In this 72-verse contemplation of Asaph, the writer recounts the acts of God on behalf of Israel in the history of the nation from Abraham until the captivity. A lengthy summary is presumably put together for the sake of the nation’s children. He recounts the rebellious acts of Israel and the mercy of God in the midst of their rebellion. The writer speaks of God supplying water from a rock, manna (bread of heaven) for them daily, quail to have meat. He also chastised Israel in their rebellion, to remind them Who God was. He worked His signs in Egypt, in the form of the ten plagues, in order to deliver Israel from Pharaoh and Egypt. He brought Israel into the promised land, and drove out their enemies. When they forsook Him, though, and did not keep His commandments, God was furious and violence came upon the land. He rejected Joseph and Ephraim, and raised up a righteous ruler from Judah, King David. He shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart.
This summary of representative stories exhibits the rebellion and backsliding ways of Israel juxtaposed with the judgement and mercy of God in an effort to teach Israel the holy ways of God. In today’s world, I believe that there are parallels to this pattern in Israel. Many denominations, movements, and even nations begin a pattern of serving God in sincerity, then eventually turning away from His ways and straying into cultural relativism and conformity. The problems that often accompany such moral decline are evident in the numerical and financial decline of many mainline or nominal denominations, and the decline of political influence of the United States in recent years after the acceptance of sexual deviancy, abortion, and the marginalization of Christianity. We must take the example of Israel and repent before our mighty God. The blessings of God come from following His commandments and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Let us cry out in repentance as individuals, churches, and nations, and let the healing begin!