Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Psalm 78:12-20

There is a children’s book titled “More, More, More, said the Baby.” Like the baby in the book, the Israelites were never satisfied with God’s provision. They doubted and did not trust Him to take care of them.

Psalm 78:12 Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.

Susie: Even while the Israelites were still in captivity in Egypt, the Lord performed miracles through Moses and Aaron. He sent the plagues to cause Pharaoh to allow His people to leave. He protected His own people from each of the plagues.

Psalm 78:13 He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.

Susan: When the Israelites had traveled as far as the Red Sea, they thought this was the end. They thought their fate would be to be overrun by Pharaoh’s army. They were completely perplexed and overwhelmed. As they saw the army closing in on them, with their backs to the Red Sea, they cried out in fright:

Exodus 14:11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?

Susie: Then what did God do right before their eyes?

Susan: God blew a boisterous wind and the waves became dynamic walls of water on either side as they marched forward safely on a completely dry freeway.

Exodus 14:21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

Susie: Keep in mind that over two million people were following Moses through this sea! The rest of the story is that once God’s people had crossed, the Egyptian army followed them. As the horses, chariots, and infantrymen entered the Red Sea. . .

Susan: God used the walls of water as a deluge crashing down upon them to swallow them up! Pharaoh’s army was in opposition to God and His people, so He destroyed them.

Psalm 78:14 In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.

Susie: This phenomenon of the Lord’s presence is recorded in Exodus.

Exodus 13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

Susan: Some scholars interpret this to be the Shekinah glory of God. I concur.

Susie: At the beginning of the story in Exodus, God had appeared to Moses in burning bush that was not consumed by the flames.

Psalm 78:15 He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths. 16 He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.

Susie: Twice when His people complained to Moses that there was no water source or that the only source was bitter, the Lord instructed Moses to bring water directly out of a rock! Since this water was to quench the thirst of about two million people AND their cattle, I doubt this was a mere trickle.

Susan: According to the notes in the John MacArthur Study Bible, “Rock (petra) refers to a massive cliff, not simply a large stone or boulder, signifying the pre-incarnate Messiah (Christ), who protected and sustained His people.”

1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Susie: To take care of the entire entourage accompanying Moses, the Lord must have provided a river of water flowing from that rocky cliff.

Susan: According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit flows through us like a river:

John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Psalm 78:17 And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness. 18 And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. 19 Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? 20 Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?

Susan: The children of Israel were never satisfied. Their desire for miracles or a magic show was insatiable. It was greater than their desire for their Maker.

Susie: This makes me think of something the Apostle Paul said.

Philippians 3:18-19 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

Susie: The Israelites were constantly testing God with a new demand and doubting His ability to provide for and sustain them.

Susan: The Israelites were like stubborn toddlers throwing a tantrum to get their way.

Susie: In light of all God had already done for them, they should have had more confidence in Him. Their doubting and demanding got them attention, but not the kind they desired. We will see the Lord’s response to their behavior in the next segment.


1.   What miracles are recounted in this passage?

2.   Imagine what it would be like to walk through two walls of water. Would you be frightened? Why or why not?

3.   Have you ever thought about how much water would be necessary for an entire nation traveling on foot? Do you think the Israelites had an adequate appreciation for all that the Lord did through Moses? Explain.

4.   Has the Lord ever shown Himself mighty, maybe even miraculous, in your own life? Describe the incident below.

5.   Have you told your children or someone you are mentoring about the powerful things God has done in your life? Write about an example of God’s work in your life as if you were telling it to a child.

6.   Israel witnessed many miracles and still doubted and complained. Are we guilty of failing to appreciate all the Lord has given us? Write a prayer of thanksgiving naming specific the things the Lord has done for you.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

PSALM 78:1-11 - Pass Down the Heirlooms, the Jewels of HIS-story

Psalm 78
A Psalm of Asaph

According to 1 Chronicles 16:5, Asaph was the chief of the singers. We also read in that chapter that he was a “recorder” to whom David gave his psalms to be preserved, think secretary or perhaps even an arranger of the music. We know that Asaph played the cymbals, so he was a percussionist. He was a composer of many of the Psalms himself.

Psalm 78 was a didactic (teaching) hymn for the purpose of instructing the children in the history of the nation of Israel. It begins with an exhortation for parents to teach the history of God’s relationship with His people Israel to the future generations. The hope was that they would learn from the mistakes of their ancestors during the Exodus. The intent was that they would understand that obedience is better than sacrifice.

Psalm 78:1-11
Pass Down the Heirlooms,
The Jewels of HISstory

Psalm 78:1 Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

Susan: The Lord is using Asaph as His megaphone to prophesy to His beloved Israel.

Susie: This Psalm recounts the highlights of Israel’s history from the time God delivered them from slavery in Egypt until the time of King David. Asaph begins with a call to listen to God’s law.

Susan: The Law encompasses not the Ten Commandments alone, but the instruction found in the entire Pentateuch, which is comprised of the five books from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

Susie: The people are instructed to “incline their ears,” in other words, to listen intently to what the psalmist has to say.

Susan: To me, this means to lean into, to hang on every word.

Psalm 78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

Susan: In this case, the word parable refers to oral teaching of authentic, historical facts of the nation of Israel.

Susie: Even though the psalm is historically accurate, it is a parable because he is recounting it in story or poetic form.

Susan: Nor is this account is not strictly chronological.

Susie: What is meant by “dark sayings?”

Susan: A dark saying is something not easily understood. The word for dark is defined as follows in The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible:

2420 chîydâh – from 2330; a puzzle, hence, a trick, conundrum, sententious maxim: — dark saying (sentence, speech), a hard question, proverb, riddle.

Psalm 78:3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.

Susie: The history of Israel was passed on orally from generation to generation in each family as Moses had instructed them:

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;

Psalm 78:4 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.

Susan: Asaph is saying they need to be faithful and consistent in this process of instructing future generations in the sovereignty of God as demonstrated in the history of the nation of Israel.

Susie: They were to tell of God’s power and to praise Him, but as we will see, they were to be honest about the Israelites’ own shortcomings.

Psalm 78:5 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:

Susan: God commanded that the history of His gracious dealings with Israel should be heralded and passed down from generation to generation.

Susie: Remember, this was in an age when the printing press was not yet invented. There was not a “Bible” in every house. The priests had the scrolls, and much later they would be copied by scribes to be in the synagogues, but families did not own their own copy of the law. Therefore, the teachings, the commandments, and the history of Israel had to be verbally taught to children.

Susan: Each generation was accountable to share the word of God with the next for its understanding and obedience.

Susie: Since the Psalms were Israel’s hymnal, this psalm was most likely taught to the children as a song or chant. This would make it easier to memorize and pass down to their children. This is the reason, the music teacher at Glenview Christian School and I took the time to set all of the second-grade memory verses to music. That way they could memorize six-verse passages!

Susan: Truths are much easier to commit to memory when set to a tune rather than just rehearsing rote facts.

Psalm 1:7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

Susie: As Susan expressed, each subsequent generation would only be able to keep the commandments as they learned them from their parents. These stories bring hope as they would hear about the miraculous care of God for His people even though they often sinfully rebelled.

Psalm 78:8 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.

Susan: The Israelites could have been called “The Yo-Yo People” because they were hot and then cold in their service to the Lord. They would follow, then fall away, follow, then fall away even though God was consistent throughout their history. This is difficult to understand in light of the miracles they had observed and experienced. It can only be attributed to the fact that they, like us, were human—just dust.

Psalm 103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

Susie: Lest we judge the Israelites harshly, we must examine our own walks with the Lord for inconsistencies.

Psalm 78:9 The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. 10 They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law; 11 And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.

Susie: The Bible does not elaborate on the incident mentioned here of the Ephraimites turning back either in battle or in devotion to the Lord.

Susan: However, in Psalm 78:67-68, it is made clear that the Lord rejected Shiloh, a city of the Ephraimites, as the location for His temple, the seat of worship. He chose Jerusalem in the territory of the tribe of Judah instead.

Susie: The point is that obedience is rewarded and disregarding God’s commands is punished.


1.   What is a parable?

2.   Who else taught in parables? Look up Matthew 13:35 and write it out.

3.   How was the history of Israel passed on to the next generation?

4.   Did they tell only the stories of their faithfulness or include their failures as well?

5.   How does your family pass on the truth about the Lord in your lives?

Friday, May 26, 2017


PSALM 1:4-6

Psalm 1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Susie: The first three verses of Psalm 1 described the blessed, godly person. Verse 4 begins the abrupt contrast of the ungodly person, the unredeemed. This person is compared to chaff.

Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language

CHAFF, noun

1. The husk, or dry calyx of corn, and grasses. In common language, the word is applied to the husks when separated from the corn by thrashing, riddling or winnowing. The word is sometimes used rather improperly to denote straw cut small for the food of cattle.

2. Refuse; worthless matter; especially that which is light, and apt to be driven by the wind. In scripture, false doctrines, fruitless designs, hypocrites and ungodly men are compared to chaff Psalms 1:4; Jeremiah 23:28; Isaiah 33:11; Matthew 3:12.

Susan: When wheat or barley were tossed into the air during threshing, the worthless part would fall away and scatter in the wind. No one bothered to recover it because it had no value.

Susie: The ungodly person, the one who does not follow the Lord’s will and ways, has no purpose of eternal significance in this world. This person may even have worldly importance, do many good works, and seem to make a difference. But only what is done through the power of the Holy Spirit is everlasting.

Psalm 1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

Susan: The ungodly, the unbelievers, cannot stand up to God’s judgment because they do not have a defense or an advocate. The Christian has The Advocate, Jesus Christ, the son of the Most-High God, Elohim, presenting the fact that He personally purchased their redemption. His blood washed away their guilt.

Susie: As we were discussing this, Susan pointed out that the ungodly are separated from the righteous. They cannot stand among Christ’s congregation. Jesus described this:

Matthew 25:32-33 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Susie: Following Jesus, abiding in God’s word, is therefore paramount. It is literally the difference between life and death, fulfillment and meaninglessness, heaven or hell.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Psalm 1:6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Susan: There is not one thing that the Lord does not know. Moreover, this implies intimate knowledge. There is not one part of me that God is not intimately acquainted with, inside or out. He is familiar with those parts that must be pruned to preserve fruitfulness.

Susie: God sees past our outward façade, and sees into our very core.

1 Samuel 16:7b . . . for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Susie: God also knows the way of the righteous, those covered by the righteousness of Jesus, because He plans and guides each step of our lives.

Susan: Since I do not have feet, I would say God drives each choice and decision I make.

Susie: The ungodly (and no one can be godly apart from the saving work of Jesus) shall perish! Does that mean they cease to exist?

Susan: No, unfortunately it does not mean they cease to exist. They do have an eternal existence, but it is completely without God, without the Source of life and light.

Susie: Wow! Because God is the source of all that is good (James 1:17), they will live forever with a total absence of anything good, anything comforting, anything cheerful. Some translations say they will be “doomed” which is an apt description of the unbelievers’ eternity.


1.   Why is “chaff” a fitting metaphor for those who do not believe in and trust Jesus Christ?

2.   Are you certain you will have Jesus as your Advocate when the day of judgment comes? Explain how you can be certain.

3.   Does this passage encourage you to tell others about God’s saving grace? What would you say to them?

Thursday, May 25, 2017


PSALM 1:1-3

Psalm 1:1 Blessed835 is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Definition from The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible:

835 ’esher – blessed, how happy!

Susan: This Hebrew word is plural which expresses intensity or exponentiality. In other words, the idea conveyed by this word is “how extremely happy.” Extravagant joy. 

Susie: “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is a phrase used in the United States of America’s constitution. People pursue happiness, many times in vain, throughout their lives. Here the Lord uses the Psalmist to tell us exactly how happiness can be achieved!

Susan: Life generates from God. Freedom generates from God. Happiness generates from God! So searching any other place for these things is futile. If we seek the Lord, He will manifest these qualities in our lives which otherwise are illusive pursuits.

Susie: What is meant by walking in the counsel of the ungodly?

Susan: The wise man seeks godly counsel rather than going along with those who oppose God. Those who serve the Lord should not find themselves going with the flow, walking with the very enemies of God. If we are not pleasing God, we are displeasing Him. There is no in between. Remember the line from an old song, “Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”

Matthew 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

Susie: In the above verse, Jesus made it clear that we are either with Him or against Him. There is no in-between. Opposing God includes not believing in Him at all.  We need to have friends who are non-believers. How else can we share the Gospel with them? But they should never gain the position of advisors in our lives. Fellow believers should be sought out when we need wisdom. What are we doing if we stand in the way of sinners? To me, that means a person has surrounded themselves with non-believers, and is passively being influenced by them or is going along with believers who are not living as they should without reproving them.  When a person stands in the path of sinners, they are on the “broad” way.

Matthew 7:13-14  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Susan: Yes, I agree. “Sitteth in the seat of the scornful” indicates eating and drinking and relaxing with those who would lead you astray from God’s path of holy living.

Susie: As believers, we should not feel comfortable spending the bulk of our time with those who do not follow the Lord Jesus and who encourage us to disobedience. The picture is actually joining in with those who are scornful.

Susan: It is agreement or seeming agreement with the scorners.

Susie:  That concludes how NOT to live if we want to be our happiest. Now the psalmist moves to the right things to do in order to find happiness.

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Susan: The law was not merely a mirror of Israel’s sin and need for a Savior. It was God’s instruction manual for the Israelites.

Susie: The Psalmist states that the blessed man, the one who would be the happiest, meditates on the law both day and night. This reminds us of the Lord’s instructions to Joshua:

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Susan: The instructions of the Lord are to take up residence in our mouths, to live, dwell, to abide in our mouths.

Susie: To me, this says we should be repeating God’s words, telling others what we have read and dwelt upon. How do we achieve that attitude of meditating on God’s word?

Susan: We must engage in daily study of the Bible.

Susie: Does memorization of scripture have a role in meditating on the law?

Susan: Yes, because what we memorize, we internalize.

Susie: And if we have internalized a verse, we can meditate, chew on it, even when we do not have our Bibles in front of us. We can meditate on the word of God while driving, waiting in line, lying down to sleep.

Susan: What we internalize, the Holy Spirit will actualize. Joyful contentment is found in studying and obeying the instruction (the law) of the Lord. The instruction of the Lord reveals the will of God for our lives.

Susie: The next verse discusses the end result of being the kind of person who does not run with sinners but who does value and internalize the word of God.

Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Susan: The word for planted is literally “transplanted.” The Lord purposefully plants the believer where he or she will flourish as they are nurtured by the Living Water, Jesus Christ.

Susie: Sometimes we do not understand why we have been uprooted and moved, but the Lord places us in a position of dependence on Him, the true source of our growth. The Father Himself tends and prunes us to bear optimum fruit for His kingdom.

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Susie: The psalmist says “his leaf shall not wither.” Does this mean that the godly man will never die?

Susan: The godly man’s earth-suit does wither. However, his spirit and soul—mind, will, and emotions—will forever continue with the Lord. We will ultimately receive an incorruptible body at the final resurrection when the Lord Jesus returns. Meanwhile, Paul states:

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Susan: To prosper is to push forward in every work of godliness and goodness on behalf of God’s kingdom.

Susie: If a tree prospers, it reaches full maturity, bearing delicious fruit. When we prosper, we become mature believers who are able to lead and instruct others in their relationships with Jesus Christ (witness and disciple). This is NOT a promise that all who follow God’s ways will be monetarily rich.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

1.   What three activities should we avoid in order to be happy?

2.   What do we need to constantly ponder?

3.   Following these instructions results in what?

4.   If you have not already done so, memorize and meditate on Psalm 1:2. Write your own insights below.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017




·        Our responsibility is to share the Gospel. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to draw those who hear it.
·        Our lives should be an example of God’s power to change our hearts.
·        We should imitate Jesus and be the kind of Christian others should imitate.


·        We need to tenaciously testify to the Gospel of Jesus undaunted by trials.
·        New believers need to be discipled (mentored).
·        Mature believers should be discipling (mentoring) others.
·        Persevering in following and sharing Jesus brings joy


·        We need to stand strong in our faith and encourage others to do the same.
·        We should be passionate about sharing the Gospel and loving one another


·        The Bible is our authority when it comes to sexual conduct
·        Purity should be a priority in the believer’s life
·        Believers should be known by their love for each other
·        Christians should demonstrate a good work ethic
·        Jesus will return and all who have trusted Him will be “caught up in the clouds”


·        God’s armor here and in Ephesians 6 protects us from Satan’s schemes
·        Believers need not fear the Lord’s return
·        We need to respect those in leadership positions in the church
·        We should encourage and comfort fellow believers
·        Three attitudes we should continually demonstrate:
1.   Prayer
2.   Joy
3.   Thankfulness
·        What NOT to do:
1.   Quench the Spirit
2.   Despise authentic prophesy
·        Jesus is faithful to enable us to do what He has called us to do


·        Persecution and trials are used by God to purify us
·        Troublers will be troubled. Persecutors will be punished.
·        Faithful followers will be fulfilled and joyful to the glory of God


·        Christians need not be shaken by end time events
·        Jesus is in control and provides our strength
·        Hell, eternal torment is real and waits for those who choose not to trust Jesus
·        God has done, is doing, and will do everything to make the believer fit for Heaven
·        We as believers can rest in the comfort that God will finish what He has started in us.


·        Even the Apostle Paul was in need of intercessory prayer
·        We need to intercede for those in the familyship of God
·        Paul set a good example of Christian work ethic
·        Withdrawing fellowship is for the purpose of eventual restoration
·        Do not give up on charity because of a few freeloaders

·        Pray for and encourage one another to rest in God’s grace and peace