A psalm of Asaph.
1O my people, listen to my instructions.
Open your ears to what I am saying,
2for I will speak to you in a parable.
I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—
3stories we have heard and known,
stories our ancestors handed down to us.
4We will not hide these truths from our children;
we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
about his power and his mighty wonders.
5For he issued his laws to Jacob;
he gave his instructions to Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
to teach them to their children,
6so the next generation might know them—
even the children not yet born—
and they in turn will teach their own children.
7So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
not forgetting his glorious miracles
and obeying his commands.
8Then they will not be like their ancestors—
stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful,
refusing to give their hearts to God.
9The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows,
turned their backs and fled on the day of battle.
10They did not keep God’s covenant
and refused to live by his instructions.
11They forgot what he had done—
the great wonders he had shown them,
12the miracles he did for their ancestors
on the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.
13For he divided the sea and led them through,
making the water stand up like walls!
14In the daytime he led them by a cloud,
and all night by a pillar of fire.
15He split open the rocks in the wilderness
to give them water, as from a gushing spring.
16He made streams pour from the rock,
making the waters flow down like a river!
17Yet they kept on sinning against him,
rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18They stubbornly tested God in their hearts,
demanding the foods they craved.
19They even spoke against God himself, saying,
“God can’t give us food in the wilderness.
20Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out,
but he can’t give his people bread and meat.”
21When the Lord heard them, he was furious.
The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob.
Yes, his anger rose against Israel,
22for they did not believe God
or trust him to care for them.
23But he commanded the skies to open;
he opened the doors of heaven.
24He rained down manna for them to eat;
he gave them bread from heaven.
25They ate the food of angels!
God gave them all they could hold.
26He released the east wind in the heavens
and guided the south wind by his mighty power.
27He rained down meat as thick as dust—
birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore!
28He caused the birds to fall within their camp
and all around their tents.
29The people ate their fill.
He gave them what they craved.
30But before they satisfied their craving,
while the meat was yet in their mouths,
31the anger of God rose against them,
and he killed their strongest men.
He struck down the finest of Israel’s young men.
32But in spite of this, the people kept sinning.
Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him.
33So he ended their lives in failure,
their years in terror.
34When God began killing them,
they finally sought him.
They repented and took God seriously.
35Then they remembered that God was their rock,
that God Most High was their redeemer.
36But all they gave him was lip service;
they lied to him with their tongues.
37Their hearts were not loyal to him.
They did not keep his covenant.
38Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins
and did not destroy them all.
Many times he held back his anger
and did not unleash his fury!
39For he remembered that they were merely mortal,
gone like a breath of wind that never returns.
40Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland.
41Again and again they tested God’s patience
and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42They did not remember his power
and how he rescued them from their enemies.
43They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt,
his wonders on the plain of Zoan.
44For he turned their rivers into blood,
so no one could drink from the streams.
45He sent vast swarms of flies to consume them
and hordes of frogs to ruin them.
46He gave their crops to caterpillars;
their harvest was consumed by locusts.
47He destroyed their grapevines with hail
and shattered their sycamore-figs with sleet.
48He abandoned their cattle to the hail,
their livestock to bolts of lightning.
49He loosed on them his fierce anger—
all his fury, rage, and hostility.
He dispatched against them
a band of destroying angels.
50He turned his anger against them;
he did not spare the Egyptians’ lives
but ravaged them with the plague.
51He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family,
the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt.
52But he led his own people like a flock of sheep,
guiding them safely through the wilderness.
53He kept them safe so they were not afraid;
but the sea covered their enemies.
54He brought them to the border of his holy land,
to this land of hills he had won for them.
55He drove out the nations before them;
he gave them their inheritance by lot.
He settled the tribes of Israel into their homes.
56But they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High.
They did not obey his laws.
57They turned back and were as faithless as their parents.
They were as undependable as a crooked bow.
58They angered God by building shrines to other gods;
they made him jealous with their idols.
59When God heard them, he was very angry,
and he completely rejected Israel.
60Then he abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh,
the Tabernacle where he had lived among the people.
61He allowed the Ark of his might to be captured;
he surrendered his glory into enemy hands.
62He gave his people over to be butchered by the sword,
because he was so angry with his own people—his special possession.
63Their young men were killed by fire;
their young women died before singing their wedding songs.
64Their priests were slaughtered,
and their widows could not mourn their deaths.
65Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep,
like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor.
66He routed his enemies
and sent them to eternal shame.
67But he rejected Joseph’s descendants;
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.
68He chose instead the tribe of Judah,
and Mount Zion, which he loved.
69There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens,
as solid and enduring as the earth.
70He chose his servant David,
calling him from the sheep pens.
71He took David from tending the ewes and lambs
and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants—
God’s own people, Israel.
72He cared for them with a true heart
and led them with skillful hands.