Today: [Psalm 106] The Undeserved Kindness of God. In this chapter the writer rehearses the litany of Israel’s sins and the continued goodness of God. There are times that intercession requires us to go back and honestly admit how deeply we have failed God’s heart toward us. We must have these “honest to God” moments in order that we don’t fall into bitterness and complaint as though God is unfairly treating us. In those heartfelt responses we are cleansed and positioned to see His hand working in our present distresses.
[Psa 106:1-48 KJV] 1 Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever. 2 Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? [who] can shew forth all his praise? 3 Blessed [are] they that keep judgment, [and] he that doeth righteousness at all times. 4 Remember me, O LORD, with the favour [that thou bearest unto] thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; 5 That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance. 6 We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly. 7 Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked [him] at the sea, [even] at the Red sea. 8 Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known. 9 He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. 10 And he saved them from the hand of him that hated [them], and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. 11 And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left. 12 Then believed they his words; they sang his praise. 13 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: 14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. 15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
Psalm 106 does not mention the name of its author or the time of its writing. There are 3 opinions as to when Psalm 106 were penned. Some believe it was written during the time of the Judges when there was no king in Israel. Others believe it was written during the captivity to Babylon. Still others believe that it was in fact written by David and delivered to Asaph because it mentions events contemporary to David’s time.
The psalm is a litany of the sins of Israel and a declaration of the covenant and the faithfulness of God. When verse 1 says “Praise ye the Lord” the Arabic version uses the term “hallelujuah” and in fact the Arabic version titles the psalm with this praise word. The verse calls for thanks to God because of His goodness and His enduring mercy. There are times you may feel the mercy of God is not finding you but be assured at the end of the matter you may be facing the mercy of God will be seen as the one great constant in your life.
Verse 3 tells us that we are blessed when we keep the judgments of God and walk in His righteousness. Many times we fall into the error of believing that if we merely assent and agree with God’s word faith will be increased and blessing will come. This verse points out that we must KEEP and DO the commands of God. In other words as Jesus says in Luke 17:20,21 that the kingdom doesn’t come with observation we must DO something. Faith without works is dead declares the writer of James.
In verse 4 the writer calls out to God to be remembered and shown favor. The favor of God doesn’t just come without our participation. We must pray for it. Prayer is required in order that the thing God already intends is our portion will be released to us. Faith is the dipper by which we dispense into our own lives what God has intended to be our benefit. Let your mouth pray!
The first part of the psalm extols the goodness of God and His faithfulness to those that love Him. In verse 6 we turn to darker themes as the writer begins to itemize the disobedience of the nation. Is it necessary to point out all this failure? Yes it is. Men suffer and shake their fist in God’s face as though they did not deserve to go through whatever difficulty they are facing. Therefore our shortcomings often need to be brought to our mind lest we erroneously believe that God is merely capriciously tormenting us. It isn’t God that brings evil upon us – it is our own misconduct.
In verses 7-8 the writer observes that the people in Moses day did not understand what the 10 wonders in Egypt meant. They had no clue as to why God was doing what He did – yet He still delivered them. Even after they came out of Egypt the people quickly set aside that kindness and mercy and complained for 40 years in the wilderness. Nevertheless verse 8 tells us God saved them for His name’s sake that He might make His power known.
Christian theology often teaches that God will not save us if we are not in right relationship with Him. Psalm 106:7-9 contradict this. God will and does often intervene in our lives not as a testament to our godliness or deservedness but as a testament to His lovingkindness and mercy in our behalf.
In verses 14-15 we see a passage that invokes the fear of God in our hearts. The people lusted or longed for meat and accused God of starving them because they were weary of the mannah. In response God indeed sent them quail but they ate so much of it many of them died in the aftermath. The commentary of the author of this Psalm is that God will send us the desire of our heart at times resulting in leanness in our soul because our attitude was one of bitter complaint instead of thankful trustfulness in the goodness of God to deliver us.
16 They envied Moses also in the camp, [and] Aaron the saint of the LORD. 17 The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram. 18 And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked. 19 They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. 20 Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass. 21 They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; 22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham, [and] terrible things by the Red sea. 23 Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy [them]. 24 Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: 25 But murmured in their tents, [and] hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD. 26 Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness: 27 To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands. 28 They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. 29 Thus they provoked [him] to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them. 30 Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and [so] the plague was stayed. 31 And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.
Verses 16-18 recount the leadership confrontation where the people challenged the right of Moses and Aaron to lead the camp. As a result the earth opened up and swallowed Dathan and Abiram and all their companions and family members.
In verses 19-23 the people wearied of waiting for Moses and formed a molten calf to be a false god to lead them back to Egypt. Because of this God apparently decided to reject the entire company but Moses stood in the gap and told God if He was going to destroy the people to take HIS name out of His book. Thus Moses turned the anger of the Lord and the people were spared.
After this the people began to worship the idols of the nations through whose territory they were passing. They engaged in ritual prostitution and a plague broke out among them that was not stayed until Phinehas stood up against the sin of the people and the assault was lifted.
32 They angered [him] also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: 33 Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips. 34 They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: 35 But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. 36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. 37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, 38 And shed innocent blood, [even] the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. 39 Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. 40 Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance. 41 And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them. 42 Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand. 43 Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked [him] with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity. 44 Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry: 45 And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies. 46 He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives. 47 Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, [and] to triumph in thy praise. 48 Blessed [be] the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD.
In verse 32-33 there is a reminder of the people complaining at the waters of Mirebah resulting in Moses becoming angry and losing out on his final destiny to bring the people of God into their land of promise. There is mention afterward of Joshua leading the people against the nations in Canaan but that the people refused to drive out the inhabitants of the land. Instead they mingled their culture with theirs and engaged in the idolatrous practices that plagued Israel until they were destroyed as a nation and fully taken into captivity.
Over and over again the mention is made of the disobediene of the people and the mercy of God to deliver them and give them another chance. Finally the writer in the midst of a current crises cries out to God once again. The sins of the people have been acknowledged. Intercession is now offered upon that God would once again be merciful and show forth His kindness as He did in times past.
This psalm is a sobering example of intercession for us. Our lives in truth are anything but testaments to how good and faithful we have been to God. It is necessary and needful that we clear the air going back to the beginning of our relationship with God and justify His goodness in contrast to our oft disobedience. This is the path of humility and contrition that will bring God on the scene once again to deliver and bless us in spite of our disqualification for His benefits because of His lovingkindness.
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