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Psalm 105:711; 106:67, 1921, 4045comment (0)

September 17, 2009

By Douglas Wilson

Related Scripture: Psalm 105:711; 106:67, 1921, 4045

Explore the Bible
Associate Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile

Psalm 105:7–11; 106:6–7, 19–21, 40–45

These psalms summarize the history of God’s care for Israel. Both open with a call to give thanks, yet their content is markedly distinct. The focus of Psalm 105 is the Lord’s covenant relationship with Israel, beginning with Abraham. Psalm 106 is a hallelujah psalm, referring to the use of that Hebrew phrase in the initial and concluding verses of the song. This anthem of praise reminded Israel that in spite of all its rebellious acts against God, He is faithful to His character. What a way to conclude Book Four of Psalms.

Believers often consider the faithfulness of God in light of their circumstances. In truth, God is faithful regardless of our difficulties, dilemmas or desires. He is faithful to be just, loving, gracious, holy and approachable.

God’s Faithfulness Is Evident (105:7–11)
The psalmist reminds worshipers in Psalm 105 that God was faithful throughout the generations even before Israel became a nation. His covenant faithfulness was not dependent upon the righteousness of the patriarchs but upon His character. Abraham lied about his wife to save himself; so did Isaac. Jacob deceived his father and stole from his brother. Yet these men received God’s promise of a land, a people and an eternal blessing that was to be their inheritance. God is faithful.

Genesis 15:6 states that Abram (later Abraham) believed God. His faith was based on previous demonstration of God’s faithfulness. He made a promise to bless Abram (Gen. 12:3). This same promise was given to Isaac (Gen. 26:4) and later to Jacob (Gen. 28:14). Each man received the promise by faith, having confident assurance that God is faithful.

God’s People Forget (106:6–7, 19–21)
In contrast to the previous song, Psalm 106 calls for God’s people to praise Him in light of their constant failures. One of their greatest faults was a failure to remember God’s care for them. Early on, Israel demonstrated impatience with God. After experiencing deliverance from the plagues in Egypt, the people complained while on the shores of the Red Sea. When God delivered them from the Egyptian army, they complained about their diet. They questioned Moses’ authority, something ordained by God. They gave glory to a man-made calf for their deliverance (Ex. 32:1–4). A second fault was failing to pass on the testimony of God’s faithfulness to their children and grandchildren. Moses had warned Israel about failing to remember the Lord in Deuteronomy 6:12. The passage goes on to tell fathers to teach their children. The decrees are to remind them of God’s faithfulness to His people (Deut. 6:20–25).

Today many Christians are ignorant of God’s Word. They cannot remember examples of God’s faithfulness through the generations because they do not know them. Many feel that it is a waste of time to read the Old Testament since we are New Testament believers. The problem is that they fail to recognize that the Law and the Prophets are the foundation upon which the New Testament is laid. We cannot remember what we never learned in the first place. God help us to be diligent students of His Word.

God’s Mercy Amazes (106:40–45)
In order to understand this passage, one must not overlook the preceding verses. When Israel entered Canaan, it did not rid the land of all its former inhabitants. Instead it sought peaceful coexistence with the remnant. The result was that Israel took up the practices of the Canaanites, including illicit fertility rites and infant sacrifice, activities about which God had previously warned it (Lev. 18). The desire to fit in with the surrounding culture overshadowed it. It failed to reflect God’s holiness. Israel chose satisfaction over sanctification. So does the church.

God’s righteous anger resulted in Israel facing foreign oppression. Its own rebellion and waywardness led to suffering and subjection. Yet in God’s mercy, He responded when it called upon Him. He demonstrated His faithfulness by keeping the covenant He initiated with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In the words of a familiar chorus, “Lord, I’m amazed by you.”

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