May 3, 2020
It happens that Psalm 78 is a perfect introduction to the book of Judges! This book covers the dark ages for the nation of Israel, from the time following Joshua’s death to the birth of the last judge, Samuel. HC Mears gives a good easy-to-remember summary: Seven apostasies (times of turning away from God), seven servitudes to seven idolatrous and cruel nations, and seven deliverances. The last verse is the author’s own summary, which is often repeated near the end of the book: “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”
Asaph continues his poetic reminder to the people of Israel. In yesterday’s reading, I hope you wondered, “When did the tribe of Ephraim run from battle?” I encourage you to ask questions like that and do a little research. (See the Shovels page at dailybiblereading.info for sites that will give you good answers.) Because this comes up several more times in the OT, I want to tell you this: The Ephraimites were the largest of the northern tribes, and their name came to stand for all of the northern tribes in the time when people distinguished between the kingdom of Judah (in the south)and the kingdom of Israel (in the north). It is likely that there was no specific battle in Asaph’s mind, but that he was using the northern tribes as examples of what happens when the people are unfaithful to God. They refused to be numbered with God’s people in time of national wars.
As Paul prophesied, all two hundred and seventy six people on board arrived safely on land, but the ship was lost.