1 A well-written song by Asaph. Pay attention, my people, to my instruction! Listen to the words I speak! 2 I will sing a song that imparts wisdom; I will make insightful observations about the past. 3 What we have heard and learned -- that which our ancestors have told us -- 4 we will not hide from their descendants. We will tell the next generation about the Lord's praiseworthy acts, about his strength and the amazing things he has done. 5 He established a rule in Jacob; he set up a law in Israel. He commanded our ancestors to make his deeds known to their descendants, 6 so that the next generation, children yet to be born, might know about them. They will grow up and tell their descendants about them. 7 Then they will place their confidence in God. They will not forget the works of God, and they will obey his commands. 8 Then they will not be like their ancestors, who were a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that was not committed and faithful to God.
9 The Ephraimites were armed with bows, but they retreated in the day of battle. 10 They did not keep their covenant with God, and they refused to obey his law. 11 They forgot what he had done, the amazing things he had shown them. 12 He did amazing things in the sight of their ancestors, in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan. 13 He divided the sea and led them across it; he made the water stand in a heap. 14 He led them with a cloud by day, and with the light of a fire all night long. 15 He broke open rocks in the wilderness, and gave them enough water to fill the depths of the sea. 16 He caused streams to flow from the rock, and made the water flow like rivers. 17 Yet they continued to sin against him, and rebelled against the sovereign One in the desert. 18 They willfully challenged God by asking for food to satisfy their appetite. 19 They insulted God, saying, "Is God really able to give us food in the wilderness? 20 Yes, he struck a rock and water flowed out, streams gushed forth. But can he also give us food? Will he provide meat for his people?" 21 When the Lord heard this, he was furious. A fire broke out against Jacob, and his anger flared up against Israel, 22 because they did not have faith in God, and did not trust his ability to deliver them. 23 He gave a command to the clouds above, and opened the doors in the sky. 24 He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Man ate the food of the mighty ones. He sent them more than enough to eat. 26 He brought the east wind through the sky, and by his strength led forth the south wind. 27 He rained down meat on them like dust, birds as numerous as the sand on the seashores. 28 He caused them to fall right in the middle of their camp, all around their homes. 29 They ate until they were stuffed; he gave them what they desired. 30 They were not yet filled up, their food was still in their mouths, 31 when the anger of God flared up against them. He killed some of the strongest of them; he brought the young men of Israel to their knees.
32 Despite all this, they continued to sin, and did not trust him to do amazing things. 33 So he caused them to die unsatisfied and filled with terror. 34 When he struck them down, they sought his favor; they turned back and longed for God. 35 They remembered that God was their protector, and that the sovereign God was their deliverer. 36 But they deceived him with their words, and lied to him. 37 They were not really committed to him, and they were unfaithful to his covenant. 38 Yet he is compassionate. He forgives sin and does not destroy. He often holds back his anger, and does not stir up his fury. 39 He remembered that they were made of flesh, and were like a wind that blows past and does not return.
40 How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness, and insulted him in the desert! 41 They again challenged God, and offended the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not remember what he had done, how he delivered them from the enemy, 43 when he performed his awesome deeds in Egypt, and his acts of judgment in the region of Zoan. 44 He turned their rivers into blood, and they could not drink from their streams. 45 He sent swarms of biting insects against them, as well as frogs that overran their land. 46 He gave their crops to the grasshopper, the fruit of their labor to the locust. 47 He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycamore-fig trees with driving rain. 48 He rained hail down on their cattle, and hurled lightning bolts down on their livestock. 49 His raging anger lashed out against them, He sent fury, rage, and trouble as messengers who bring disaster. 50 He sent his anger in full force; he did not spare them from death; he handed their lives over to destruction. 51 He struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, the firstfruits of their reproductive power in the tents of Ham. 52 Yet he brought out his people like sheep; he led them through the wilderness like a flock. 53 He guided them safely along, while the sea covered their enemies. 54 He brought them to the border of his holy land, to this mountainous land which his right hand acquired. 55 He drove the nations out from before them; he assigned them their tribal allotments and allowed the tribes of Israel to settle down.
56 Yet they challenged and defied the sovereign God, and did not obey his commands. 57 They were unfaithful and acted as treacherously as their ancestors; they were as unreliable as a malfunctioning bow. 58 They made him angry with their pagan shrines, and made him jealous with their idols. 59 God heard and was angry; he completely rejected Israel. 60 He abandoned the sanctuary at Shiloh, the tent where he lived among men. 61 He allowed the symbol of his strong presence to be captured; he gave the symbol of his splendor into the hand of the enemy. 62 He delivered his people over to the sword, and was angry with his chosen nation. 63 Fire consumed their young men, and their virgins remained unmarried. 64 Their priests fell by the sword, but their widows did not weep.
65 But then the Lord awoke from his sleep; he was like a warrior in a drunken rage. 66 He drove his enemies back; he made them a permanent target for insults. 67 He rejected the tent of Joseph; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim. 68 He chose the tribe of Judah, and Mount Zion, which he loves. 69 He made his sanctuary as enduring as the heavens above; as secure as the earth, which he established permanently. 70 He chose David, his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds. 71 He took him away from following the mother sheep, and made him the shepherd of Jacob, his people, and of Israel, his chosen nation. 72 David cared for them with pure motives; he led them with skill.