My people, listen to my teaching; listen to what I say.
I will speak using stories; I will tell secret things from long ago.
We have heard them and known them by what our ancestors have told us.
We will not keep them from our children; we will tell those who come later about the praises of the Lord. We will tell about his power and the miracles he has done.
The Lord made an agreement with Jacob and gave the teachings to Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children.
Then their children would know them, even their children not yet born. And they would tell their children.
So they would all trust God and would not forget what he had done but would obey his commands.
They would not be like their ancestors who were stubborn and disobedient. Their hearts were not loyal to God, and they were not true to him.
The men of Ephraim had bows for weapons, but they ran away on the day of battle.
They didn't keep their agreement with God and refused to live by his teachings.
They forgot what he had done and the miracles he had shown them.
He did miracles while their ancestors watched, in the fields of Zoan in Egypt.
He divided the Red Sea and led them through. He made the water stand up like a wall.
He led them with a cloud by day and by the light of a fire by night.
He split the rocks in the desert and gave them more than enough water, as if from the deep ocean.
He brought streams out of the rock and caused water to flow down like rivers.
But the people continued to sin against him; in the desert they turned against God Most High.
They decided to test God by asking for the food they wanted.
Then they spoke against God, saying, "Can God prepare food in the desert?
When he hit the rock, water poured out and rivers flowed down. But can he give us bread also? Will he provide his people with meat?"
When the Lord heard them, he was very angry. His anger was like fire to the people of Jacob; his anger grew against the people of Israel.
They had not believed God and had not trusted him to save them.
But he gave a command to the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven.
He rained manna down on them to eat; he gave them grain from heaven.
So they ate the bread of angels. He sent them all the food they could eat.
He sent the east wind from heaven and led the south wind by his power.
He rained meat on them like dust. The birds were as many as the sand of the sea.
He made the birds fall inside the camp, all around the tents.
So the people ate and became very full. God had given them what they wanted.
While they were still eating, and while the food was still in their mouths,
God became angry with them. He killed some of the healthiest of them; he struck down the best young men of Israel.
But they kept on sinning; they did not believe even with the miracles.
So he ended their days without meaning and their years in terror.
Anytime he killed them, they would look to him for help; they would come back to God and follow him.
They would remember that God was their Rock, that God Most High had saved them.
But their words were false, and their tongues lied to him.
Their hearts were not really loyal to God; they did not keep his agreement.
Still God was merciful. He forgave their sins and did not destroy them. Many times he held back his anger and did not stir up all his anger.
He remembered that they were only human, like a wind that blows and does not come back.
They turned against God so often in the desert and grieved him there.
Again and again they tested God and brought pain to the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember his power or the time he saved them from the enemy.
They forgot the signs he did in Egypt and his wonders in the fields of Zoan.
He turned their rivers to blood so no one could drink the water.
He sent flies that bit the people. He sent frogs that destroyed them.
He gave their crops to grasshoppers and what they worked for to locusts.
He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamore trees with sleet.
He killed their animals with hail and their cattle with lightning.
He showed them his hot anger. He sent his strong anger against them, his destroying angels.
He found a way to show his anger. He did not keep them from dying but let them die by a terrible disease.
God killed all the firstborn sons in Egypt, the oldest son of each family of Ham.
But God led his people out like sheep and he guided them like a flock through the desert.
He led them to safety so they had nothing to fear, but their enemies drowned in the sea.
So God brought them to his holy land, to the mountain country he took with his own power.
He forced out the other nations, and he had his people inherit the land. He let the tribes of Israel settle there in tents.
But they tested God and turned against God Most High; they did not keep his rules.
They turned away and were disloyal just like their ancestors. They were like a crooked bow that does not shoot straight.
They made God angry by building places to worship gods; they made him jealous with their idols.
When God heard them, he became very angry and rejected the people of Israel completely.
He left his dwelling at Shiloh, the Tent where he lived among the people.
He let the Ark, his power, be captured; he let the Ark, his glory, be taken by enemies.
He let his people be killed; he was very angry with his children.
The young men died by fire, and the young women had no one to marry.
Their priests fell by the sword, but their widows were not allowed to cry.
Then the Lord got up as if he had been asleep; he awoke like a man who had been drunk with wine.
He struck down his enemies and disgraced them forever.
But God rejected the family of Joseph; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.
Instead, he chose the tribe of Judah and Mount Zion, which he loves.
And he built his Temple high like the mountains. Like the earth, he built it to last forever.
He chose David to be his servant and took him from the sheep pens.
He brought him from tending the sheep so he could lead the flock, the people of Jacob, his own people, the people of Israel.
And David led them with an innocent heart and guided them with skillful hands. A psalm of Asaph.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.