1 – ” A Maskil of Asaph. 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. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” (Psalm 78:1-4, ESV)
RAF: What a good thing it is for each generation to make known what they’ve come to know and have learned about the goodness, power and wonder of God. For parents to tell their children of their own conversion to Christ. To tell them how God rescued them in trouble, provided for them, walked with them, comforted them, sustained them and blessed them. Parents – do not be silent. Give your children the heritage of your life in Christ. Recount it. Glory in it, joy in it, and tell them of it.
2 – “so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.” (Psalm 78:7-8, ESV)
RAF: This is why we should do vss. 1-4: So they should a. Set their hope in God; b. Not forget His works; c. Keep His commandments; d. Not be like their fathers in stubbornness, rebellion, and unfaithfulness. If you don’t have children, find someone else to pass these things on to.
Note how much of the balance of this Psalm consists of a record of Israel’s sin and failure, but God’s goodness, grace, mercy and forgiveness. Our testimonies to men ought not to be about OUR goodness, but His, in the face of our rebellion.
3 – “We have become a taunt to our neighbors, mocked and derided by those around us.” (Psalm 79:4, ESV)
RAF: When the Church is healthy, it is embattled. As its people attack their sins and seek for the freedom of the spread of the Gospel, there is war. But there is also victory. When the Church gains victory, she often forgets there is much work still to be done. She loses her aggression against her own sins and the spread of the Gospel in the World. She grows complacent. But when the Church begins to decline, she becomes more specifically the target of taunts, mocking and derision. When she becomes a caricature of herself. When she does not police herself and all kinds of mischief are done in her name without censure from within. these are the days which precede a great judgment and fall. Oh Father, restore us before it goes that far.
4 – “Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name!” (Psalm 80:18, ESV)
RAF: We do not understand the depth of our need, until we come to see that even the strength to call upon Him must come from Him. As Augustine prayed: “Grant what Thou commandest, and command what Thou dost desire.”
5 – “So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.” (Psalm 81:12, ESV)
RAF: Heavenly Father – I can imagine nothing more frightful, than that you should give me up at times to my own stubborn heart. To follow my own counsel rather than yours. Forgive my wickedness in my self-will. Forgive me for resisting you until you give me up to myself. Forgive me for imagining that I know better than you in the things of life. Deliver me from self. Deliver me from the pride and arrogance that pushes back against you for even the slightest cause. Subdue my restless soul. Make me your own. Let my bridle be love.
6 – “Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes. Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him, and their fate would last forever. But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”” (Psalm 81:13-16, ESV)
RAF: Christian, you who are suffering under God’s Fatherly chastening – listen to His heart plead with you in these verses. He does not plead that we would listen to Him that He might crush us, but deliver us! To give us victory over our sins. To feed us with that which is the “finest” – and to satisfy us with sweet things. But we will not listen.
7 – “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.” (Psalm 84:1-2, ESV) “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!” (Psalm 84:10-12, ESV)
RAF: Man was designed to – made to, luxuriate in the presence of God. As Augustine prayed: “God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.” Father, may we be always reminded that this deep longing we have, is really for you. And of the folly of trying to find satisfaction in anything or anyone else.
8 – “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” (Psalm 85:6, ESV)
RAF: This is what genuine revival does – it restores God’s people so that they rejoice in Him – find their abiding joy in Him. Have you become joyless in your Christianity? Then may God hear your prayer for revival.
9 – “Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
RAF: If you are ever at a loss in prayer, let this catalog be a divine guide for sound petitions. Take this page from David’s prayerbook.
1. Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
2. Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
3. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.
4. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
5. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.
6. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth;
7. Unite my heart to fear your name.
8. Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant.
9. Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.“
10 – “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, ESV)
RAF: Heavenly Father, I pray this along with Moses today. Let it be so. Teach ME to number my days. To take advantage of the time you have given. Not to waste it on the world and on frivolous things. Not to squander it on what is temporary, and least of all, sinful. May my days be spent in learning of you, joying in you, making your glory known to others, and manifesting your great love in the earth. Make my time productive in the advancement of your kingdom within my own heart, in the hearts of those who know you, and to extend to those who do not – that they too might come under your banner in salvation. Let me not lose one moment in bitterness. Not a single second musing upon wickedness. No time invested in self-pity, arrogance, self-will or hatred against any other. Let me not give up one of these precious hours to anything that would displease you. Let me invest each passing moment in reveling in your glory and goodness and grace. Teach me to number my days, that I may get a heart of true wisdom.
11 – “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:14, ESV)
RAF: Father, we all seek satisfaction. Every one of us. Saved or unsaved. Our hearts crave that which will compete us, fill us, satisfy us. Look on that deep yearning, that gnawing ache, and fill it with your steadfast love. Make us to know it for what it is. Make us to feast on it. Make us to recognize that it is this we crave – because we were made to be satisfied with nothing less. You crafted us to be vessels to contain this glory. We will not, we cannot rejoice and be glad as we ought – unless this be our condition. Father, hear us as we plead with you today – satisfy us in the morning, each and every morning – with your steadfast love. May the consideration of it fill us to overflowing.
12 – ““Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”” (Psalm 91:14-16, ESV)
RAF: Listen to these precious promises that fall from the lips of our God. Believe them. Look to Him. Trust him. Seek Him.