My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old— things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord , his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their ancestors— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him. The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle; they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law. They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them. He did miracles in the sight of their ancestors in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan. He divided the sea and led them through; he made the water stand up like a wall. He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night. He split the rocks in the wilderness and gave them water as abundant as the seas; he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers. – Psalm 78:1-16
This is the first time I have noticed the use of the term parable in the old testament. It is interesting that “hidden things, things from of old” are apparently uttered in parables. It seems like that is what Jesus was all about while he was teaching about the kingdom — telling about “things from of old” in parables.
The direction here is to pass on the great things that God has done to the next generation so that they will remember. In the past the Israelites have done this through standing stones and monuments. The direction here is more organic. We are to tell our children and they will in turn tell their children. If we stop telling then the chain is broken.
The men of Ephraim apparently broke the chain in their time and there were dire consequences for them and their people. Despite the miracles and wonders that the Israelites experienced like the parting of the Red Sea and the water from rock in the desert.
We are also reminded that God first led the people as a cloud – a godly condensate and that He provided all the water they needed when they needed it. He is still doing this for us today through the Holy Spirit and Jesus.
Prayer: God You have provided all that we need through your Holy Spirit and Jesus. May we tell our children stories of You so that they may know and follow You.