Psalms 78

1 This introduction indicates that it was common for family groups to gather and listen as the head of the household passed on the history of their family. Common means of communicating history were stories (parables, allegories), sayings (psalms, proverbs), and historical accounts.
4 The writer is motivated to have all people come to know God. He also knows that history gives a good foundation because God's works are evident throughout.
5 For the Israelites, God's promise and work through their patriarch is one of their most important historical markers.
6 The people were to pass their history on so that future generations would have faith in God.
8 They were also to learn not to be like the bad examples from the past that forgot or ignored God.
17 Rebellion against God is not always open warfare. The most basic rebellion is not believing and trusting God.
19 God does not prohibit us from asking questions, but we are to ask with the understanding that God will provide the things we need. During the wilderness journey, the Israelites challenged God with this question. They were not asking with faith.
20 Ironically, they acknowledge that God performed a miracle by providing water from a rock, but they did not believe God was able to provide them with food.
21 Of course, God was furious. He had worked many miracles while freeing the Israelites from slavery by the Egyptians. He had already proven that He cared for them, protected them, and would provide for them. He had only begun to show them His infinite love, and they already doubted He could finish what He had promised.
23 Despite His anger, God continued to bless the Israelites. He met their challenge, although He would have done it anyway if they had asked in faith.
25 Although this verse is commonly rendered as "bread of angels," the literal translation is, "bread of the mighty," and refers to people of nobility. Such people often have the best foods, but the food that God provided was far superior.
26 When the Israelites rejected the miraculous bread from heaven, He gave them meat to eat, as their hearts desired. In fact, He gave them much more than they could possibly want to teach them not to challenge Him.
31 In a final lesson in the matter, God killed many of the unbelievers with a terrible plague (Num 11:33). This is a warning to those who would challenge God's abilities and then overindulge when He proves Himself true. When we have needs, we should ask God with humbleness, respect, and faith. When He provides, we should acknowledge His provision with worship and thanksgiving.