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Singing Psalm 78 to build a winning team

"O come, my people, to my law

    Attentively give ear;

The words that from my mouth proceed

    Incline yourselves to hear.” ~ Psalm 78:1

Is it doable to build a winning team that embraces God’s purpose, patience, and presence?

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

“Above all else, guard your heart,

    for everything you do flows from it.” ~ Proverbs 4:23

You build a winning team when:

  • You have a common goal.

  • You know who the leader is.

  • You continually plan, prepare mentally, and practice physically.

  • Doing your best, you ignore attempts that push you to be the best.

  • Doing your best makes your teammates better.

  • You play to your strengths.

  • You have each other’s back.

  • You make up for one another’s weaknesses as a team, not as one individual trying to outshine another.

  • You know the opposing team and have good will toward them.

  • You have specific set plays to counter their moves.

  • You are not surprised by anything your opponent does. You used to play on that team and got traded. 

  • Your enemy is not who you think it is.

“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” ~ 2 Corinthians 11:14–15

  • You think it ludicrous to fall for the team-defeating behaviors of competing with or rebelling against the leader of your team or against your teammates.

  • You don’t expect perfection but embrace correction.

Singing Psalm 78 you build a winning team with those you love by encouraging them to incline themselves to hear, to remember, to keep attentive, and to not forget all that God is to his people and all that he does for us.

To embark on a goal like that, it’s vital that those on your team know, remember, and not forget in their minds and in their hearts who leads them, has their backs, and whose covenant love is unending. Singing Psalm 78 helps you avoid the pitfall of assuming they know when they really don’t know. You certainly can’t remember and not forget that which you do not know.

Singing Psalm 78 to build a winning team that embraces God’s purpose

“We’ll from their children hide them not,

    But tell the age to come

The praises of the LORD, His strength,

    The wonders He has done.

His word He unto Jacob gave,

    His law to Israel,

Which He our fathers did command

    To teach their children well,

That children yet unborn might know,

    And their descendants lead,

To trust in God, recall God’s works,

    And His commandments heed;

And not be what their fathers were –

    Rebellious through and through,

For they would not correct their hearts,

    Nor unto God stay true.”  ~ Psalm 78:4–8

Though I succeeded at not being what my parents were, by singing songs that glorified rebellion and disordered desires, I surpassed them discovering new and improved ways of getting lost. Singing Psalm 78 you learn to not be what your parents were without becoming worse than they were. Your attention is drawn to what results from human pride and rebellion.

Remember God’s purpose.

    “Many are the plans in the mind of a man,

        but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” ~ Proverbs 19:21

You build a winning team that embraces God’s purpose and finds motivation to figure out from his word how to be humble and follow his ways. Sinning against God earns death. The only way out of eternal death is by trusting God that in his mercy, the blood of Jesus paid the price of death that put your sins to death instead of you.

You build a winning team to embrace God’s purpose as you correct your heart and walk as a new creation in Christ.

Singing Psalm 78 to build a winning team that embraces God’s patience

“They’d turn and seek God eagerly    When He had made some die;Then they remembered, God, their Rock,    Their Savior, God Most High.But Him they served with empty words,    And with their tongue, they lied;Their heart was not sincere toward Him,    His cov’nant they denied.” ~ Psalm 78:34-37

Lies, insincerity, and denying the truth of God’s covenant love lead to death.

When God brings about physical death, his severity serves as a warning to the rest of God’s people to build a winning team by remembering his covenant and following his ways.

“Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.” ~ Romans 11:22

Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit and swiftly, one after the other, judgment came upon them each as they fell down and breathed their last. “And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all the heard of these things.” ~ Acts 5:11

God would build a winning team by establishing his church on truth which is God’s way, not on falsehood, which directly opposes God.

“You must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the age has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:9-13

When God refrains from bringing about physical death and shows mercy and compassion, his kindness serves to break hearts of rebellion and love for sin. God’s kindness is meant to lead God’s people to repentance. When death is what we deserve, but we receive life instead, our hearts are primed to build a winning team that is attracted to God rather than sin.

After the great salvation he worked for Israel out of Egypt, they questioned whether God could sustain them.

They spoke against their God and said,

    “Can even God provide

A table in the wilderness

    That we may be supplied?

But can he give his people bread

    And furnish them with meat?” ~ Psalm 78:19-20

I have tried God’s patience when I spoke of his faithfulness while at the same time being anxious in unbelief about whether or not he would take care of us. Quiet but nonetheless deceptive hypocrisy strangles the believer on the outside who is an atheist within.

“The heart is deceitful above all things,and desperately sick;who can understand it?” ~ Jeremiah 17:9

Singing Psalm 78 is the perfect remedy for the “I know what’s best for me” thinking trap that keeps you from desiring to be on God’s winning team. When things don’t go the way you think would be best for you, or when what you think is best for you is actually in opposition to God’s ways, you end up quite anxious. You forget the winning team you are a part of building and are in danger of sliding off the path of righteousness. Singing Psalm 78 gives you ample warnings to examine the ways of your parents and to be careful not to repeat the ways that they were rebellious, and of course, not to invent ways of your own to rebel against God.

Remember God’s patience.

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” ~ 2 Peter 3:9

The word of God cuts to both sides of the heart discerning the thoughts and intentions of it.

“And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” ~ Hebrews 4:12-13

“Yet He, instead of killing them,

    Forgave iniquity,

And in compassion He restrained

    His wrath repeatedly.

His anger He does not stir up.

    That they are flesh He knows –

A wind that never does return

    When once it comes and goes.” ~ Psalm 78:38–39

Singing Psalm 78 to build a winning team that embraces God’s presence

God placed his guiding presence within the heart of David, the king of Israel. His heart was to build a winning team for God starting with Israel.

David is a foreshadow that points to God’s everlasting presence through Jesus, God, the Son, the Good Shepherd. Jesus is the way to God, the Father.

You build a winning team in your thoughts by weeding independence and nourishing roots of God the Holy Spirit, counseling, comforting, and permanently indwelling God’s people to prepare us to be a suitable dwelling place for both God the Father and God the Son.

Remember God’s presence.

“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” ~ Revelation 21:22

You build a winning team by deeply remembering that Jesus promises he is and will be with you always. His caring presence makes all the difference so that like David, you can correct your heart and imitate his caring presence toward those he has given you to influence.

“He split the sea, to let them pass,

    The water stood aside;

By day, he led them with the cloud,

    And fire at night to guide…

He for His servant David chose,

    Took him from guarding sheep.

From tending ewes He brought him out

    To Shepherd Jacob well,

To care for his inheritance,

    His chosen Israel.

So with integrity of heart

    Them faithfully he fed;

And with his understanding hands,

He guided as he led.” ~ Psalm 78:13-14, 70-72

May 30, 2022 – May 3, 2024


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