Psalm 78 & God’s Attraction to the Unworthy

In Psalm 78, after speaking for the large part of 64 verses about Israel’s stubbornness, rebellion, and wickedness…after God brought judgment of Israel…and without Israel showing any sign of repentance…

Suddenly, we read:

Then the Lord awoke as from sleep...
He beat back His enemies...
He built His sanctuary like the heights...
(Psalm 78:65-69)

Why did God do this? Everything thus far indicated that Israel did not deserve it.

Further, the end of this Psalm tells us that:

God did not choose the tribe of Ephraim...
[God] chose David His servant,
And took him from the sheepfolds
(Psalm 78:67-72)

Intriguingly, the Psalm begins by telling us that:

The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows,
Turned back in the day of battle.
(Psalm 78:9)

So notice the contrast:

  • Ephraim was armed and had strong weapons, but was rejected
  • David was watching sheep (and you’ll recall against Goliath that he had no armor and pathetic weaponry), yet was chosen

Thus, we are faced with 2 times at the end of Psalm 78 that God does something amazing with the unworthy:

  1. He rescued “unworthy” Israel (Psalm 78:65-66)
  2. He chose “unworthy” David (Psalm 78:70-72)

Jesus only continues this theme when saying things like:

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick…I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.

Matt. 9:12-13

Of course, the Bible is adamant that we are all unworthy of God. But it seems there is a special place in God’s heart for those who recognize their unworthiness and inability while appealing to God’s worthiness and ability.

May that be true of us.


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