Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come
the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.
For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel,
which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children,
That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born,
that they may arise and tell them to their children,
That they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God,
but keep His commandments,
And not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation that did not prepare its heart and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Listen! Sometimes people speak but we are not listening. Words go in one ear and out the other, without us hearing or understanding, because we are not listening but waiting for our turn to talk.
In verse 8, many of the people of Israel failed to listen to God, just as many people fail to hear what God is saying today. We are warned not to be stubborn and rebellious as many in Israel were
(1 Corinthians 10: 1-11) and to prepare our heart so we are faithful to God in our thoughts and actions (Matthew 25:1-13). Verse 7, talks about putting our confidence in God and not to forget His works but keep His commandments (John 14:1-3).
For this reason, it is imperative to keep coming to God daily, through reading His Word and talking to Him in prayer. Like the example of manna in the wilderness, it is daily bread for our souls
We also need to hold a correct attitude of heart in our devotion to Jesus. We are not reading God's Word or praying in order to gain God's favor or earn our salvation. Our motivation to come to Him rests in the fact that we are loved and graciously saved by our Heavenly Father.
We need to cultivate a motivation where we “want” to spend time with Him and enjoy Him, not out of a sense of duty - but of gratitude for the immense and innumerable blessings He has given us. A way to check our motivation is to think deeply about all the spiritual and physical blessings God has bestowed upon us (Ephesians 1:3).
If our worship of God is held with an attitude only based on duty, it is an indication of wanting to justify ourselves in earning God’s favor. This is defined as “works of the Law” and does not please God because it is self seeking and self-centered (Galatians 3:1-14). But when we think in terms of I “want” to do something for God because of His love for me, we are acting in love and out of gratitude.
If this is not true of us, we need to encourage each other to seek God more earnestly by looking at how we fall short of His commands and expectations. The sermon on the mount in Matthew 5, 6 and 7 is a good place to start. When we see how far short we fall of God’s expectation of us, and then see His love and mercy toward us - we cannot help feel indebted to Him with overwhelming gratitude.
In verse 4, it talks about telling the next generation about the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works He has done. This is the gospel, the good news of our salvation in Christ. It is not about us, what we have done or what is praiseworthy about ourselves, but declaring the Praises of God. What He has done, and what He has accomplished in Christ so that we can have confidence in God, and place our trust in Him.
Psalm 78, describes what God did for Israel when He saved them from Egypt. In the same manner, we are to tell of God’s saving grace upon us, how He has saved us form sin and death, and has guaranteed eternal life to us by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (1 Peter 2:9-10).
Do you boast in the cross of Christ? Have you considered your sinfulness and personal debt to God? Have you realized you cannot stand before Him free of condemnation without being washed and justified by the blood of Jesus? (Philippians 3:1-15).
These are the things which need to fill our minds and heart, to gain a sense of gratitude for all the great wonders God has done for us (1 Corinthians 2:12). We are called to proclaim the Praises of God and declare our Father in heaven is faithful and worthy to be trusted.
Jesus proclaimed the gospel for people to trust in God. To turn away from our sinful thoughts, desires and ambitions, and bring our thoughts, attitude, emotions and actions, all under the rule and authority of God (Matthew 4:17).
The essence of our call as God’s people, as Christians, is to be like Jesus in heart and behavior. Jesus humbled Himself by becoming obedience to the point of death on the cross (Philippians 2:5-11). Our call is to trust in God's mercy and faithfulness, so we can confidently follow Jesus, no matter what life throws at us.
If our confidence is genuinely in Jesus, we will have joy regardless of our circumstances, and we will seek to become increasingly obedient to all God teaches us through His Word and His Holy Spirit.
Don’t let the lies of this world, and the deceitfulness of your heart and sinful desires, keep you from placing your confidence and trust in Jesus. God knows what is best for us and He has everything under His control. By submitting to His ways and commands, in faith and trust; we will find peace, confidence, hope and salvation which cannot be found in anyone or anything else.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout,
and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire,
and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”