“The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.”
As I was reading Psalm 78 recently, I found this verse (vs.9) intriguing and I wanted to know more about the story or incident to which Asaph was referring in this psalm. The reference in my study bible suggested that perhaps it was referring to Ephraim’s conflict with Jephthah in Judges 12, verses 1-7. I do not claim to be a bible scholar, but the conflict described in Judges 12 does not make any mention of the children of Ephraim turning back in the day of battle, rather it is describing a conflict in which they arrive after the battle between Jephthah and the people of Ammon and they are angry that Jephthah did not wait on them while Jephthah accuses the tribe of Ephraim of not coming to his assistance when he called them.
Whatever battle it is to which Asaph was referring in Psalm 78 this passage in psalm is lamenting Israel’s faithlessness and this is just the first example the psalmist uses. The passage brings to my mind the words to the song “Courageous” written by Casting Crowns for the movie “Courageous”. The lyrics of this song speak straight to the heart of a nation whose foundation is crumbling as Biblical worldviews clash with current culture.
We were warriors on the front lines
But now we’re watchers on the sidelines
While our families slip away
Where are you, men of courage?
You were made for so much more
Let the pounding of our hearts cry
We will serve the Lord.
If ever there was a nation and a generation that readily had at their disposal the tools to arm themselves for spiritual battle it is our nation and our generation. The internet to which great men of God post their sermons, books, and the accessibility of scripture which contains all that men need to arm themselves leave our generation without excuse, but I am afraid the distractions that vie for man’s time and attention have delayed and diverted the battle. Will our generation find that like the children of Ephraim they have arrived too late for battle or perhaps being armed they will turn back?