Psalm 78 is entitled “Lessons From Israel’s Past” as I’m doing a devotional (devo) in Chapter 8, Day 1 of Bill Johnson’s book Hosting the Presence. Day 1 is “The Power of the Testimony.” This is perfect timing and even more perfect because I didn’t wanna do the devo in the first place. Something inside beckoned me…so, why is this perfect? Because I’ve been struggling to write…and also have been believing testimonies have become pissing contests. And with this belief, I slowly stopped sharing what God was doing in my life in fear of being perceived as conceited. Lack of gratefulness started creeping in so when God would do something praise worthy, it just wasn’t as spectacular as before. I came to a place where I needed to examine my heart. Fear was holding me back.
Sure, I still felt God’s joy and peace and still spent time seeking God. My prayers, reading and “activities” started turning into chores. I would thank God for things a little begrudgingly at times – I believe we need to offer praise even when it’s hard. This was a sowing season without me knowing till now…I was hanging onto God’s pinkie nail while He never let go of me.
And ya know I’m glad I came to the dining room table and opened this book. Day 1 explains why we share testimonies and references 2 jaw-dropping scriptures (well, in my case at least hehe). Bill Johnson writes, “Whether the testimony is a thousand years old or a minute old, if it accurately reveals the nature and character of God, it contains the potential to release His Presence. In addition, by sharing what the Lord has done, we are actually setting our audience up to experience Him in that same way. He is no respecter of persons. What He did for one person, He will do for another. What He did in the days of the apostles, He will do today. He is unchanging, and longs to reveal who He is through His supernatural activity.”
On the next page, Johnson continues to write, “D.L. Moody, Evan Roberts, and Charles Finney are no longer on the earth. However, their lives still possess relevance for us if we accept the invitation their testimonies and stories present.” These ideas helped answer some of the questions I was asking God, and the Word referenced in this devo was just amazing to follow-up. Revelation 19:10 HSCB says, “Then I fell at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow slave with you and your brothers who have the testimony about Jesus. Worship God, because the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” This helped me understand it’s not a competition and Jesus gets the real glory (shwooo, that’s a load off my back).
In Psalm 78:1-8, 3 verses popped out to me – v. 4, 7-8. ” [v.4] We must not hide them from their children, but must tell a future generation the praises of the Lord, His might, and the wonderful works He has performed. [v. 7-8] Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their ancestors—a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.” We must share testimonies for our children’s and future generation’s sake. A lot of adults living now don’t experience God’s glory therefore not sharing the goodness. The less and less we share as adults, the less and less our children will see God as they grow up and by the time they’re our age, God will be non-existent for them. I also think it’s interesting Psalm 78 is entitled “Lessons From Israel’s Past” because the idea of being enslaved and being set free only to give away authority is true of everyone. We beg for God’s help, get the help then start moaning and complaining-forgetting lessons from our past. And curiously enough v. 4 cross references Exodus 12: 26.
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“When your children ask you, ‘What does this ritual mean to you?'” and that verse cross references Exodus 13:8 and v. 14 which says, ” [v.8] On that day explain to your son, ‘This is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ [v. 14] In the future, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘By the strength of His hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.” We pray, do church activities and listen to worship music…what are you explaining to the world? what do these rituals mean to you?