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Thursday, October 24, 2013

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National anthems stir our feelings of patriotism.  They don’t have to be performed by a brass band or sung by a large crowd to do that, though grand music helps.  The words of a national anthem extol the country and remind us of its greatness.  It is not normal to recount the failures of a country in their national anthems. That might be counter-productive.

However, Psalm 78 does just that. Even worse, the failures of Israel are set against the backdrop of God’s wonderful acts to deliver them over and over.  After the crossing of the Red Sea and the gift of water from the rock, Israel sinned by grumbling about food.  When God gave them manna, they craved meat. When He gave them quail meat they gorged themselves until they got sick. But God was merciful and forgave them repeatedly.  

This Psalm is actually a national anthem of the rejection of Northern Israel and the selection of Judah. The composer however, did not anticipate the eventual rejection of Judah as well.  We should never pride ourselves on being the chosen of God because being the chosen nation, being part of the remnant church, is dependent on our faithfulness.  God does not abandon us; it is we who abandon Him.

Gordon Christo
Secretary, Southern Asia Division