A devotion on PSALM 78:1-24
A maskil of Asaph.
A Maskiyl is a poem or song of contemplation. It comes from the root word sakal which has to do with prudence, understanding, wisdom, and spiritual prosperity. Think immediately of executive brain functions and the concept of intelligence: alertness, focus, attention, consideration, comprehension, and insight leading to skill and expertise.
I see sakal in my James when he is untiringly making a knife in his dad’s workshop for hours on end, researching, imagining, learning how the metal behaves, altering, analyzing, milling incredible magic.
I see sakal in my Paul on the guitar, again, working on a piece for hours on end, day after day, indefatigably repeating drills that sometimes make me cringe, bent over, rhythm moving his soul and every little facial muscle, shredding magic. Cognition + repetition to develop skill = sakal.
We can experience sakal in the study of God’s word. Psalm 119:18 says, “Open my eyes that I might see wonderful things in your law.” Let that melt over you like caramel. Psalm 119:130 says, “the unfolding of your Word gives light.” You can’t rush this or just dabble in it from time to time. You can have a cursory read of this cumulation of words, or you can sit spell-bound at Holy Spirit’s feet, sparks flying at the grinder, notes bending like a contortionist and experience soul renovation day after day. Renewal from unseen wells of sustenance giving you skill for living; for taking on whatever the day hurls at you.
The secret? It is spelled T I M E – day after day, for years! Spend quiet time in Holy Spirit’s workshop or operating room. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor. 3:17, 18. I wish you sakal in the word today, my friends.
1 My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.
Yesterday we talked about remembrance. God cherishes us remembering the waters he parted and the waves that we walked. Not only are we to keep those accounts fresh in our own minds but they are our precious gift to the next generation. Big victories, small victories – tell them to someone. In so doing, you are watering and fertilizing mighty oaks, though they may be the size of tiny, even unseen seeds. God’s great works in your life are not about you, my friend. Things that you do that you can’t explain are not about you. Experiences you survived mysteriously are not about you. They are not yours to hide from your descendants. They are to tell the next generation.
That means get in their faces and talk to them. Make a habit of sitting on their beds while they are in those filthy rooms they never get out of. Don’t tell them to clean their rooms, sit on those filthy sheets and water an oak. Invest and play their favorite game with them and ask Holy Spirit to use the darned game to give an opportunity to exalt Christ. Sit together at the dinner table without gadgets. Solicit their help preparing dinner. Text them what God did for you or point out what he did for them.
I have to tell you, there is something magical about being in a different environment from the house. Talks transpire in the car that will never happen in at home. My kid is a different person on the ten minute drive to karate. I capitalize on that brief time. Take them on a date. Words tumble out that they’d never otherwise expose. Get into their life. Be quiet and listen. Pray while they talk. Ask Holy Spirit to give you sakal, intelligence, for this practice of employing your intellect to learn skills. He knows your kids and grandkids. Open our eyes that we might look past the annoyances and see wonderful things, Holy Spirit. Unfold these little, or not so little, mysterious humanoids so we can understand them.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
8 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.
9 The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle;
10 they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law.
11 They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.
This brims tears in my eyes. That God would walk us through ten, thirty, sixty, ninety years of hard life on earth, performing miracle after miracle in our lives and we would fail to see those miracles or neglect to remember and recount them. Forgive us of this atrocious sin, merciful Father.
12 He did miracles in the sight of their ancestors in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and led them through; he made the water stand up like a wall.
14 He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night.
15 He split the rocks in the wilderness and gave them water as abundant as the seas;
16 he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers.
17 But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High.
18 They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved.
19 They spoke against God; they said, “Can God really spread a table in the wilderness?
20 True, he struck the rock, and water gushed out, streams flowed abundantly,
but can he also give us bread? Can he supply meat for his people?”
21 When the Lord heard them, he was furious;
his fire broke out against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel,
22 for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance.
23 Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens;
24 he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven.
If you are alive, beloved, you have a story.
If you have breath today – you are a story!hannah tk
Throw out the names of your children and grandchildren on the comments section today. Let’s pray for each other and for them. It is not too late though we have dropped the ball this whole time. It is never too late. Those people are not placed in your life to annoy you and give you high blood pressure. When you look at those faces, see, with eyes of faith, the next generation of the mighty army of God. Fortunately for us and them, it is ‘“not by power and not by might, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Zech. 4:6.
What is your maskil? Tell someone what God has done!