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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, September 22, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 78:1–4, 12–16

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
   incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
   I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
   that our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their children;
   we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord,
   and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
In the sight of their ancestors he worked marvels in the land of Egypt,
   in the fields of Zoan.
He divided the sea and let them pass through it,
   and made the waters stand like a heap.
In the daytime he led them with a cloud,
   and all night long with a fiery light.
He split rocks open in the wilderness,
   and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
He made streams come out of the rock,
   and caused waters to flow down like rivers. (NRSV)

In this psalm, the psalmist is speaking to the reader instead of to God. The psalmist begins by telling us that he will “utter dark sayings from of old,” that we’ve heard from our ancestors and that we must tell to the “coming generation[s]” the glorious deeds, might, and wonder of God.

The phrase “dark sayings of old” is a curious one but refers to stories that have been forgotten or are no longer acknowledged by the Israelites. God has performed great miracles for them, but somehow they have forgotten about God’s faithfulness. After the parting of the Red Sea and being through the wilderness by a fiery light at night, it seems like an impossibility that they could forget the might and wonder of God.

But then I consider my own life and the blessings I’ve been given and the ways in which I’ve been led by God. How often do I forget about these deeds and the might of God? How often do I fail to remember or to share my own lived experience of faith?

The psalmist is presenting us with a well-needed reminder of the wonders that God has performed and a reminder that it is our responsibility to continue the tradition of storytelling to share God’s qualities with others, as they have been shared with us.

God, let me not need a reminder of the great deeds that you have done, but help me to serve as a storyteller to others, sharing your glorious deeds and words, so that current and future generations know of your greatness. Amen.

Written by Shanna Wood, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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