Yes, with 72 verses to cover in a month or so, we MUST consider a couple (at least) of verses per day. From beautiful Psalm 78, Asaph’s longest contribution to Scripture.
The “Class” (remember, the Psalm is “instructive, educational”) begins with the teacher making an opening statement, telling us his “goal” really. You might say that the “key” to opening Psalm 78 has been placed at its front door!
Psalm 78:1-3 commands: “Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.”
The verb “give ear” is “azan” in Hebrew, an imperative (requirement, mandate) meaning “to listen,” but to this degree: “to perceive (understand, comprehend) by the sense of hearing.” It also implies “obedience” following the “hearing!”
The noun “people” (in Hebrew “am”) means one’s “folks,” nearly one’s kinsmen!
The word “law” (spelled “torah”) means “instruction.” For example, the first five Books of the Bible (Genesis through Deuteronomy) are called the “Torah,” God’s words of advice, teaching, LAW, to Israel.
“To incline” one’s ears means “to bend down, to learn forward,” that eager to learn!
Asaph has established himself as a teacher in Israel. But here under the direct leadership (inspiration) of the Holy Spirit, the True Author of all the Bible.
In Verse 2 the noun “parable” is interesting. It is “mashal” and means (19 times anyway) a “proverb!” Wisdom is coming! The parallel term “dark saying” however implies something “put forth,” illustrative material. Sometimes not clearly understood! In fact, “chiyad” means “riddle” 9 times in the Old Testament.
But here (in verse 3) Asaph claims no originality to his classroom content. He is teaching them: “dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.” Vital Truth which has been passed down through the generations from “old.” From Adam to Enoch to Noah. From Noah to Shem and so forth!
Get ready for a “history lesson” now!
That’s essentially what Psalm 78 is, with God’s interpretative Wisdom alongside!
Verses 1-3 really call the class to order.
Oh, today, how we need to hear God’s word like this.
To read and re-read the Bible Stories of time past.
To observe God’s Mighty Acts … for His people’s sake.
Even more “statement of purpose” is coming tomorrow, really.
Meanwhile, let’s think (ponder, meditate) on today’s Text: “Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.”
— Dr. Mike Bagwell