covenant, (v10)’ and forgetting ‘the wonders God had shown them. (v11-16)’ In particular he focuses on how they ‘demanded the food they craved. (v18)’ God provided water form a rock and manna form heaven, but what they really wanted was meat. And even when God provided birds to eat (v23-31), ‘they kept on sinning, they did not believe. (v32)’ The problem with Ephraim was that ‘their hearts were not loyal to God, they were not faithful to his covenant.’ And yet God was merciful. Despite the fact they deserved destruction God did not destroy them. Even though they disobeyed God ‘time after time God restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath.’ However, in the end ‘God did not choose Ephraim, (67)’, instead ‘he chose the tribe of Judah, (v68)’ and ‘he chose David (v70)’ to be king over his people. Because of their disloyalty they were disqualified from leadership.


Application: Like the people of Ephraim, God knows we are ‘but flesh. (v39)’ Like Ephraim we are not loyal to God, we are unfaithful to his covenant. And yet like with Ephraim God is merciful to us, God forgives our iniquities, and he restrains his anger. In fact, God sent his Son, Jesus to die in our place, so that our sins might be dealt with on the cross. In Christ, God no longer holds our sins, our disloyalty and unfaithfulness, against us. However, God also calls us to be faithful and to stop sinning, otherwise he may choose someone else to fulfil his purposes, like he did with Judah and David.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your mercy and Your forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ. Thank You for restraining Your anger against my sin and instead sending Jesus to die in my place. Thank You, that even though I am disloyal and unfaithful, You are gracious and loving. And Lord, may I respond to You in grateful obedience. Lord, I want to be used by You to fulfil Your purposes. May I not be disqualified for the honour of hearing You say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ In Jesus’ name and for His glory I pray. Amen.


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