Are You Sad or Lonely?
my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am
for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach
you hidden lessons from our past—
we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us.
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.
he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He
commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children,
the next generation might know them—even the children not yet
born—and they in turn will teach their own children.
each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his
glorious miracles and obeying his commands.
they will not be like their ancestors—stubborn, rebellious, and
unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.
warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their backs and
fled on the day of battle.
did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his
forgot what he had done—the great wonders he had shown them,
miracles he did for their ancestors on the plain of Zoan in the land
he divided the sea and led them through, making the water stand up
the daytime he led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of
split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them water, as from a
made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a
they kept on sinning against him, rebelling against the Most High in
stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they
even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can’t give us food
in the wilderness.
he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can’t give his
people bread and meat.”
the Lord heard them, he was furious. The fire of his wrath
burned against Jacob. Yes, his anger rose against Israel,
they did not believe God or trust him to care for them.
he commanded the skies to open; he opened the doors of heaven.
rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven.
ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold.
released the east wind in the heavens and guided the south wind by
his mighty power.
rained down meat as thick as dust—birds as plentiful as the sand on
caused the birds to fall within their camp and all around their
people ate their fill. He gave them what they craved.
before they satisfied their craving, while the meat was yet in their
anger of God rose against them, and he killed their strongest men. He
struck down the finest of Israel’s young men.
in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite his wonders, they
refused to trust him.
he ended their lives in failure, their years in terror.
God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and
took God seriously.
they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their
all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their
hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant.
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!
he remembered that they were merely mortal, gone like a breath of
wind that never returns.
how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his
heart in that dry wasteland.
and again they tested God’s patience and provoked the Holy One of
did not remember his power and how he rescued them from their
did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders on the
plain of Zoan.
he turned their rivers into blood, so no one could drink from the
sent vast swarms of flies to consume them and hordes of frogs to ruin
gave their crops to caterpillars; their harvest was consumed by
destroyed their grapevines with hail and shattered their
sycamore-figs with sleet.
abandoned their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of
loosed on them his fierce anger—all his fury, rage, and hostility.
He dispatched against them a band of destroying angels.
turned his anger against them; he did not spare the Egyptians’
lives but ravaged them with the plague.
killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family, the flower of youth
throughout the land of Egypt.
he led his own people like a flock of sheep, guiding them safely
through the wilderness.
kept them safe so they were not afraid; but the sea covered their
brought them to the border of his holy land, to this land of hills he
had won for them.
drove out the nations before them; he gave them their inheritance by
lot. He settled the tribes of Israel into their homes.
they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High. They did not
obey his laws.
turned back and were as faithless as their parents. They were as
undependable as a crooked bow.
angered God by building shrines to other gods; they made him jealous
with their idols.
God heard them, he was very angry, and he completely rejected Israel.
he abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh, the Tabernacle where he had
lived among the people.
allowed the Ark of his might to be captured; he surrendered his glory
into enemy hands.
gave his people over to be butchered by the sword, because he was so
angry with his own people—his special possession.
young men were killed by fire; their young women died before singing
their wedding songs.
priests were slaughtered, and their widows could not mourn their
the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep, like a warrior aroused
from a drunken stupor.
routed his enemies and sent them to eternal shame.
he rejected Joseph’s descendants; he did not choose the tribe of
chose instead the tribe of Judah, and Mount Zion, which he loved.
he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens, as solid and enduring
as the earth.
chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens.
took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd
of Jacob’s descendants—
God’s own people, Israel.
cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.
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