Read Psalm 106
1 Praise the Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
2 Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord
or fully declare his praise?
3 Blessed are those who act justly,
who always do what is right.
4 Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people,
come to my aid when you save them,
5 that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may share in the joy of your nation
and join your inheritance in giving praise.
6 We have sinned, even as our ancestors did;
we have done wrong and acted wickedly.
7 When our ancestors were in Egypt,
they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.
8 Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
to make his mighty power known.
9 He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up;
he led them through the depths as through a desert.
10 He saved them from the hand of the foe;
from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.
11 The waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them survived.
12 Then they believed his promises
and sang his praise.
13 But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
14 In the desert they gave in to their craving;
in the wilderness they put God to the test.
15 So he gave them what they asked for,
but sent a wasting disease among them.
16 In the camp they grew envious of Moses
and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the Lord.
17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan;
it buried the company of Abiram.
18 Fire blazed among their followers;
a flame consumed the wicked.
19 At Horeb they made a calf
and worshiped an idol cast from metal.
20 They exchanged their glorious God
for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
21 They forgot the God who saved them,
who had done great things in Egypt,
22 miracles in the land of Ham
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
23 So he said he would destroy them—
had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him
to keep his wrath from destroying them.
24 Then they despised the pleasant land;
they did not believe his promise.
25 They grumbled in their tents
and did not obey the Lord.
26 So he swore to them with uplifted hand
that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
27 make their descendants fall among the nations
and scatter them throughout the lands.
28 They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor
and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods;
29 they aroused the Lord’s anger by their wicked deeds,
and a plague broke out among them.
30 But Phinehas stood up and intervened,
and the plague was checked.
31 This was credited to him as righteousness
for endless generations to come.
32 By the waters of Meribah they angered the Lord,
and trouble came to Moses because of them;
33 for they rebelled against the Spirit of God,
and rash words came from Moses’ lips.
34 They did not destroy the peoples
as the Lord had commanded them,
35 but they mingled with the nations
and adopted their customs.
36 They worshiped their idols,
which became a snare to them.
37 They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to false gods.
38 They shed innocent blood,
the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
and the land was desecrated by their blood.
39 They defiled themselves by what they did;
by their deeds they prostituted themselves.
40 Therefore the Lord was angry with his people
and abhorred his inheritance.
41 He gave them into the hands of the nations,
and their foes ruled over them.
42 Their enemies oppressed them
and subjected them to their power.
43 Many times he delivered them,
but they were bent on rebellion
and they wasted away in their sin.
44 Yet he took note of their distress
when he heard their cry;
45 for their sake he remembered his covenant
and out of his great love he relented.
46 He caused all who held them captive
to show them mercy.
47 Save us, Lord our God,
and gather us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.
48 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Let all the people say, “Amen!”
Praise the Lord.
In today’s reading, we find a detailed account of Israel’s failures, follies, and fears, yet the psalmist bookends the chapter with praise to the Lord. At first glance, these seem like disparate messages thrown into a chapter without logical reasoning. If we carefully step along the path of Israel’s story, however, we find God’s provision as a marker throughout the journey. And God’s provision is always a purpose for praise.
Psalm 106:6 declares the writers’ message: “We have sinned, even as our ancestors did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly.” The next several verses outline the Israelites’ pattern: Israel forgets God’s goodness, they suffer the natural consequences of their sin, God shows mercy, Israel praises Him, then repeats. How does this apply to us today? We can see ourselves, our tendency toward forgetfulness and desire for instant gratification, in Israel’s actions. We forget His many kindnesses (v. 7). We do not wait for His plan to unfold (v. 13). We exchange His glory for earthly things (v. 20). We complain and disobey Him (v. 25).
Much like Israel’s story, we may experience God’s goodness but soon forget, grow impatient, or complain. Perhaps we pray for a job but then complain when it’s challenging. Or maybe we trust God to provide miraculous healing but not to provide the strength to endure the pain of illness. Sometimes we pray for His will to be revealed but only look for it to emerge as our own preference. As we walk along Israel’s path, we begin to see that it is our path, as well. God is the same God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so we can learn much of God’s character through this summary:
- He saves us to make His power known (v. 8)
- He leads us through impossible depths (v.9)
- He delivers us over and over (v. 43)
- He hears our cry (v. 44)
- He remembers His promises to love us (v. 45)
For any of these things, God deserves our praise. For all these things, He deserves our devotion.
- What is an experience where you forgot God’s goodness, grew impatient for His plan to unfold, or complained resulting in disobedience to Him?
- What is an experience from your own life where God’s goodness saved you, led you through impossible circumstances, or delivered you?
- The psalmist memorialized the Israelites journey and God’s goodness through writing. How can you memorialize your experiences so they are remembered?
The psalmist begins and ends the chapter praising God, and he calls, “Let all the people say, ‘Amen!’” Watch this video of Matt Maher’s song, “All the People Said Amen!” and use this as an opportunity to give praise to the Lord.
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