Psalm 78 – Sing a Song of Gene Therapy

Bible opened to Psalm 78 with Chuao Caramel Apple Crush Chocolate

Today’s passage: Psalm 78

Today’s chocolateChuao Caramel Apple Crush

I don’t have kids. I may never have kids; I just don’t have a strong impetus to reproduce biologically. But as I’ve realized over the past several years, that doesn’t let me off the hook. God still calls single people like me to invest my time and money and effort in the people around me, just as much as a good parent would give from themselves to raise their child. Just because I’m a single person with no tiny human sharing my direct genetic material, that doesn’t exclude me from the business of reproducing: socially, intellectually, interpersonally.

And it’s in that light that I read Psalm 78, because Asaph’s very much about the generations here. He tells us, “I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old” (2), a word that his people heard from their fathers and will pass on to their children. In composing this psalm, Asaph is contributing to the spiritual gene pool, passing on the material he inherited, and his spiritual kids are his hearers and readers.

That’s right: it’s us.

Asaph takes seventy-two verses (at which, when I cracked open my Bible, my heart went, “Dang, son”) to tell the story of his forefathers, God’s liberation of them from Egypt and provision for them in the wilderness, his gift to them of the promised land, and their recurring stubborn stupid ungrateful rebellions throughout the generations. But before he begins, he spells out the purpose of his dark sayings of old:

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. (7-8)

And we’re the children of his dark sayings of old–if we listen to him. What does he want for us and for our spiritual children? Confidence in God, hope and faith. His works and commandments, committed to memory. And there are useless spiritual genes that Asaph wants out of the gene pool: genes that code for thick-headed rebelliousness, unfaithful spirits and unprepared hearts.

I’ve got a lot of memories of reading the Bible together with my family. Dad would gather my mom, my brother, and me, and we’d read out loud from, say, the gospels or Isaiah or Genesis. At the time, I often would have rather been drawing or playing with action figures, but in retrospect, I realize I’m fortunate to have a dad who passed on the spiritual genes of faith and discipline that he’d received, not simply a dad reproducing biologically.

I’m fortunate my dad was a son of Asaph.

4 thoughts on “Psalm 78 – Sing a Song of Gene Therapy

  1. I thank God for my parents doing the same sort of spiritual nurturing as yours. We are so very blessed. Today was the last day of the local Vacation Bible School that Max and Ruby were attending. The sweet lady who was the leader of the preschool/kindergarten crew pulled me aside and said, “We are just all so impressed with Max! That boy knows his Bible stories backwards and forwards!”
    It was really kind of her to say, especially since where Max is concerned I feel like I rarely get anything right as a parent. Maybe at least I’ve done that right: reading Bible stories to the kids every night of their lives (well, I’ve probably missed a few, but not many). God’s word does not return void. That’s a promise worth clinging to!


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