Daily Update #194

Pause:  As we prepare to look at God’s Word let us quieten our minds, so that His Holy Spirit may speak to us today.
Readings:  Hebrews 4 : 1 – 5, 11;    Psalm 78 : 1 – 8;    Mark 2 : 1 – 12
“My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.”

This is the opening verse of Psalm 78, written by Asaph, one of the worship leaders appointed by King David.  Twelve Psalms are attributed to Asaph, although of course he may have written more than a dozen, as many of the Psalms carry no attribution.  The Psalm is the longest of Asaph’s, and our verses set for today are simply the introduction. 
Firstly, Asaph urges the worshippers to listen to what he is about to recount.  The history of Israel is something that is well-taught, passed on from generation to generation, and Asaph is keen that this should not be forgotten.  More than that, before he reminds the people of their history Asaph points out that there are hidden depths therein.  “I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old.”  This reminds me of Paul, who several times in his letters writes of “the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people.” (Colossians 1 v 26)
In this introduction Asaph then goes on to emphasise the importance of passing on “the things we have heard and known” to the next generation.  As Asaph reminds them there is much to pass on; “the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”  Over the centuries God has done much for his chosen people Israel, there truly is much to celebrate as they remember his goodness.  There is also the law that the Lord established in Israel, and the statutes he decreed for Judah, revealing the way that God’s people should live so that their lives are in harmony with the holy God.  Only by teaching these to the next generation would the nation flourish as the Lord intended.  As Asaph says, only by passing on these truths would the people avoid the mistakes of the past generations; faithful teaching will lead the people to put their trust in God, remembering his deeds and keeping his commands.
In the remainder of this Psalm, verses 9 to 72, Asaph writes about some aspects of the nation’s history, those things which need to be passed on to the next generation.  For us today, though, with just these 8 verses to consider, there is a clear message.  If we know Jesus as our own personal Saviour then we have the “history” of our encounter with the living Lord which is well worth passing on.  It is not enough to leave it to Kim and Richard, who are doing such a brilliant job with the families of our parish.  We all have encounters, even though we may be in some degree of lockdown and are not able to meet folk face to face.  Even our smiles and greetings can convey the message of the love, joy and peace that is within us.  We need to keep praying that even simple things like these may be the means for the Holy Spirit to speak into someone’s life, encouraging them to find out more about “the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.” 
Almighty God, we thank you for your word which is a lamp for our feet and a light on our path.  May your Holy Spirit lead us on, that we may daily draw closer to you so that our lives will speak of your love to others, through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord and Saviour.  Amen.