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. (Psalm 78:1–3)
There is a story we should be telling. It's about a people who forget an unforgettable God. This forgetfulness encourages them to ignore his patience and provision. It enables them to dismiss his miracles. The story is captivating because of God's power, but it's dreadful because of man's sin.
I picture a Sunday school class full of kids sitting cross-legged, leaning forward, eyebrows arched. The flannel graph has been abandoned and it's just a teacher telling her students something true.
In Psalm 78, Asaph tells us he will "utter dark sayings from of old" (v. 2). He won't hide these stories from children, because God didn't (vv. 5–8). The story turns out to be familiar, but the purpose is clear: we share it so our children won't forget the works of God (v. 7).
And by watching Israel in some of her grittiest moments of unfaithfulness, we gain insight into our own complex relationship with sin.
The Miracles We Forgot
The psalmist mentions some of the most famous stories in Israel's history — the ten plagues (v. 12), the parting of the Red Sea (v. 13), and water from desert rocks (vv. 15–16). Yet somehow, incredibly, these are the very miracles God s people forget (vv. 9–11).