PSALM 106 TALK: REMEMBER GOD’S LOVE AND PRAISE HIM

PSALM 106 TALK: REMEMBER GOD’S LOVE AND PRAISE HIM

 (A Psalm that recalls the marvelous loving deeds of God in the past for his people Israel who continually rebelled against God yet God still loved them by hearing their cries for mercy and help and over and over again God saved them or delivered them from their many enemies. This remembering of Israel’s past sins and God’s loving response to them is the basis of true praise and hope in God for all of us.)

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INTRODUCTION

The other day I came across an amazing Face book post, which featured the well -known and famous comedian and actor named Jim Carey. In this post Carey is attending the opening of a new Christian rehabilitation centre in Los Angeles called “Homeboy Industries. This Christian based centre run by Rev. Gregory J. Boyle aims to provide hope, training and support for former criminal gang members and ex- prisoners.

Jim Carey shared what I would call his testimony a powerful story of a man who had deep and troubling problems of depression and drug abuse coming to faith in The Lord Jesus Christ and being transformed by that. Carey said this,

“Ultimately, I believe that suffering presents us with two options – resentment or forgiveness. While resentment is a self – destructive path and that forgiveness leads to grace”.

 Carey then went on to remind the people at this centres opening of their common life changing faith in Jesus Christ with these words,

“Your being here is an indication that you’ve made that decision already. You made the decision to walk through the gate of forgiveness to grace just as Christ did on the cross”.

 Psalm 106 is a Psalm written by a Jewish man who we believe lived at the time that he and his people were trapped in a foreign country called Babylon, the big super power of his day and he believed they were there in exile and captivity because of their many sins of rebellion to their God who had shown them love and salvation over and over again only to have that love and salvation met with sin and rebellion.

He wants his readers to remember how God had shown them love and salvation all through there long history and by remembering this they could truly praise there great God of love. As he writes in the opening verse of his Psalm,

“Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever”.

 He also hoped to find God’s love and salvation again to bring him and his people out of bondage in Babylon to their God given home in the Promised Land of Israel, as he writes in verse 47,

“Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise”.

 Like Jim Carey the writer of Psalm 106 knew the truth that “suffering leads to salvation” and that we must make the decision to. “walk through the gate of forgiveness to grace”.

 So many in our world today refuse to admit they need God’s forgiveness and the result of that is as Jim Carey found before he came to Christ that not knowing the forgiveness of God leads to resentment and its self destructive path expressed today in self harm activities like alcoholism, drug taking and many other soul destroying negative activities.

We need to confess our sins to God like the writer of Psalm 106 expresses in verse 6,

“We have sinned even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly”.

 Only when we have done this will we know the amazing grace of God with its life-changing message of forgiveness in Christ through his death for our sins on the cross.

With the message of remembering our rebellion and sin to God and his amazing love or grace in response to that my outline for this Psalm is:

  1. (1 – 5)   REMEMBER GOD’S LOVE AND PRAISE HIM – INTRODUCTION
  1. (1 – 3)   Remember God’s love and praise him stated
  2. (4 – 5)   God remember me

  

  1. (6 – 12)   REMEMBER REBELLION AND GOD’S LOVE ON THE SHORES OF

                     THE RED SEA

  1. (6 – 7)   Rebellion on the shores of the red sea
  2. (8 – 12) God’s love on the shores of the red sea

 

3.  (13 – 23)   REMEMBER REBELLION AND GOD’S LOVE IN THE

                       WILDERNESS

                      

  1. (13 – 22) Rebellion in the wilderness
  2. (vs. 23)  God’s love in the wilderness

 

  1. (24 – 33)   REMEMBER REBELLION AND GOD’S LOVE ON THE DOOR STEP

                       OF THE PROMISED LAND

 

  1. (24 – 29) Rebellion on the door step to the Promised Land
  2. (30 – 31) God’s love seen through a man called Phinehas
  3. (32 – 33) Further rebellion on the door step to the Promised Land

 

  1. (34 – 47)   REMEMBER REBLLION IN THE PROMISE LAND

 

  1. (34 – 43) Continuous rebellion in the Promise land
  2. (44 – 47) God’s love hoped for in his salvation of his people from

                 Babylon.

  1. (vs. 48)   DOXOLOGY OF BOOK 4 OF PSALMS

 

  1. (1 – 5)   REMEMBER GOD’S LOVE AND PRAISE HIM – INTRODUCTION

 

  1. (1 – 3)   Remember God’s love and praise him stated

 The opening and closing words of Psalm 106 are the same as the opening words of the previous Psalm, Psalm 105,

“Praise the Lord”

 This phrase, “Praise the Lord” is the English translation of the Hebrew word, “Halleluiah” and this word or tem will feature in many Psalms in the next book of Psalms we call book 5 in which 18 Psalms will feature the Hebrew word,” Halleluiah”. It is a Jewish call to praise and worship and in Psalm 106 this praise and worship is linked to the very nature of God, namely his goodness and love as the rest of verse 1 states,

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever”.

 It is God’s love that endures forever that this Psalm will go on to feature in the context of our sin and rebellion. No other God or religion presents their concept of God as a God of love and this idea that God is a loving God hits its supreme high note in the New Testament. The apostle John writing his first letter to some churches of his day, later in his life and ministry features the love of God and he says this in 1 John 4: 7 – 10,

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins”.

There is a early church story that when the apostle John was really old he was carried around on a stretcher and all he could do was hold up his hand in a gesture of giving a blessing and say, “Love my children, love”.

I recently responded to a Face Book post that suggested that their could not be a God because of the reality of evil in the world and the person who posted the remark asked the question if there is evil in the world how can there be a God who is a God of love?

The answer is that for God’s good reasons he did allow evil but the bible says that God is such a loving God that he uses even evil for good as Paul says in Romans 8: 28,

“And we know that in all things God works for good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose”.

The writer of Psalm 106 goes on to say this about how we should praise and worship this God of love in verse 2,

“Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord or fully declare his praise?”

Allan Harman says this about this question in verse 2,

“The question in verse 2 suggests that no one is able to fully make known all the deeds of the great warrior king”.

God’s acts of love and salvation are so much other than our way of acting and thinking that we cannot fully grasp their vast and wondrous nature of them. We cannot fully grasp them or fully proclaim them but those acts of God’s love should compel us to attempt to seek to grasp and proclaim them.

Finally in this remembrance of the loving acts of God that should lead to praise the writer of Psalm 106 says this in verse 3,

“Blessed are they who maintain justice who constantly do what is right”.

Again, this Psalm and indeed the whole bible says that no – one can maintain justice and constantly do what is right, owing to our sinful nature but again like the previous verse even if we cannot fully do this, if we believe in this great God of love we should seek to show the same nature and characteristics of him which is love and justice or doing what is right, which the bible calls “righteousness”.

The New Testament teaches that we have no righteousness in ourselves so God has to give us his gift of righteousness through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as Paul states clearly in Romans 5: 17,

 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

So the opening three verses of this Psalm set up the principle of through remembering God’s love for us we should praise him.

  1. (4 – 5)   God remember me

 We have a lot of clues in this Psalm that a Jewish man wrote this Psalm in the time of the seventy years the Jews were captives in Babylon and I believe verses 4 and 5 only make sense in this context. Let me explain my reasoning.

We have just seen that the writer of Psalm 106 has called his hearers and readers to worship the great God of love of the bible. He told them to give thanks for this God’s goodness and eternal enduring love. He then spoke of proclaiming this God’s mighty acts and now in verse 4 he writes,

“Remember me O Lord, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them”.

If this was written at the time of the exile in Babylon he would have known God’s promise of help and salvation for the Jews through the prophet Jeremiah who wrote to them when they were in exile in Babylon and this letter to the exiles in Babylon is recorded in Jeremiah 29 and in verses 10 – 14 of that chapter in Jeremiah he says this,

“This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

 So what the writer of Psalm 106 is asking for in verse 4 is that God will remember or not overlook him when he restores his people in exile in Babylon back to the land of Israel. This becomes even clearer in what he writes in verse 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”.

 The writer of Psalm 106 wants to be part of the joy and praise that will come from a return to the homeland of Israel after the long 70 years of exile in Babylon. Again he knew the truth that Jim Carey recently stated at the opening of the Christian rehabilitation centre in LA that suffering leads to salvation and that God’s forgiveness opens the gates of his grace.

This is made clear for those who trust and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in the words of Paul in Romans 5: 1 – 2,

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God”.

  1. (6 – 12)   REMEMBER REBELLION AND GOD’S LOVE ON THE SHORES OF  THE       RED SEA

 

  1. (6 – 7)   Rebellion on the shores of the red sea

The writer of Psalm 106 remains true to his words in verse 2 about trying to proclaim the mighty acts of God and declaring his praise by giving us a long rundown of Israel’s rebellion and God’s wondrous loving response to this in verses 6 – 46 and starts with the acts of his people’s rebellion and God’s loving response on the shores of the red sea when Israel was on it exodus from slavery in Egypt.

He not only states that generations sins at that time in verse 6 but identifies his own current generation sins in that context as well, he writes in verse 6,

“We have sinned even as your fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly”.

 People today have little regard for the past and even deny it has an effect on them. They look back at the past with contempt and arrogance believing that they today know so much more and are so vastly superior to those who lived long ago. Nothing could be further from the truth as the past, properly understood reveals over and over again the rebellious sinful nature of mankind and that the mistakes people made in the past are doomed to recur in the present time or the future owing to man-kinds sinful nature.

The writer of Psalm 106 knew his generation had sinned just like the coming out of Egypt generation had sinned and done wickedly. Paul made it clear in Romans on a number of occasions that we all have sinned and done wrong like Romans 3: 23,

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

 People today want to believe that everyone is basically good with the capacity to do evil but the bible presents that we are all basically evil with the capacity to do good through the transforming grace of God in Christ as Paul goes on to say in Romans 3: 24,

“And are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus”.

 after he had said in the previous verse that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

So the writer of Psalm 106 identifies his and his fellow members of his generation with the rebellious generation that left Egypt which he makes clear with what he says in verse 7,

“When our fathers 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.”

 The previous Psalm 105 spoke of eight of the ten miraculous plagues God wrought in Egypt that led the Pharaoh and his people to let the nation of Israel leave Egypt and as Psalm 105 verse 27 says,

“He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold and from among their tribes no one faltered”.

 On the final night in Egypt this generation that left Egypt saw with their own eyes the events of that terrible night when all the first born sons of Egypt died but their first born sons lived yet after all this when they stood with their faces looking at the waters of the red sea with the Egyptian army storming down on them from the rear they simply turned on God with grumbling rebellion.

This terrible scene of rebellion is recorded for us in Exodus 14: 10 – 12,

“ As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

Instead of trusting in the great and powerful God of the ten plagues in Egypt they turned on him and his appointed leader and grumbled with words of out and out rebellion. As the writer of Psalm 106 says in verse 7,

“They gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses”.

 This is what real faith is all about do we really trust in God especially in the difficult times of life. In fact I believe God lets us face difficult times and situations to actually test and prove the faith we claim we have as Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 1: 6 – 7,

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed”.

  1. (8 – 12) God’s love on the shores of the red sea

 God should have given up on this grumbling rebellious generation but he is not like us but He is the great God of love and so his response was three demonstrations of his love to this sinful people, which was,

  1. He saved them for the sake of his name (vs. 8)
  2. He rebuked the waters of the red sea (vs. 9)
  3. He saved them from the hand of their enemies (vs. 10 and 11)

Lets have a closer look at each of these three acts of God’s love for his sinful people on the shores of the red sea.

  1. He saved them for the sake of his name (vs. 8)

The key word in verse eight is the little word “Yet” which like the word “but” makes all the difference in so much of the bible’s teaching. Yes the Israelites grumbled and rebelled on the shores of the red sea yet God still saved them in a most miraculous way,

“Yet he saved them for his name sake, to make his mighty power known”.

 Why then did he save this grumbling, sinful and rebellious people?

Verse 8 simply tells us two reasons:

  1. For his name sake
  2. To make his mighty power known

First of all for his name sake and we know that God’s name or names reveal to us God’s character or what he is like and of course Psalm 106 has already clearly stated what God is like in the opening verse where we read,

“For he (God) is good; his love endures forever”

 God saved his grumbling, rebellious and sinful people because he is a God of love. This love in the New Testament is called “grace” which is love we do don deserve and Paul states what that means for our salvation in Ephesians 2: 4: 4 – 9,

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast”.

Note the little word, “but” and what follows is that we don’t deserve to be saved but the God of the bible is a God of love and he saves us out of love for us.

Secondly verse 8 tells us a second reason why God saved his grumbling, rebellious and sinful people and that was because it would show his mighty power to the world of that day and ever since.

So to does the love of God in the act of Jesus death on the cross show his mighty power in that through that Satan and sin was defeated once and for all and the power of God’s love gives us new life a life that transforms us like it did Jim Carey who speaks of it this way,

“Jesus suffered terribly and He was broken by it, to the point of doubt and a feeling of absolutely abandonment, which all of you have felt. Then there was a decision to be made. And the decision was to look upon the people who were causing that suffering with compassion and forgiveness, and that’s what opens the gates of heaven for all of us”.

These words echo the words of the writer to the Hebrews in Hebrews 2: 9 – 10,

 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

 10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered”.

  1. He rebuked the waters of the red sea (vs. 9)

The power of God seen on the shores of the red sea was shown in what verse 9 speaks of,

“He rebuked the Red sea, and it dried up he led them through the depths as through a desert”.

 I remember as a back- slidden Christian teenager going one rainy night to a drive in theatre and seeing the epic old movie, “The Ten Commandments” and the scene in that movie I will never forget is when Charlton Heston, who played the part of Moses stood on a large rock and pulled back his staff and the waters of that inland sea opened up. Even in my own foolish rebellious state I was impressed and had to think, did this actually happen and if it did where do I stand in the sight of such a God”.

It was only a year or so later that I did turn back to God and experienced what Jim Carey spoke about, I made the decision to,

“Walk through the gate of forgiveness”.

 Then I knew something of God’s great power in my life as began again to experience God transforming my life and using me in his kingdoms service.

  1. He saved them from the hand of their enemies (vs. 10 – 11)

The writer of Psalm 106 in verses 10 – 11 expresses the third thing God did on the shores of the red sea,

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.

 This is how he showed his love and his power he allowed the Egyptian army who sought to slaughter the entire Israelite nation to enter the walled passage- way he created for the people to cross and then he closed those two walls of water on them. So the army who sought to slaughter God’s chosen people was destroyed in the waters of the red sea.

This might sound to our modern western sensitive minds a barbaric act committed be a so called loving God but the reality is that to oppose God in hardened non belief as Pharaoh and his people did has ultimately dire consequences. The New Testament gives ample warning to people who refuse to acknowledge God and go on to oppose him and his people and the writer to the Hebrews simply says in Hebrews 10: 31, (International Standard version),

“It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!”

 This however does not give any right to Christians today to strike out against those who oppose them and the God they believe in as Jesus spoke strongly about loving our enemies and praying for them and Paul told the Christians in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 4: 5,

“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God”.

No our God given role as Christians is to live amongst unbelievers like shining stars as we hold out to them the message of life as Paul asks the church at Philippi to do in Philippians 2: 14 – 16,

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain”.

This message of life is the message of God’s love that is beautifully summed up in the well known verse, John 3: 16,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

Interestingly if God allowed the Egyptian army to get across the red sea and destroy the Nation of Israel the message of life would never have come about because out of the nation of Israel came the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and without him no message of life would have come to the world.

Finally this act of God’s love and power which includes the destruction of the Egyptian enemy finally seemed to have led the people who witnessed it to believe in their God who performed it for them because verse 12 says,

“Then they believed his promises and sang his praise”.

Moses leads the singing of their God’s praise in a all inspiring song recorded in Exodus 15: 1 – 18. If you don’t believe what God did on the shores of the red sea that day as a act of not only power but also an act of love listen to these words of Moses song in Exodus 15: 11 – 13,

“Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory, working wonders? 12 “You stretch out your right hand, and the earth swallows your enemies. 13 In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling”.

  1. (13 – 23)  REMEMBER REBELLION AND GOD’S LOVE IN THE

                       WILDERNESS                       

  1. (13 – 22) Rebellion in the wilderness

The last section ended on the triumphant note of God’s act of power and love being acknowledged by the people of Israel with faith and praise but sadly this state of faith and praise soon evaporated as we read in the very next verse, verse 13,

“But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel”.

 How could they forget such a powerful demonstration of God’s power and love?

I only saw a Hollywood version of what happened that day and I still cannot forget it even though it was 45 years ago, although I have watched the movie The Ten Commandments a few times since.

No this so called people of God we know as Israel turns out to be a grumbling, rebellious and sinful people and they serve as a lesson to us that sin and unbelief is a very real thing and it is always lurking at the door of our lives and this is why the New Testament has so many warnings against the seriousness of turning away from God as again the writer to the Hebrews warns his readers in a number of places in his letter to them.

I like the example of this in Hebrews 10: 19 – 25,

“19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching”.

However it appears from the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy and now in verses 13 – 23 of Psalm 106, the people who witnessed such love and power of their God did not hold unswervingly to the hope they professed and quickly grumbled, rebelled and sinned the next time they faced a difficulty or problem in their wilderness wanderings.

I have broken down the actual description of this rebellion in the wilderness into three parts:

  1. Their craving for food without faith in God (vss. 14 – 15)
  2. Their lack of commitment and faith in God’s appointed leaders (vss. 16 – 18)
  3. Their lack of faith expressed in turning to a false God alternative (vss.19- 22)

 Lets have a closer look at each of these three incidents of rebellion in the wilderness.

  1. Their craving for food without faith in God (vss. 14 – 15)

I can understand a little the first rebellion of lack of food as speaking simply humanly what chance would up to two million people have of finding enough food in a desert area?

However this is how the writer of Psalm 106 speaks of their craving for water and food in verse 14,

In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test.

The key words in this verse is,

“They put God to the test”.

Leopold explains these words this way,

“They abandoned themselves to their cravings and by so doing they put God to the test in an unwholesome way by issuing a kind of challenge as to whether God could actually perform a deed of the magnitude which they specified”.

We are not sure which actual incident the writer of Psalm 106: 14 is referring to but it seems likely to me it is the incident recorded in Numbers 11 and verses 4 – 6 which says,

“The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

In Exodus 16 the people had put God to the test when they soon after crossing the red sea had grumbled and complained to Moses about not having food in the desert so Moses sought the Lord as the people should have. Then we read in first part of next verse,

“So he gave them what they asked for”

 Which I see is another example of God’s loving provision for them in the form of manna, which is a Hebrew word that simply means, “What is it”.

But in verses 4 – 6 of Numbers 11, the miracle of manna was not enough and they grumbled and complained again putting God to the test and he supplied them with meat in the form of quail, probably blown off course to fly over the camp of the Israelites.

However because they put God to the test by asking for food in a form of a grumbling rebellious test the second half of verse 15 says,

“But (God) sent a wasting disease upon them”

 This is probably what Numbers 11: 32 – 33 is speaking of,

“All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp. 33 But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague”.

I had an interesting thought about these incidents the other day and it was that the people of Israel did take their livestock with them as Exodus 12: 31 – 32 indicate,

 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested. 32 Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”

And a little further on we read in verses 38 – 39,

“Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. 39 With the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves”.

 Why did they not eat some of these?

Was it because these were needed for sacrifice worship purposes?

Or were the people of Israel of that time unwilling to part with them, which would have been in their day their material possessions?

The whole incident is a terrible black mark on a generation of people who had seen so much and given so much of God’s power and love yet how did they respond, with grumbling and complaining.

Recently I have been thinking and praying for my own country of Australia as I have had some very ferocious attacks from non- believers on facebook and have been told by many we no longer believe in your God and so far as they are concerned they would like to see what they now call dangerous thinking and beliefs wiped out in Australia.

My country has been so blessed by God yet its reaction to this blessing of his love for us is to grumble complain, rebel against the authority of God and be involved in more and more worship of material things which as Jim Carey found in America only led him ultimately to depression and various forms of drug taking which is also on the rise in my country as I speak.

Carey went through much suffering he tells us but he discovered through that suffering, forgiveness and the gate way to God’s love through the message of the death and resurrection of Christ.

My verse’s for thought hear is Matthew 6: 33 – 34

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”. 

  1. Their lack of commitment and faith in God’s appointed leaders (vss. 16 – 18)

If the events of the previous verses were not enough what is recorded in the next little section could be called nothing more than horrific as the rebellion in the wilderness camp now raises its head in the form of dangerous opposition to God’s ordained leadership of his people, namely Moses and Aaron.

Verse 16 explains this lack of commitment and faith in God’s appointed leaders this way,

“In the camp they grew envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the Lord”.

 This verse only reveals one incident of Moses being challenged by other more junior leaders for Numbers 12 speaks of a challenge to Moses leadership from his very on sister Miriam who leads her brother Aaron in a challenge for the divine leadership of the people. The Lord for this rebellion of Miriam disciplines her with leprously but after Moses cried out for her healing and restoration was given to her.

Then in Numbers 16 we have the incident that verse 16 speaks of, namely the sordid tale of deceit and rebellion as three junior leaders in the camp of Israel Korah, Dathan and Abiram lead a very real challenge to Moses and Aarons leadership of the people. Why Psalm 106 does not mention Korah is not known but the best possible explanation on this was by C.H Spurgeon who writes,

“Korah is not mentioned, for mercy was extended to his household, though he himself perished”.

 Spurgeon is speaking of the fact that Number 26: 11, which simply says,

“The line of Korah, however did not die out”

 In fact the bible story of the Son’s of Korah is one of a family line redemption as later descendants get to write scripture in the form of Psalms which ironically is one of the things the original Korah wanted to do himself by force, he wanted to commune with God directly like Moses to be a special spokesperson for God to the Nation of Israel and of course through that the nations of the world.

Psalm 106: 16 points to envy as the root cause of their rebellion and you have to read Numbers 16 to discover more details of this shocking challenge to the leadership of Moses and Aaron.

Dathan, Abiram and of course Korah led 250 men to a revolt in the camp of the Israelites against God’s leadership of the people.

Moses and his brother Aaaron were God’s chosen leadership team. Listen to their words of insurrection and rebellion to the rule of God through the leadership of Moses and Aaron, Numbers 16: 3,

“They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?”

 Can you believe the audacity of these men who were all leading men in the Nation of Israel at this time by sitting on a leadership council but this was not enough as they wanted more power and prestige and they were willing to challenge God’s appointed leaders to get it.

 Psalm 106 verse 17 tells us what God did about this challenge to ultimately his Lordship of the people and it sadly reads,

“The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan; it buried the company of Abiram”.

 So much for that attempt to put a fist in face of God and say to God we know better than Moses and Aaron and they wanted the top job for themselves and if you don’t agree with my interpretation then listen to how Moses saw it and expressed it in his own words in Numbers 16: 8 – 11,

“Moses also said to Korah, “Now listen, you Levites! Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? 10 He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. 11 It is against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?”

The rebellion falls in a heap or according to verse 17 or rather it falls into a massive hole in the ground. It is actually Korah and his family, according to Numbers 16 who fall in the the big whole the ground.

Is this then the end to the story?

O no!, this wilderness generation even after Korah and his and most of his family perish through rebellion are led by Dathan and Abriram in a renegade act of worship and then they and the people they led in worship were destroyed as Psalm 106 verse 18 describes,

“Fire blazed among their followers; a flame consumed the wicked”.

Their reasoning for this act of rebellious worship is found in Numbers 16: 12 – 14,

“Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, “We will not come! 13 Isn’t it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? And now you also want to lord it over us! 14 Moreover, you haven’t brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Do you want to treat these men like slaves? No, we will not come!”

They would not come before God by facing his God appointed leaders so God comes to them in the form of fire and interestingly the writer to the Hebrews says this about acceptable worship in Hebrews 12: 28 – 29,

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

What New Testament application can we make of this sad and sordid tale of rebellion in the wilderness?

Well for once we have in the pages of The New Testament itself, the little letter of Jude, and Jude we believe was the brother of James and of course Jesus and there we have a direct reference to this rebellion in the wilderness, Jude 11,

“Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion”.

From what I can gather from my limited understanding of the letter of Jude he is speaking here about men who have infiltrated the early church Jude had some kind of responsibility for. These men sought to lead the church away from following the Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 4), led the people into forms of sexual immorality (Jude 7)

and taught all kinds of false doctrine (Jude 10).

Why?

And the answer is Jude 11,

“Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion”.

I as a lay- person in my church and not a teacher appointed their by God I am willing to be under the God given leadership and teaching of the three ministers of my church. I love them all dearly and respect and support the calling God has given them. My interest is in the book of Psalms, as you can see and one of the three ministers of my church is a kind of overseer of my work and offers me lots of encouragement and advice in my journey through the Psalms.

To many today think they know better than others and their leaders suffer as a result and worse so many churches suffer at the hands of leaders who have moved away from the word of God our only true and final authority on the things of God.

Why do men and now women do this?

And I believe the story of Korah, Dathan and Abiram tell us the answer to this all important question which is confirmed by the message of Jude 11,

“They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error”

And what will God do with such church leaders?

“They will been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion”.’

I can assure you that I earn absolutely no money for my work on the Psalms, it is a labour of love and in fact I have determined with the Lord that if by any turn of events money does come from it all money will go to supporting the ministry of bible teaching and Christian worship throughout the world.

  1. Their lack of faith expressed in turning to a false God alternative (vss.19- 22)

 The final straw or nail in the coffin of the grumbling, rebellion and sin in the wilderness begs belief in its breathtaking audacity as it is a complete turning away from the Bible to a false God represented by a cow or maybe I should say a bull. For in verses 19 and 20 we read,

“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”.

For a person who would read this tale for the first time I believe the only word they would utter is,

WHAT?

I say this because here we have the next verse, verse 21 of Psalm 106 to tell us what this first time reader would have had in there heads,

“They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt”.

To make things even worse for this story of rebellion and sin Exodus 32 tells us this unbelievable piece of rebellious sin took place when Moses was up on the mountain getting the Ten Commandments from God.

What on earth were they thinking?

A careful look at Exodus 32 verses 1 – 6 reveals something of the foolish thinking these sinful rebellious people had at that time.

My explanation goes like this, Moses has been missing for some time from the camp up a mountain talking with God and the people have become restless and it seems gave up on Moses, yet again and put pressure on his deputy Aaron to take the reigns and make a God for them, Exodus 32: 1,

“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

The only explanation for this request for Aaron to make us “God’s” is that these people still had not got it yet, there is only one God and he is not an idol like the Egyptians believed in.

Aaron a champion of compromise and ingenuity stubbles on the idea of making them an idol to represent the powerful God he knew brought them out of Egypt. So we read his plan and actions in verses 2 – 4,

“Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

Why a calf, you might ask?

Well what would have been the strongest animal these people knew, why, it is a bull and so, Aaron would reason that the God who had pushed back the red sea, provided miraculous food and water, opened up big holes in the ground to destroy rebels was very strong so the people want a image of God to worship lets give them a golden Bull that they can fall down around and worship and let me tell you, he would say this only represents the God who you serve.

So what’s wrong with that, you might ask?

Well a hell of a lot as sure a bull represents God’s strength, well sort of but bulls are dumb animals who, as Psalm 106 verse 20 says,

“eats grass”

 The great, but invisible God is not dumb like a bull and he certainly doesn’t eat grass. He even is sold really short in the powerful department as what bull or cow could open up a sea and then destroy a army, so we read in Psalm 106: 21,

“They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt”.

 Five years ago now I went on my first trip through Europe and I had been looking forward to that trip for years but I have never been so disturbed by a trip over seas than that trip.

Why?

Because I came face to face with the mainline Christian church and its many forms of idol worship, Sure the churches and cathedrals are magnificent examples of architecture but they are full of various forms of very insidious idols. Let me explain, we went to a magnificent monastery called Montserrat but what was considered the big attraction there, the statue of Mary called, “The Black Madonna” and what did people do there, including me, we lined up to go up to the top of the church to pay homage to a little statue of a black Mary and child.

 Let me tell you after I thought about it in my hotel I was almost physically sick, how could I, a believer in the great and powerful God of love stoop, literally to paying homage to a statue of a women. I coined the phrase during that bus trip through Europe that what we are seeing here is not “Christianity” but “Maryanity”, note the spell checker has just gone mad.

 I came home seeking to get back into my bible and enjoyed so much worship back home where there are no ‘Images” or “Idols” to distract us.

 I know I have just offended all my European readers of my Palm talks and you might say what’s wrong with a statue of Mary here and there, after all as Jesus earthly Mother she now would have a special place in heaven with Jesus.

However the same God, logic about graven images applies, these statues are worshipped, and don’t tell me they are not and even if they are not worshipped, Mary and child is a kind of image of God and even though this image portrays something of a special kind of love it cheapens the real unseen by human eye of God to say God is like a man or in the case of Mary a women and Numbers 23: 19 says,

 “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act.  Does he promise and not fulfill?”

 Paul says this about the nature of all sin in Romans 1: 21,

  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

 So I will stop throwing rocks at my European friends and start throwing rocks at myself. If Paul is stating here in Romans 1 the nature of all sin then we too, here in Australia have some form of idol worship problem.

What Idols do we get tempted to fall down to and worship?

Are we not one of the most materialistic and hedonistic nations on the face of the earth. We have the idols of “things” and the pursuit of happiness, our idols are less obvious than statues of Mary yet they, the things or objects or desires that become our God’s, or what we live for are just as real and dangerous as images of Mary and the baby Jesus.

So this rebellious and sinful generation of Israel who left Egypt the writer of Psalm 106 says in verses 21 -22,

“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”.

 As Christian believers we must never forget what Jesus did for us on the cross and how he proved he had won a victory over sin and the Devil by rising from the dead as the writer to the Hebrews says in Hebrews 12: 1 – 3,

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart”.

 The Devil will tempt us to take our eyes off Jesus and turn to some form of idol worship but we must have patience and faith in God and not fall to the devils trap as the rebellious sinful generation did in the wilderness when they exchanged the one true powerful and loving invisible God for a golden bull who supposed to symbolize God but is just a dumb animal that eats grass.

  1. (vs. 23)   God’s love in the wilderness

In Exodus 32: 7 – 8 switches the scene of the story of this rebellion of God by Israel in the wilderness to the top of the mountain where Moses is speaking with God and here God reveals his reaction to Israel’s sin,

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt.

 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”. “I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

 God is very angry with the people of Israel and they could not have chosen a worst thing to do then turn away from the great God of heaven and earth and worship a golden bull instead and call that useless idol their ‘God’s.

The love of God is expressed in this dire situation by what the writer of Psalm 106 says in verse 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”.

 What this verse is describing poetically happened like this according to Exodus 32: 11 – 14,

“But Moses sought the favour of the LORD his God. “LORD,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’ ” 14 Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened”.

 The writer of Psalm 106 uses a military term to describe what Moses did that day,

 “Stood in the breach before him”.

 Allen Harmen explains,

“Military language used of a soldier willing to give his life for others by defending the gap in the wall”.

 Moses is pleading for the life and future of his people and he is right in the front line of this fight and note what Moses appeals to and he pleads for God to save his people, verses 12 and 13,

12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’?

Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.

 He is appealing to two things, the first is the honour and name of God in that if God destroyed his people the Egyptians would feel they were victorious over the God of Israel as they did escape but their God destroyed them in the wilderness.

The second thing Moses appealed to we the loving covenant God had made with Abraham and his descendants, which spoke of these descendants one day being numerous as the stars. God needed the nation of Israel to exist and flourish so that one day he could send into that nation his only son who could come to make a way for all men and women to come back to him and be part of his family of faith.

This was the right logic for Moses to use with the God of the bible and his actions resulted in what Exodus 32: 14 says,

14 Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened”.

 The Christian church over the past 2,000 years has waxed and waned and at times fallen into great sin and rebellion like these people of Israel did in the wilderness but the writer of the letter to the Hebrews tells us we have a great high priest in heaven for us a kind of Moses who stands in the breach for us continually and who understands our weaknesses and temptations, Hebrews 4: 14 – 16,

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”.

  1. (24 – 33)   REMEMBER REBELLION AND GOD’S LOVE ON THE DOOR STEP

                       OF THE PROMISED LAND 

  1. (24 – 29) Rebellion on the door step to the Promised Land

The generation of the Nation of Israel that left Egypt as slaves soon found themselves on the door- step of God’s Promised Land and Moses sends out 12 spies, one spy from each tribe to check out the land. This is recorded in Numbers 13. The spies return and speak highly of the land except 10 of the 12th spies give a bad report about the possibility of conquering and possessing it. Caleb and the young man Joshua are the only spies who seem to have faith in God but they are shouted down by the others spies and the people who believe the bad report of taking possession of the land.

So the writer of Psalm 106 in his fourth section speaks of this further story of Israel’s rebellion this time on the doorstep of the Promised Land in verse’s 24 – 25,

“Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise. 25 They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord”.

Note the three things they seem to be doing that show’s their lack of faith in the Lord:

  1. They did not believe his promise
  2. They grumbled
  3. They did not obey the Lord

I would like to make a brief comment on each of these things that show their lack of faith and give one New Testament application of each one of them.

  1. They did not believe his promise

All of the people of Israel would have known by this stage the covenant God had made with their ancestors starting with Abraham who were given very clear promises about one day possessing the land of Canaan. Abraham was living in the land of Canaan when God said this to him in Genesis 15: 7,

“He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”

 Abraham actually only ever owned a small piece of Canaan for burial use but each of his direct descendants, Isaac and Jacob who became Israel were also given God’s promise of the land of Canaan, Isaac – Genesis 26: 2 – 5 and Jacob – Genesis 28: 13 – 15. So the people knew that when they left Egypt they were heading for Canaan to take possession of it but when they were on Canaan’s doorstep they, verse 24, Psalm 106,

“Despised the pleasant land”

 For they,

“Did not believe his promise”.

 It is very sad that for some time now many churches and the ministers who work in them, “Don’t believe in God’s promises” anymore because they either devalue the role and function of the bible or completely reject it as the word of God. Paul warned Timothy that even in the first century of the Christian church this would happen and he encourages Timothy to counter this pulling away from the bible to, 2 Timothy 4: 2 – 5,

“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry”.

  1. They grumbled

We have seen already in this Psalms account of the generation of Israel that were freed from slavery in Egypt that grumbling was a major problem for them.

Whenever it seemed that they faced a new challenge or difficulty instead of trusting in the Lord they grumbled and this is exactly what the writer of Psalm 106 said actually happened on the door -step of the Promised Land, verse 25,

“They grumbled in their tents”

 Paul had much to say about not grumbling or not complaining because of the wonderful things God has done in Christ for us and also because of all the wonderful things we have in Christ. Paul even uses the example of this grumbling generation in 1 Corinthians 10 to say this in verse 10,

“And do not grumble, as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel”.

 Then to the Philippians he says, Philippians 2: 14 – 15,

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky”.

 Note here how Paul sees that a major way we witness to non- believers is by the way we do not grumble or complain as it makes us stand out for God in a good light not a bad way.

  1. They did not obey the Lord

Finally their response to the negative spies reports when the people of Israel were on the doorsteps of the Promised Land was to disobey the Lord as they refused to go into the Promise Land because the people there seemed to strong and entrenched in the land for them to take it.

This was a direct disobedience of God and his word and it is James who makes the very clear link of faith and obedience in his letter, which says this in James 2: 17,

“Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead”.

 The Israelites who were on the doorstep of God’s Promised Land of Canaan could have said, “O we have faith” but by their actions of grumbling and not believing in the promise’s of God by refusing to enter the Promised Land to take it show that their faith was dead.

So in the next two verses because of this lack of faith and obedience God stops this generation on the door- step of the Promised Land from ever entering that land,

“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”.

God tells this generation of Israelites, through Moses that they would not enter the Promised Land as all of them would die outside the Promise Land and only their children, the next generation, except for Caleb and Joshua, the faithful spies would enter the Promise Land some 40 years later.

Then another incident of rebellion occurs soon after this, which is recorded in verses 28 – 29 and Numbers 25. Lets read how the writer of Psalm 106 speaks of this next incident,

“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”.

 The sad reality of this incident is that God had fought for Israel against the Moabites and they just could not stop their wanderings and pillaging of the Israelites in their lands but this sinful rebellious generation put their nation and its culture and religion at risk by sleeping with what seems to be Temple Worship Moabite Prostitutes. Verse 28 speaks this group of men yoking themselves, a Old Testament term for having sexual relationships with these women who are part of the Temple worship of Baal of Peor.

The Canaanite worship of Baal crops up all through the bible and is a sinful thorn in the side of the history of Israel. Baal was a fertility God and this is why Temple prostitution was part of its worship practices. The Baal was also usually represented by a bull and verse 28 says it was a,

“Lifeless God”

 Baal worship had a lot of temptations in it, which included sex and the promise of both human and agricultural fertility. When Israel did enter the Promised Land their failure to wipe out all Baal worship in the land led to it cropping up regularly as a form of rebellion to the one true invisible God of Heaven and earth.

Today we to face many temptations that might seem very attractive but we must always keep in mind the advice of Paul in 1 Corinthians 10: 13.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it”.

  1. (30 – 31) God’s love seen through a man called Phinehas

We read in verse 30 that God’s reaction to this rebellion is to send a plague on the people of Israel in the wilderness in the Moabite area.

An unexpected hero is raised up by God to deal with this and he nips this big drift to Moabite rebellious worship in the bud. His name is Phinehas and he was the grandson of Moses and verse 30 says,

“But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked”.

 God’s loving rescue was a very bloody judgment on the ring- leaders of this rebellion and we read the gory details of this in Numbers 25: 6 – 9,

“Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent.

He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman’s stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000”.

For this act of faith in action by Phinehas verse 31 of Psalm 106 says this about him,

“This was credited to him as righteousness for the endless generations to come”.

This verse reminds me of the famous verse concerning the saving faith of Abraham, Genesis 15: 6,

“Abraham believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness”.

 Phinehas believed in the one and only true God and how he wanted to be worshiped so he did what he did and God recognised this faith in action and he too was credited with righteousness. That’s how I understand this verse in Psalm 106. Phinehas faith in action, Psalm 106: 31 tells us became a inspiration for faith in action for generations after his killing of the man who took a Midianite women into the Israelite camp to have sexual relations and this women was more than likely a Temple prostitute for the worship of Baal of Peor. His actions stopped the terrible plague that this terrible sin of the people had brought upon them.

So God used Moses in an act of love to avert his judgment on Israel for their sin and rebellion and now he used Moses grandson Phinehas to do the same for yet another fall into rebellion and sin by the people of Israel that had been freed by God from slavery in Egypt.

This generation keeps showing us that they might have been saved from social slavery but they still suffered from what the bible calls slavery to sin. It would take the coming of another man who is far greater than Moses or Phinehas to be God’s instrument of love to save us from the slavery of sin and that is Jesus Christ who Paul says this about our being saved from the slavery from sin in Romans 6: 5 – 7

“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin”.

 Paul, of course is speaking about the man known as Jesus Christ but because he was not juts a man but God come in the flesh he was once and for all able to destroy sins hold on us like God destroyed that Egyptian army long ago and through his death on the cross which Paul is speaking about in Romans 6 he was able to kill the sin slavery of those who turn to him in faith, those who like Moses and Phinehas believed in God and who turned that faith into faithful obedience.

Paul goes on to say these further wonderful words about how God has saved us from the slavery of sin in Romans 6: 17 – 18,

“But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness”.

All I can add to that is, “Halleluiah” , Praise the Lord!

  1. (32 – 33) Further rebellion on the door -step to the Promised Land

 The writer of Psalm 106 gives us one more example of the generation of Israelites who left Egypt rebellion and sin and this one finally even catches out their faithful but frustrated leaders Moses and Aaron. This incident of rebellion in the wilderness after they had come close to going into the Promised Land and the writer of Psalm speaks of it this way in verses 32 – 33,

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”.

This is the second incident of grumbling, rebellion and a sinful reaction to a lack of water the wilderness more than likely the one recorded in Numbers 20: 1 – 13.

Some commentators believe Numbers 20 is speaking of the same incident that is spoken of in Exodus 17 but the incident in Numbers 20 was in a different desert area, Desert of Zin rather than the Desert of Sin and it happened when Miriam, Moses sister died and was buried.

The fact that this second reaction to the problem of lack of water is so similar to the first most people using common sense would say, no, they would have learnt there lesson by then so it must be somehow speaking of the same incident.

No, let me tell you they did not learn their lesson because as this wilderness generation is called by God himself a,

“Stiff – necked people” (Deut. 9: 6)

This means they were stubborn and proud and did not learn easily the lessons God was teaching them.

So as I said this wilderness generation faced the problem of lack of water in the desert and this is how Numbers 20: 2 – 5 records their reaction to this,

“Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”

This represents yet another illustration of lack of faith and rebellion to their God who has helped them over and over again yet they continue to show that they do not trust him when facing the difficulties of life.

The writer of Psalm 106 and I might seem to have an unfair view of these people but I would like to remind you that the writer himself said this earlier in the Psalm in verse 6,

“We have sinned even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly”.

I cannot say I am much better than these people myself as only two days ago I faced some difficulties in my life and could not sleep the first night of my recent problem. It was not unto four hours into that night I suddenly realised I had not prayed about this problem and within five minutes of committing my problem to the Lord I was sound asleep. I need to, even after being a believer for more than 40 years, practice what David teaches in Psalm 37: 5 – 7,

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes”.

The reaction of Moses and Aaron and God’s instructions of how to deal with this is recorded in the following verses, 6 – 8,

“Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses,

“Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

Note how God instructs Moses to,

“Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water”.

However verses 9 – 11 says,

“So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank”.

Allan Harman comments,

“Moses spoke out of his anger at years of frustration with the people”.

Note how Moses seems to be speaking to the people with great human anger and also note how he was told this time to just speak to the rock but instead Moses struck the rock and I believe it was not a gentle tap but a vicious lashing out of anger and frustration directed at the people who certainly acted as God said they were, a stiff necked people.

The writer of Psalm 106 verse 33 and 34 says,

“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”.

 The verses that follow what Moses did at Meribah are to me some of the saddest words about Moses in the bible, verses 12 – 13,

“But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honour me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

13 These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarrelled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them”.

Meribah literally means quarrelling in ancient Hebrew and the other place that water was taken form a rock after the people grumbled about no water was called Massah, which means testing.

Sadly Moses had to put up with a grumbling or quarrelling people when they were tested through the lack of water but this second time even Moses and Aaron failed the test by not following the clear instructions of the Lord and through what Psalm 106: 33 calls, “Rash words” used by Moses and Aaron as Moses struck the rock in frustration and rage.

This again shows a hero of Israel, with warts and all, he was a great man of God but he was still human and sadly he paid dearly for his mistake by not actually physically going into the Promised Land. Moses is given some consolation by the Lord because we read not long after this he is taken up into a mountain again by God and before he died he is given a mountain top view of the Promised Land.

What can we learn from this incident?

To me this incident tells me I must be very careful in what I say publically for the Lord and I must stick closely to God’s word as it is according to Paul in 2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17,

“God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”.

If I fail to do this and I have in the past then I need God’s loving forgiveness which he gave so many times to the wilderness generation and which I know is now only possible through the work of the Lord Jesus in his death and resurrection for me as we read in Romans 5: 8 – 9,

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”. 

  1. (34 – 47)   REMEMBER REBLLION IN THE PROMISE LAND

1.  (34 – 43) Continuous rebellion in the Promise land

The Psalmist now gives what I call a thumb nosed sketch of the History of Israel from the entering the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua to his own time when Israel was in exile in the foreign land of Babylon and he does this in just 10 verses.

These ten verses can be broken down to these into three main key points:

  1. The disobedience of the nation to God’s clear instructions (vss. 34 – 36)
  2. The terrible sins of the nation in the Promised Land (vss. 37 – 39)
  3. God’s response of Judgment on the nation because on its sins (vss. 40 – 43)

Lets have a closer look at each of these three main key points:

  1. The disobedience of the nation to God’s clear instructions (vss. 34 – 36)

The big problem Israel never recovered from in its long history in the Old Testament was the compromises God’s people made with the old Canaanite inhabitations. The writer of Psalm 106 explains this problem well in verses 34 and 35 expresses this,

“They did not destroy the peoples as the Lord had commanded them, but they mingled with the Nations and adopted their customs”.

 The idea of God wanting people completely overrun and destroyed seems really jarring to our modern sensibilities.

However even a casual look at particularly ancient history will tell you that whether God seemed directly involved or not civilizations for centuries were overrun and destroyed in their thousands. The miracle of Israel is that even though it has always been a tiny nation it lasted through history as it has and in fact this can only be attributed to the guiding hand of God.

In the Old Testament God is not afraid to meet out judgment on a large group of people when they practice discussing, detestable sins like child sacrifice, worship involving sex and the general abuse and cruel inhumane treatment of people in general.

God’s leading of his people into the Land of Canaan had two objectives firstly to provide a homeland for his special people Israel and as a act of judgment on the Canaanites for their many great sins over countless generations. Even way back to Abraham’s time God says this to him in Genesis 15: 16,

“In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here (Canaan), for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure”.

 Now in the time of Joshua God is ready to both lead his people into the Promised Land and to judge the Canaanites for their many and great sins as God speaks of in Deuteronomy 7: 1 – 6,

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you— and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession”.

 The time of the full measure of the many sins of these Canaanite nations had come just as the time for Israel’s occupation and control of this land had finally came but Israel failed to obey God’s expressed word as we have just read in Psalm 106: 34 – 35,

“They did not destroy the peoples as the Lord had commanded them, but they mingled with the Nations and adopted their customs”.

Compromise with the world around us has been and still is a great danger to even Christians today. I have been joining with a number of people in the past few years to make beautiful music but even in a period of around nine years I have felt the pressure to compromise my faith in Christ. I have left what seemed one successful group of musicians and singers because I did not like the ruthless tactics they used to eliminate some of the people certain leaders at that time did not like. I currently am assessing the new group I have joined but at the moment after making my Christian viewpoint clear on certain issues I am staying with them.

I have always, like most true believers struggled with how much should I get involved in Non – Christian activities. Over the years I have floated between the to extremes of total involvement with worldly activities to no involvement in anything other than church or Christian based activities. I have always found the sobering words of Jesus in John 17: 14 – 16 the best scripture advice on this,

“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it”.

 I love playing music with my non- Christian friends but I am always careful that this does not override my number one priority which is first to be a faithful witness to them and secondly that my involvement in church music and ministry is always my number one priority.

The key problem the writer of Psalm 106 picks up in this first key point of his peoples failure in the Promised land is found in the words of verse 35,

“They mingled with the nations and adapted their customs”.

 What this meant to the moral and spiritual state of the nation of Israel comes clear in the next key point.

  1. The terrible sins of the nation in the Promised Land (vss. 37 – 39)

So the Nation of Israel over many generations mingled with the nations in Canaan and adopted many of their customs and then we read what that led to in verses 37 – 39,

“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”.

As I sad earlier the idea of a nation coming under the judgment of God through war and destruction just doesn’t fit well with a modern reader. However let me take you to even recent history of only 70 years or so ago when we saw the destruction of Nazi Germany. Here we had a relatively recent example of God’s judgment falling terribly on a nation that through its evil godless leader, Adolf Hitler murdered thousands of innocent men, women and children just because they were of a different race or held to different religious or political views to them.

The story of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament tells of a people who at times did as bad or even worse things than the former Canaanites did before them. The writer of Psalm 106 picks on just one extreme example of grouse sins, namely the sacrifice of children in the name of worship to their God.

Listen to this summary of a former king of Judah called Manasseh in 2 Kings 21: 1 – 6,

“Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.

He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put my Name.” In the two courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced divination, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger”.

This is just one king’s reign that features this kind of Godless, cruel and detestable actions of a king and his people. God went out of his way to warn the people and call them back to himself through many prophets but often not only were these brave men of God not listened to but they were killed or tortured because they spoke the word of God to the people of Israel.

What can we learn from this?

Simply that even today, as we saw in the case of Nazi Germany the evil and sinful side of humanity can dominate and if it does God’s judgment will fall on us.

Many might ask why doesn’t God clean up this world and judge it?

What people are really asking for here is the final judgment of God to come with the return of Jesus and Peter says this about that, 2 Peter 3: 8 – 10,

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare”.

Even before the final judgment, God still performs acts of localised judgments as we saw in the recent history case of Nazi Germany and in the case of communistic Russian that cruelly attempted to wipe faith in God off the face of the earth. They only found themselves destroyed and the Christian faith is flourishing again in Russia from the many reports I have read.

  1. God’s response of Judgment on the nation because on its sins (vss. 40 – 43

So as I have already alluded to God’s response to mans sinfulness is his judgment of those act of sins and particularly on his own special people who was given so much. We read now of the hand of God’s judgement now described in what I believe is our writers times in verses 40 – 43,

 “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”.

This is both a good summary of various times of God’s judgment falling on his people in Israel in the north by the invasion of the Assyrians and Judah in the south nearly 200 hundred years later under the two stage conquest of Judah in the south by the Babylonians.

God was angry, he was displeased with his peoples because of many continual acts of rebellion and sin and the people lost the land, here described as “his inheritance”. God’s way of judging them is described in these words in verse 41,

“He gave them into the hands of the nations, and their foes ruled over them”.

I believe the writer of Psalm 106 is speaking from his own bitter experience somewhere in exile in Babylon and his description of he and his people’s fate in exile is expressed so well in the last words of verse 41,

“And they wasted away in their sins”

Or he might say in their sins consequences.

Jim Carey’s little testimony that kicked off this Psalm expresses so well at the start of it what being wasted away in his sin meant for him with the words,

“I believe that suffering leads to salvation. In fact it’s the only way that we have to, somehow, accept, not deny, but feel our suffering and feel our loses”.

Sin and its consequences have many dark and painful repercussions for people living today, alcoholism, drug addiction and social and moral breakdowns. However we will see in the next four verses the God who judges is also the God who loves and tremendous hope can now be found in him.

  1. (44 – 47) God’s love hoped for in his salvation of his people from

                 Babylon.

If the Psalm finished as the end of verse 43 it would have been a real downer as our writer of Psalm 106 and his people lost in captivity in Babylon would have had no hope to look to.

However the first word in the next verse is one of those famous “but” verses because verse 44 says,

“But he took note of their distress when he heard their cry”.

Yes God judged Israel but he will also save Israel and maybe this Psalm was written in exile soon after the exiles received a famous letter from the great prophet Jeremiah which has these words of hope in it, Jeremiah 29: 10 – 14,

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[a] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

 I can imagine the writer of Psalm 106, in exile reading this letter and the words from it I just quoted and then seeing him writing down or even singing the next two verses,

“For their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented. He caused them to be pitied for all who hold him captive”.

 Note how this is a beautiful Old Testament statement of the grace of God because it says that God saved them for their sake, and for the covenant sake, the binding agreement of God to Abraham and his descendants no matter how great their sins have been and finally it was out of God’s great love that he turned away from his anger or relented his acts of judgment on them who still hang on to him or as the writers says,

“hold him captive”

 Jim Carey put it this way in his little but powerful testimony,

“Suffering presents us with two options – resentment or forgiveness. While resentment is a self – destructive path – forgiveness leads to grace”.

 The grace of God expressed so well in Ephesians 2: 4 – 7,

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus”.

Jim Carey speaks of his life changing decision to believe in Christ as a passing through a gate he calls, “the gate of forgiveness”, he says,

“You made the decision to walk through the gate of forgiveness – to grace – just as Christ did on the cross”.

Carey was speaking to other former drug addicts and ex-cons who gathered at the opening of the Christian rehabilitation centre in Los Angels he was seeking to help open. These men and women knew what it was like to be captive to sin but they also knew what it was like to find God’s wonderful life transforming grace as well.

The writer then takes up Jeremiah’s advice in verses 12 – 14, that said,

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

For verse 47 is the writer of Psalm 106 prayer asking for God’s salvation from exile in Babylon,

“Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise”.

 Jim Carey spoke of his salvation in the terms of what Christ did for us on the cross, he said,

“Jesus suffered terribly and He was broken by it, to the point of doubt and a feeling of absolute abandonment, which all of you have felt. Then there was a decision to be made. And the decision was to look upon the people who were causing that suffering with compassion and with forgiveness, and that’s what opens the gates of heaven for all of us”.

 Psalm 106 verse 47 jumps back also to the famous Psalm of David in 1 Chronicles 16: 7 – 36, which this Psalm and particularly the previous Psalm borrowed from and verse 47 borrows from verse 35 of David’s Psalm which says,

“Cry out, ‘Save us, O God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, that we may glory in your praise”.

 The only change the writer of Psalm 106 makes from David’s original verse 35 of his Psalm is in the description of God,

“O God our Savior”, for David’s original Psalm and,

“O Lord our God”, for Psalm 106.

The title of God in the case of the Psalm 106 is that of the covenant God of the bible used probably as Spurgeon points out because this gave the Jews in captivity more confidence in their prayer as in verse 45 the return from exile was part of God’s honoring of his great covenant promises to Abraham and his descendants.

Why David prayed for deliverance for his people from the nations is not clear, maybe his own problems in the past when on the run from Saul and he had to flee from Israel to escape the wrath of king Saul or maybe for various reasons some Jews have always had to flee the Promise Land is in mind here. However for what reason David original chose to include it in his Psalm it would have served as a wonderful encouragement for prayer for those in Babylonian exile years later.

This then completes what I believe is Psalm 106 as verse 48 was added by the editors of Book four of Psalms as a conclusion to that book of Psalms and if it does I want to make one final point about verse 47 and that relates directly to my title for this Psalm which is,

REMEMBER GOD’S LOVE AND PRAISE HIM,

For the last words of verse 47 read,

“That we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise”.

 This long historical Psalm that speaks so clearly about the rebellion and sin of the people of Israel throughout their history has also pointed out that despite that terrible record of sin God has constantly not just responded with judgment but also with love. This theme of the underserved love of God for his people is what this Psalm writer wants to give thanks to God and glory in his praise for.

Remembering then who God is, what he is like and what he has done for us in the past and in the present should be also for us the true basis of great praise.

I close this section of the Psalm with two great verses on praising God by remembering what he has done for us in the past,

Isaiah 25: 1,

“O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago”.

 2 Corinthians 1: 3 – 4,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

  1. (vs. 48)   DOXOLOGY OF BOOK 4 OF PSALMS

 Most bible scalars agree that verse 48 is not part of the original composition of Psalm 106 but is a verse added by the editors of the fourth book of Psalms and all through my Psalm talks of this fourth book I have advocated that this fourth book of Psalms came together just after the return of exile in Babylon. This is because most of the Psalms seem to relate easily to this time period and even some of the older added Psalms the editors must have found would have spoken powerfully to God’s people of that time.

Also the evidence of the dead sea scrolls also points to both books four and five of Psalms coming together after the return from exile as Psalms in books one, two and three feature well in this ancient collection that existed up to three hundred years before the coming of Christ but Psalms in books four and five are only partially represented in the dead sea scroll collection pointing to the post exile period as the time these books of Psalms were completed by their respective editors.

I have taken the following quote from Wikipedia on the composition of the Psalms in the dead- sea scrolls,

“James Sanders proposed that this manuscript contained an arrangement created prior to the fixation of the Masoretic Psalter of 150 Psalms. He thought that the first half of the Masoretic Psalter, Psalm 1-89, had been finalized but that the second half, while still considered canonical at Qumran, was quite fluid”.

 So the editors added verse in Psalm 106 is a kind of doxology to the fourth book of Psalms and it says,

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, “Amen”! Praise the Lord”.

 Those final words “Praise the Lord” are the opening words of Psalm 106, namely the Hebrew word, “Halleluiah”

 I close this Psalm, Psalm 106 and the fourth book of Psalms then with an original poem that features this word, “Halleluiah” and what it means, “Praise the Lord”.

PRAISE THE GOD OF LOVE (based on Psalm 106)

 

Hallelujah!, Hallelujah

I thank you God above

Praise Him, praise him,

Praise the God of love.

Because your good and your love does last

For all eternity.

I’ll proclaim your mighty acts of love

And enjoy your liberty.

 

Remember me O Lord

As part of your family

I want go to heaven

To celebrate your love

And join the saints in glory

And praise your name above.

 

Hallelujah!, Hallelujah

I thank you God above

Praise Him, praise him

Praise the God of love.

Because you’ve called us to know you Lord

To inherit an eternal home

And so you bless us with your love

And you go were ever we roam.

 

And we like your people of old

Have sinned and failed you Lord

Like when you freed them from slavery

In Egypt long ago

They forgot you wonderful love

That clearly was on show.

 

Hallelujah!, Hallelujah

I thank you God above

Praise Him, praise him

Praise the God of love.

And when you act with powerful love

Great wonders we do see

But we do not deserve your love

But you just give it all so free.

 

Your people through the ages Lord

Forgot your Holy word.

Like the people who entered the promise land

They failed to trust you Lord

And we also turn to other Gods

And fail to obey your word.

 

Hallelujah!, Hallelujah

I thank you God above

Praise Him, praise him

Praise the God of love.

Save us Lord with your powerful love

Bring us to heaven above

So we can thank you and praise your name

As the mighty God of love.

 

By: Jim Wenman

PRAYER:

 We thank your Father in heaven for your amazing love which we know by remembering what you did long ago for us when you sent your son, Jesus Christ to this world to die for our sins on the cross. And now we can know your life changing love, which is a love that we don’t deserve and is a love that provides for us the gateway to a new life of love and forgiveness. Forgive us for our many failures to sin and help us to let your amazing love in Christ change us and

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PSALM 105 TALK: REMEMBER GOD’S DEEDS AND PRAISE HIM

PSALM 105 TALK: REMEMBER GOD’S DEEDS AND PRAISE HIM

 (A Psalm that recalls the marvelous deeds of God in the past calling a people to be his special nation called Israel and how what God did for them in the past is to be remembered and that memory of God’s deeds in the past is to be the basis of great praise to him. Also how this relates to us as God’s family or special people who have come into being as his people by what God did for us in the past through his son, Jesus Christ.)

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide”.

INTRODUCTION

When I was only 16 years of age I left school and started work and very quickly fell into a world outside of school that did not believe in God and in fact mocked the whole idea of him. I soon gave going to church away and started hanging out with young men my own age who encouraged me to live a life of drinking, partying and generally living the sort of life I knew deep down God did not want me to live.

For three years I sought to turn away from God and at times I argued with some catholic friends the idea that Christianity and the bible was just a made up fairy tale. This means I have had the experience of thinking and arguing from an atheists point of view. However deep down inside I was not a happy person and I believe God’s spirit was convicting me of my sinful thinking and actions. I might have given up on God but he had not given up on me.

At 19 years of age I had a crisis in my life when I realised my so-called non- Christian friends let me down in a number of ways and through the encouragement of an older youth leader I went back to the church youth group and through people who led that group I came back to believing and following the Lord.

Then I was invited by our churches assistant minister to join a small group of young people to attend a bible study and a meal in that minister’s house before we all went together to the youth orientated night church we had at that time.

The assistant ministers who I will refer to by his first name, Charlie was a Godly man who had a deep understanding of the bible and he encouraged me to become a serious student of the word of God. Charlie was a very senor man and only worked in our church for a few years before he retired from the ministry. Even though Charlie was an older man he had a wonderful way with young people and he led us through some amazing bible studies.

Charlie’s bible studies were unusual in that they were always bible character studies he called “People in the Bible” and he always told us that the bible presents people with warts and all. Warts and all means that the bible did not hold back on the problems and even failures these people had in life and in their faith in God.

Charlie always pointed out how the bible rings true not like a fairy tale and if it was a fairytale then it would not have presented its so called hero’s with flaws and weaknesses like us. Charlie was really good at applying the truths these bible characters show us for how God wants us to live for him today.

Psalm 105 to me is like one of Charlie’s bible studies in the form of a poem we call a Psalm. It calls on its hearers and now readers to remember what God did through people in the past with great wonderful and often miraculous acts and in remembering this we are to give God great praise and thanks. As verse 5 of Psalm 105 says,

“Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced”.

 And as the opening verse of this Psalm says,

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done”.

 Psalm 105 seems to have started life with its first 15 verses as a Psalm of David in 1 Chronicles 16: 8 – 22, a Psalm David composed when the Ark of the Covenant was installed on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. We find Psalm 105 in the fourth book of Psalms, which we know was put together around the time of the return of the Jews from exile in Babylon around 539BC when king Cyrus of Persian conquered the Babylonians and allowed the captive Jews in Babylon to return to their homeland in what was later known as Palestine.

It would seem likely then that some unknown author took 15 verses from David’s Psalm in 1 Chronicles and composed a new Psalm of 45 verses based on David’s original composition. Interestingly Psalm 96, which is also in book four of Psalms uses the 10 verses of David’s Psalm in 1 Chronicles 16 that follow the first 15 verses of that Psalm to compose a new Psalm of 13 verses.

It is interesting to speculate what David’s original Psalm, written around 500 years before the time of the Jewish return from exile would have meant to the people of that time. They were a people who had virtually lost their nation and were in danger of loosing their national identity bound up in their special relationship with their God who we know as the God of the bible.

David’s words would have reminded them of how their God was the great King above all kings as he was the one true God greater than any other supposed God. This God had chosen them as a nation and for nearly 2,000 years had guided and protected them from the nations birth in the time of Abraham to exile in Babylon and now a miraculous return from that exile in Babylon.

Both Psalm 105 and the next Psalm, Psalm 106 recounts some of this history as a source of inspiration to trust in their great God and to show that faith in him in with wonderful praise and thanks. Psalm 105 features the great hero’s of faith who God used to lead and guide his people while Psalm 106 features the love of God in that he still continued to love this people even though they continued to be unfaithful to the God who loved them.

This unmerited love, which the New Testament calls grace, is to be the grounds for great praise according to Psalm 106.

So I aim to write a Charlie type bible study or talk on Psalm 105, which is a study that features the great bible characters it mentions as a inspiration for us today to trust in the same God that they trusted in and through what God did for them and has done for us through The Lord Jesus Christ seek to obey his word and praise him as the last verse of Psalm 105 says,

“That they (we) might keep his precepts and observe his law. Praise the Lord”

 With the theme of remembering what God has done in the past, especially through some of the great hero’s of the bible that will help us in the present and will lead to praise and faith in him my outline for this Psalm is:

  1. (1 – 7) REMEMBER AND PRAISE

 

  1. (1 – 3)   Praise God as you remember his deeds in the past
  2. (4 – 7)   Remember God chose us

 

  1. (8 – 15) REMEMBER ABRAHAM AND GOD’S COVENANT

 

  1. (8 – 11)   Remember God’s covenant with Abraham
  2. (12 – 15) Remember how God protected the patriarchs

 

  1. (16 – 25) REMEMBER JOSEPH AND HOW GOD GUIDED HIM

 

  1. (16 – 22) Remember how God guided Joseph through difficulty
  2. (23 – 25) Remember how God blessed Israel in Egypt

 

  1. (26 – 44) REMEMBER HOW GOD USED MOSES AND AARON TO

                          SAVE ISRAEL OUT OF SLAVERY

  1. (26 – 36) Remember how God performed miraculous signs through

               Moses and Aaron

  1. (37 – 44) Remember how God led his people from Egypt to the

               Promise Land.

    

  1. (vs. 45) REMEMBER TO OBEY GOD’S WORD AND PRAISE HIM

 

1.  (1 – 7   REMEMBER AND PRAISE

  1. (1 – 3)   Praise God as you remember his deeds in the past

 This Psalm and indeed the next Psalm, Psalm 106 have a very obvious plan for praise and that is we are to look back in God’s word and read and remember how he worked in the past with individual people and particularly with his people Israel and use this as a source of praise to God.

Some might ask well how does events that took place, in some cases like Abraham, 4,000 years ago have any bearing on our lives today?

Yes I will agree how people lived and even thought in many ways 4,000 years ago is very different than how we live and think today but two things have always stayed the same and they are:

  1. People who lived even 4,000 years ago are human beings who are sinners just like us. Charlie my old faithful bible teacher always pointed out to me and the other young people in our bible study how the bible characters were different than us and in many other ways the same as us.

2. The second reason why remembering and learning from how God dealt with people in the past is   the fact that the God who helped and spoke to those people in the past is the same God who speaks and helps us today.

When God revealed himself to a person in a new generation in Israel’s history he often introduced himself like he did to Moses at the burning bush in the desert when he called Moses to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt as recorded in Exodus 3: 6,

Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God”.

So it is the same God right throughout the bible and he never changes as James makes it clear in James 1: 17,

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”.

So what people are like and need in their lives in any age and time particularly spiritually is provided by a God who stays the same yesterday, today and forever so as Charlie would have put it we can learn from the people in the bible how we can be helped by God today.

Both Psalm 105 and 106 start and end with a call to praise; Psalm 105 has three ways of putting this call to praise over three verses.

Verse 1, says,

“Give thanks to the Lord”

verse 2, says,

“Sing to him, sing praise to him”

and verse 3 says,

“Glory in his holy name”

All of these three calls to praise are to be anchored in remembering the great deeds of God for us in the past,

Verse 1, says,

“Make known among the nations what he has done”

verse 2 says,

“Tell of all his wonderful acts”

and verse 3 says,

“Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice”

This last reason for praise is built on remembering what the first two reasons for praise centre on, namely the great deeds or wonderful acts of God in the past.

What God did in the past should cause us to seek this great God of the bible who has made himself known in the past and wants to help us in the present.

The writer to the Hebrews brings these great deeds or acts of God up to date for us with the opening words of his letter, Hebrews 1: 1 – 3,

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven”.

Atheists might argue today that we have no proof that God spoke to people in the past but this final speaking to us, through The Lord Jesus Christ was witnessed by hundreds of people especially when he proved he was God in the flesh by rising from the dead after winning our salvation on the cross.

As the apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15: 3 – 8,

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born”.

Some atheists in the past have tried to disprove the truth of the Christian faith by seeking to destroy what they see as the ridiculous claim that Jesus rose from the dead but like men like Frank Morrison who looked at the evidence came to say that the evidence in fact points to the resurrection being true. Frank Morrison, like many others who tried to disprove the truth of the resurrection of Christ became a believer and follower of Jesus Christ and wrote a powerful book about the evidence for the resurrection called, “Who moved the stone”.

So verse 3 says,

“Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice”

Verse 1 also puts this idea another way with the words,

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name”

The name of God is the character of God and God’s character is so vast and wonderful the bible has many names for him. Moses asked God for his name at the burning bush and God gave him this amazing answer in Exodus 3: 14,

“God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

This might seem a strange name but it is power packed with wonderful teaching, as God and later Jesus claimed to be the great, “I am”, the one and only eternal God who has always existed and will always exist.

When people ask, “Who made God”?

The answer is no – one because he has always existed and from him all things have come in to existence.

As John writes of Jesus in the opening of his Gospel where Jesus is called “The Word”, John 1: 1 -3,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made”.

The “I am” God is also, “The One and only God” and Moses later was given by this God the Ten Commandments which start with the words, Deuteronomy 5: 6 – 7,

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me”.

No other God’s because he is the “I am” God the one and only God of heaven and earth and because of what he has done for us in the past we should praise him.

  1. (4 – 7)   Remember God chose us

 So the opening three verses call us to praise the God of the bible who the writer speaks of as the God of deeds and wonderful acts in the past and because of these deeds and acts we should want to praise him. He speaks of God’s character by calling us to glory in his name and he now speaks directly of an aspect of his character in verse 4, namely his strength to those he chooses to call to himself,

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always”

 This verse contains two important concepts:

  1. God’s Strength
  2. God’s Face

Let me explain what I know about these two concepts.

  1. God’s Strength

David relied on the strength of God and often referred to it like Psalm 62 verse 11,

“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard; that you, O God, are strong”.

 David was forced to rely on the strength of God owing to the many powerful enemies he faced and in Psalm 18 verse 1 he calls God his strength,

“I love you, O Lord, my strength”

 In that Psalm, as in many Psalms he goes on to speak of God as his rock which he relied upon in many unsettling circumstances, Psalm 18: 2,

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold”.

So for David to say in the original poem or Psalm in 1 Chronicles 16: 11, to look to the Lord “my strength” was something David knew first hand and not simply as a theological theory as did the apostle Paul as he writes in 1 Corinthians 12: 10,

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong”.

 Charlie my bible study leader when I was young always encouraged us to trust in the great strong God of the bible like the great characters of the bible did especially when we feel weak and vulnerable and he spoke from real life experience himself as his wife had developed some form of mental illness which she would not recognise and had left him and joined a weird Christian cult. Charlie lost his right to be a minister in charge of a church owing to his wife’s actions and it was only the sympathetic loving attitude of our main minister that let Charlie minister at our church as the second in charge minister for a number of years before Charlie retired from the full-time ministry.

God’s strength will be revealed in various ways in the rest of this Psalm and I will comment on these when this occurs.

  1. God’s Face

What does it mean to seek the face of God?

I sought an answer to this question on the internet and came across a very helpful article by a Christian minister named Marcio Sierra Jr. who is the chief pastor of The Lighthouse Church in Madison, Wisconsin USA, Marcio answers the question this way,

“When we look at a person’s face, we are looking at a lot more than just a face. Just by looking at a person’s face you can tell if the person is angry, happy, sad, tired, worried, hurt, excited, in love, sick, and the list continues. The face of a person reveals a lot about that person. The face of a person is like an open window that allows us to see inside of that person; their thoughts, their pain, their joy, their heart.  This is what God showed me; to seek His face is to enter into God’s heart. When God asks us to seek His face, He is making a call for us to enter into His thoughts and see what He is thinking, to see what He is doing, how he feels about something, to see the love that He has for us, to look at the pain that our sin causes Him, etc.”

 Charlie the leader of the bible study I attended when I was young taught me that we can only learn what God’s thoughts are from his word, the bible and this is why we all must read and study God’s word if we want to seek God’s face and therefore know his thoughts.

 Two scripture references back this up and flesh this out, the first is from the Old Testament, Numbers 6: 22 – 26,

“The Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:24 “The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord turn his face toward you

and give you peace.”’

 And one from the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 4: 6,

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ”.

I reminded you earlier that at the start of John’s Gospel John calls Jesus the very word of God so when we look at what Jesus was like, did and said we are looking at what God is like and therefore we are looking at the face of God.

Moses discovered that the literal face of God cannot be looked at in this life as God is pure light and so Moses had to hide his face as God passed by but when Moses came down from the mountain something of that brilliant light of God, his glory was on Moses face and he had to veil his face after he met with God to speak to him and receive his word.

However as Paul indicated in the 2 Corinthian 4: 6 verse,

“God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ”.

The writer to the Hebrews says in Hebrews 2: 9,

“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone”.

Charlie in his bible studies I attended as a young man always pointed us to Jesus in all of the character studies we did and of course it is through Jesus that we can come to God owing to his death and resurrection for us as the writer to the Hebrews is speaking of in the words,

“Crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone”.

Then David in his original Psalm in 1 Chronicles 16 adapted by a later Psalm writer lays down the core of this inspiration for praising God in the words of verse 5,

“Remember the wonders he has done his miracles and the judgment he pronounced”

When we remember what God had dome in the past we see yet again that he is strong and powerful and can do miraculous things to help and save us. However we also see that the God of the bible is a God who judges sin and from that we should be warned to be careful in how we live and treat others.

Psalm 106 will reveal to us that God’s people Israel often failed to truly love and follow God and in fact they often grumbled and complained and even turned away from God yet God continued to love them even though at times he had to discipline them with judgement for their wilful disobedience.

The writer to the Hebrews tells us that even that disciplining of his people is an act of love as we read in Hebrews 12: 5 – 6,

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you

as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

I mentioned in my introduction that for three years I sought to rebel against God by turning my back on him and his church and I can tell you that during those three years deep down inside me I was not a very happy person. I seemed to be having a fun time with my friends but really I was pretty miserable and God made sure that those three years were not very successful for me and as I said even my so called new non-Christian friends really did not care or love me and when I had a major crisis and disappointment with them I started to realise what I had walked away from was my loving friends at my local church who knew God in their lives.

I still feel deeply for any back slidding Christians I come across today and I long for them to stop their rebellion to the Lord and turn back to him like I did when I was 19 years of age. Let me tell you the coming back was painful in itself but it was a pain that was well worth going through.

Then we come to two verses that speak of our special relationship with God as his chosen people. This is expressed by David in his original Psalm in 1 Chronicles 16 verse 13 and later adapted by the writer of Psalm 105 in two ways.

First in verse 6,

“O descendants of Abraham his servant, O sons of Jacob his chosen ones”.

 We can look at what this verse is teaching us on two levels.

The first is on the literal level as David and the original writer of Psalm 105 would have had in mind and that is that the nation of Israel through the covenant made with Abraham its great original ancestor are God’s special chosen people. I will have more to say about this in the next section of the Psalm talk when we look at Abraham and the covenant God made with him.

Secondly on the level of how the New Testament calls all people who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as children by faith of Abraham as Paul states in Galatians

“So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[

 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith”.

What Paul is alluding to here is the new covenant which is a fulfilment of the Old Covenant through the death and resurrection of Christ which I will also discuss further in the next section of my Psalm talk.

However all I will say about this reference to God’s chosen ones here in verse 6 is that the bible makes it clear that we don’t choose God because of our sins, so God has chosen us and this a teaching right through the bible and here in Psalm 105 as Paul makes it clear in Romans 8: 29 – 30,

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified”.

Israel did not come into being by a nation suddenly deciding one day that they would be God’s special nation called Israel. No Israel as a nation only existed because God called its patriarch Abraham to go from Ur of the Chaldeans to a place God would lead him to and from him a new nation developed over many centuries that became the nation of Israel God’s chosen ones.

This teaching as I have said is fleshed out in the next part of the Psalm and indeed becomes the main idea of the source of the wonderful acts of God David and the writer of Psalm 105 wants us to remember. As Stephen J. Cole puts it,

“The bulk of the psalm (vv. 8 – 44) traces God’s sovereign hand in choosing Israel as His people, protecting them when they were vulnerable and weak, delivering them through the miraculous events of the Exodus, preserving them in the wilderness, and bringing them into the Promised Land. The clear emphasis of these verses is that God did it all”.

Then in verse 7 we have another reminder of the special chosen nature of the nation of Israel,

“He is the Lord our God; his judgements are in all the earth”.

This verse is very interesting because it tells its readers or hearers that yes God is their God and they are therefore as the previous verse declares God’s chosen ones but note the verse also says that,

“His judgements are in all the earth”.

 God told Israel through Moses that they were God’s chosen people for a reason and that reason is stated clearly in Exodus 19: 5 – 6,

“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

 The way a lot of the people of Israel all through history, people we call the Jews today act is they heard the first part of what God said about being God’s “treasured possession” but failed to hear or respond to the second part of being a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation”.

 Being a kingdom of priest’s means that they were the nation God called to take his message to the world as verse 7 of Psalm 105 declares,

“His judgements are in all the earth”.

Even though Israel often failed to do this God still worked through them to take his judgements to the earth particularly by sending his son into the world by being born a Jew who through his followers after he died for our sins on the cross, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven now themselves become the world-wide kingdom of priests who proclaim God’s message to the world as Peter teaches in 1 Peter 2: 9,

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

We need to not fall into the trap the people of Israel often fell into of thinking of ourselves as an exclusive special people of God but who fail to take the message of God through Christ to the world. Charlie encouraged all of the people in his bible study for young people to always look for ways of serving God and four years after joining his bible study group after coming back from falling away from the Lord I decided to go into full-time ministry training at The Sydney Missionary and Bible College.

I only had the privilege of being in Charlies bible study group for two years because Charlie moved on to retirement but the next assistant minister and his faithful wife continued to disciple me and this minister had been a former bible college lecturer and his wife one of his students and therefore I got plenty of encouragement and practical help to go to Bible College myself.

  1. (8 – 15) REMEMBER ABRAHAM AND GOD’S COVENANT
  1. (8 – 11)   Remember God’s covenant with Abraham

So, as Stephen J. Cole indicated after reminding his readers and hearers of Palm 105 that they were God’s special chosen people and the Lord was their God he now sets down a lengthy account of how God did this for the rest of the Psalm up to the last verse, verse 45 which is a conclusion to the whole Psalm.

The writer, who we believe is David up to verse 15 and then is a Psalmist probably at the time of the return from Babylon exile starts this story of the Nation of Israel and how God called and formed them with its founding father Abraham.

In verse 8 and 9 he starts with a summary of the covenant or divine agreement God made with Abraham,

“He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore with Isaac”.

The idea that God’s remembers his covenant is not suggesting that God forgot the promises he made to Abraham but rather as Albert Barnes puts it,

“God has it constantly in remembrance”

God is not like human beings who forget and even deceive or lie as Numbers 23: 19 says,

“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?”

No God made a solemn agreement with Abraham expressed clearly in Genesis 12: 1 – 3,

“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all Peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Later God makes it even clearer that it is a nation of believers he wants to bless Abraham with, Genesis 22: 17 – 18,

“I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

The Nation of Israel even in its hey day would not fulfil the description here but if you include in this prediction The New Israel of God (Galatians 6: 16) which Paul speaks of even more clearly in Galatians 3: 26 – 29, which is the church of Jesus Christ world wide and now being existence for over 2000 years than the descendants would number like the stars in the sky on a clear night.

Galatians 3: 26 – 29 speaks of this New Israel or new family of God being made up of Jew and Gentile, slave and free male and female and finally through Christ the seed or descendants of Abraham,

 “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”.

This idea of the seed of Abraham being all people of faith in God from every nation through God’s Son Jesus Christ also fulfils the words of Psalm 105: 6 that say,

“He (God) remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded for a thousand generations”.

A thousand generations is not meaning God is counting down a thousand generations but this is a poetic description of an enormous number of generations. In Revelation 14 another poetic or symbolic number appears, that has been grossly miss-understood over the years when it has be interpreted as a literal number. I am speaking of the number 144,000, which is, I believe God’s complete number of all generations who will be with him in heaven. The number 144,000 is made up of 12,000 from each of the 12th tribes of Israel.

With this interpretation in mind let me quote Revelation 14: 1 – 3,

“Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth”.

Finally verse 9 ends with the words,

“The oath he swore to Isaac”

This means that the covenant God made with Abraham was passed on to the next generation represented by his son Isaac and this oath was literally recorded for us in Genesis 26: 2 – 3,

“The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham”.

This Abraham covenant promise of God is then spoken of passing from Isaac to Jacob his son in verse 10,

“He confirmed it to Jacob a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant”.

Which we read of happening in Genesis 28: 13 and Genesis 35: 12 and in Genesis 35 we read of how God planned to fulfil this promise through Jacob, Genesis 35: 10 – 13,

“God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel!]” So he named him Israel.

 11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty”]; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. 12 The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” 13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him”.

This promise even in Isaac and Jacob’s time was the land they were wandering about as aliens which was called Canaan. Four hundred years later Canaan would be The Promised Land re-named Israel after Jacobs new name conquered under the leadership of Joshua.

This then is confirmed as the outcome of God’s covenant promise fulfilled in Psalm 105 verse 11,

“To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit”.

Some might ask why didn’t God just give Jacob and his growing family Canaan straight away and not wait 400 years to fulfil this?

The answer is simple Jacob and his family was no more than a couple of dozen people and it took 400 years for this family to grow into at least a small nation able to occupy a land of their own.

Also God had many more people to come who he could speak through as we will see in the rest of the Psalm and as Charlie my bible study leader when I was in my late teens early twenties often told us God spoke through people just like us warts and all so that we could learn how he wants us to relate to him in faith and obedience.

  1. (12 – 15) Remember how God protected the patriarchs

 Before the David and the writer of Psalm 105 wants his readers and hearers to remember some issues to raise about God’s wonderful deeds and acts in the care and protection of the small family groups of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in verse 12 – 15.

He speaks first of all about how vulnerable and fragile they would have been in an often hostile foreign land with no form of ownership or rites to any part of the land of Canaan. This idea is expressed in verses 12 and 13,

“When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it,13 they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another”.

This was particular dangerous time for what would have been a small group of people and yet God protected them time and time again. Abraham got into trouble with two different powerful kings which I will speak of in the next verse and Abraham nearly lost his brother lot when Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed and God had to send an Angel to warn them both of this coming disaster.

Isaac had to have a vision to warn him not to go down to Egypt during a famine in the Land of Canaan and Isaac suffered from the same trouble as his father passing his attractive wife off as his sister before the Philistine king of that time known as Abimelech. Abimelech sees Isaac caressing his wife Rebecca and realises that Rebecca is his wife but instead of becoming angry with Isaac over his deception he orders that no man is to molest Isaac or his wife (Genesis 26: 11).

Jacob has lots of problems living as a stranger and wanderer in the land of Canaan and a lot of his trouble is caused by his often arrogant and deceitful ways and he even ends up in conflict with his twin brother Esau who he steals his birthright from him with deception.

Jacob in later life has an encounter with God and after wrestling with an Angel from God is subdued by some kind of hip injury the Angel gives Jacob and from that time on Jacob seems to become a changed man and God gives him a new exalted name, Israel which could literally mean “one who has struggled with God and has prevailed”.

So verses 12 and 13 of Psalm 105 certainly are a good summary of those early years of Israel’s history.

Then we read in verses 14 and 15 how God specifically helped the Patriarchs and their families during their many years of wandering about the land of Canaan,

“He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings: 15 “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”

 As I said it was a senor minister I am calling Charlie who first introduced me to the concept that the bible presents it’s so called hero’s of faith with warts and all, an expression that means the bible presents the people it speaks about with their failings as well as their successes or good points. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, men we call the Patriarchs are good examples of Charlie’s warts and all theory.

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all got themselves into trouble with powerful men in Canaan and Egypt in their day that could have easily ended their lives and caused an end to their families and to the ability for God to fulfil the many promises of his covenant particularly to make out of them a great nation.

Abraham twice tried to pass off his wife as his sister to two different powerful kings and both times God has to intervene to save the life of Abraham and his family because of his sinful deception. The first instance of this is in Genesis 12: 10 – 20 when he is in Egypt owing to a famine in the Canaan.

The second time he falls to this, not having learnt his lesson the first time is in Genesis 20, where he has the same trouble with a Canaanite king named Abimelech.

The final words of verse 15,

“Do my prophets no harm”

 Could easily be applied to this second incident of Abraham trying to pass off his wife as his sister to the Canaanite king named Abimelech in something God told Abimelech in a dream recorded in Genesis 20: 7a,

“Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet”

Then we find Isaac falling to the same problem with his wife, Rebecca with a king with the same name Abimelech (probably son or grandson of the king Abraham dealt with) who is described this time as the king of the Philistines recorded in Genesis 26: 1 – 19. In Isaacs’s case he not only escapes death at the hands of Abimelech for his deception but is blessed by the king and is able to settle safely in his kingdom as we read in Genesis 26: 17 – 18,

“So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. 18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them”.

Finally as I said earlier Jacob had all sorts of life threatening experiences with his twin brother Esau and his father in law Laban’s sons and then even Laban himself who wanted to kill him because of the wealth Jacob had gained while living with Laban as they believed this wealth came at their expense. Jacob has to return to where his family live and therefore was again in danger of being killed by his twin brother Esau there. However God answered Jacob’s prayer and when he meets his bother he finds that his hatred towards him had passed and he greeted Jacob with tears and loving acceptance.

In all this we see the hand of God protecting and leading this fragile family during the time of the Patriarchs which again is spelt out in the words of verses 14 and 15 of Psalm 105,

“He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings: 15 “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”

The way that God even worked through the failures and human weakness of these men who in many ways are no different from us is a testimony to the words of Paul in Romans 8: 28,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.

I remember first time I really learnt the truth of these words in the bible studies I attended as a young man for two years under the leadership of the wise old assistant minister I am referring to as Charlie. This teaching was very important to me then as I had just come back from falling away from following the Lord and to realise that my salvation was centred in what God had done for me and not on how I had always trusted in God.

Therefore no matter how sinful I was God still loved me and was now even blessing me as he did like men like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the bible.

This was crucial teaching for me to learn that helped me really come back to serving the Lord and two years after those bible studies with Charlie I was preparing for full time ministry in Bible College.

  1. (16 – 25) REMEMBER JOSEPH AND HOW GOD GUIDED HIM

1.  (16 – 22) Remember how God guided Joseph through difficulty

The writer of Psalm 105 then stops his use of David’s original older Psalm in 1 Chronicles 16 and moves on to ask his readers and hearers to continue to remember how God led Israel to fulfil his covenant with Abraham.

Jacob’s second youngest son, Joseph who has an amazing story of the providential guidance of God, represents the first generation after the three Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Joseph story is taken up in a briefer poetic style telling in verses 16 – 22.

Psalm 105 telling of Joseph has, as I see it in these verses four parts:

  1. God creates a famine (vs. 16)
  2. God prepares a saviour through slavery (vv. 17 – 19)
  3. God raises this slave to be a ruler (vv. 20 – 21)
  4. God uses his ruler to teach and help others (vs. 22)

 So let’s have a closer look at this amazing story and as the Psalmist would like us to do remember and ponder the wonderful acts or deeds of God.

  1. God creates a famine (vs. 16)

The Genesis account of Joseph guidance of God does not have any mention of God creating a famine but verse 16 says,

“He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food”.

 Albert Barnes says this about this God designed famine,

“It was, not by chance, not by mere operation of physical laws, but it was because God, ordered it”.

 The famine did not come unto years after Joseph sinful jealous brothers sold him in to slavery in Egypt but this shows God knew what he was going to do, which was call down on the land a famine in years after Joseph seemed lost into slavery in Egypt and through the terrible turn of events for Joseph have him perfectly placed to save his people from death by starvation.

Through the famine God would force Jacob’s growing family into Egypt where over 400 years they could grow into a nation big enough to inherit and inhabit the Promised Land of Canaan the very land they had to flee as strangers and aliens before the famine had come upon them by the hand of God.

All this reminds me of the famous hymn of William Cowper, “God moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform”, which goes like this,

  1. God moves in a mysterious way
    His wonders to perform;
    He plants His footsteps in the sea
    And rides upon the storm.

 

2. Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.

 

3. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

 

4.Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

 

5. His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

 

6. Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

  1. God prepares a saviour through slavery (vv. 17 – 18)

We are then told, in a kind of flash back how God prepared a saviour for his people when they faced death through starvation from the famine God brought upon the land of Canaan.

The saviour is named in verse 17 and the means of his placement in Egypt is also stated,

“And he sent a man before them – Joseph, sold as a slave”.

 Joseph is the victim of family in – fighting caused by jealousy encouraged by Joseph lack of tact about how God blessed him more than his brothers and Joseph acted, in my view a bit like a spoilt child insensitive to his brother’s thoughts and feelings. This of course is no excuse for Joseph brothers wanting to kill him and then through the intervention of another brother Reuben the plot to kill change the brothers minds to selling him as a slave to some passing Ishmaelite slave traders.

Verse 18, expresses the terrible plight of what being sold as a slave might be like,

“They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons”.

 The Genesis account has no mention of the shackling of Joseph but people of the time of the return from Babylonian exile would have been familiar with this kind of cruel treatment of slaves as it was apparently how slaves were treated in their day.

Joseph had got into the mess he was in because he told his brothers and even his father the dream God gave him that implied that one day he, Joseph would rule over his brothers. This seemed to be the last straw with Joseph brothers and their actions actually led to the actual dream prediction being fulfilled as the next verse in Psalm 105 implies, verse 19,

“Till what was foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved true”.

 Yes Joseph was sold into slavery but in Egypt he ends up being bought by an influential Egyptian official of the Pharaoh’s court named Potiphar and Joseph quickly rose to a privileged position in this mans house. However what seems like another tragic turn of events sees Joseph thrown into prison, which comes about because Joseph refuses to have an affair with Potiphar’s wife and she after being rejected by Joseph had him accused of attempted rape.

However even in prison God blessed Joseph and he quickly rises to a privileged position and while there he helps a cupbearer of Pharaoh interpret his dream of immanent release correctly and this turns out to be God’s guidance again to get Joseph out of prison.

  1. God raises this slave to be s ruler (vv. 20 – 21)

The cup-bearer initially forgets the favour Joseph did for him unto Pharaoh has some troubling dreams himself which non of his so-called wise men can interpret and the cupbearer remembers poor Joseph. Psalm 20 – 21 speaks of what then happens,

“The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples set him free”.

 Joseph is sent for by Pharaoh and interprets his dreams correctly, which foretell of the coming famine in Egypt and even as far as Canaan and Joseph ends up freed from prison. Then a remarkable turn of events takes place, expressed poetically by verse 21,

“He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed>”

 Albert Barnes explains the significance of this verse with these words,

“This implied that the administration of the affairs of the nation was virtually committed to him”. 

  1. God uses his ruler to teach and help others (vs. 22)

 So from being sold into slavery to end up in prison God uses all these terrible turn of events to be his means of raising Joseph to an exalted position in Egypt at a vital time to help them and his own people with wisdom only God could give them as verse 22 implies,

“To instruct his princes as he pleased and teach his elders wisdom”.

 Joseph becomes a kind of Governor under Pharaoh to administer the country during the years of good harvests and famine.

All through this amazing story of Joseph is the obvious hand of God in his life expressed so well by Pharaoh himself in Genesis 41: 38,

“So Pharaoh asked them, ‘Can we find anyone like this man (Joseph), in whom is the spirit of God”.

 People might deny the existence of our God but they cannot deny that we, as believers in that God are blessed by something they seem to lack and I believe this can be a powerful tool in our presentation of the Gospel message as Peter advises us with the words of 2 Peter 3: 15 – 16,

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander”.

The story of how God guided Joseph also reminds me of the famous verse Romans 8: 18, which I quoted earlier which says,

“And we know that in all things God works for good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.

Joseph was called according to God’s purpose and so through slavery, false charges and imprisonment God guided Joseph to be a Governor in Egypt to save Egypt and his family from starvation and as we will see in the second part of this third section of the Psalm bring his extended family into Egypt to become a great nation.

  1. (23 – 25) Remember how God blessed Israel in Egypt

 So through Joseph God’s fragile blessed family, which was the out working of his covenant or agreement with Abraham was saved yet again, this time from starvation. This famine that verse 16 was from the direct hand of God also was used for another great purpose in God’s plan and that was to bring Jacob and his growing family into Egypt as verse 23,

“Then Israel entered Egypt; Jacob lived as an alien in the land of ham”.

 Jacob and his family had been alien’s in Canaan before the famine but now verse 23 says they were now aliens in the land of Ham which is a common bible name for Egypt. Leupold explains the use if the title “land of Ham” this way,

“”The land of Ham indicates that the ancestry of Egypt was well known to the Israelites”, (see Genesis 10: 6 – Cush is the people in north Africa in the region of the upper Nile)

The reason for this change of land for Jacob and his family is poetically explained in verse 24,

“The Lord made his people very fruitful; he made them too numerous for their foes”.

 So over a total period of 400 hundred years The Lord blessed Jacobs family and they grew into a nation of people within a nation and this is always a recipe for conflict.

However God knew that Jacobs family could not have developed so quickly and so well in Canaan so he led them through the famine and the rise of Joseph to Egypt where they could grow into a small nation.

As I said nations within nations is a recipe for conflict and this is spoken of in the second half of verse 24 and verse 25,

“He made them too numerous for their foes, whose hearts he turned to hate his people, to conspire against his servants”.

 So the scene is set for the greatest historical story the Jews remember namely the Exodus from Egypt for the hate and fear the Egyptians had for the Israelites lead them to seek to ruthlessly suppress them by turning them into a nation of slaves.

What is being set up here is not just salvation for God’s people out of Egypt but also God’s judgment on Egypt for their cruel and unjust treatment of God’s people, the Israelites the direct descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

I have always had a pet hate for racial prejudice and I see it as another way sin is seen in our world. So often I have seen that racial prejudice is a result or ignorance and false fears of a group of people different than they see themselves. I have always attempted to try to understand people different from myself by seeking to try to stand in their shoes or see the world the way they see it and this has helped me to stop falling into ignorance and racial prejudice thoughts and actions.

  1. (26 – 44) REMEMBER HOW GOD USED MOSES AND AARON TO

                           SAVE ISRAEL OUT OF SLAVERY

  1. (26 – 36) Remember how God performed miraculous signs through

               Moses and Aaron

 The one great act of God that the Old Testament constantly remembers is his act of salvation in the Exodus of his people out of Egypt. It has been said that the word Egypt appears over 700 times in the Old and New Testament and Doug Ward makes this amazing observation of the first five books of the bible and particularly the Exodus story with these words,

“The five books of Moses-Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy-are of critical importance for understanding the rest of the Bible. Themes that begin in these books are expanded and developed throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. In particular, motifs from the exodus account, their central story, appear again and again in the psalms, prophets, gospels and epistles”.

 So it’s not strange that our writer of Psalm 105 spends 19 verses on reminding his readers and hearers of God’s deliverance of Israel out of slavery in Egypt to occupation of the promised land of Canaan.

Our writer speaks of the actual Exodus itself in verses 26 – 36 and I have broken this story of God’s great act of salvation of his people into two parts:

  1. (vv. 26 – 27) The sending of Moses and Aaron to Egypt.
  2. (vv. 28_ 36) God’s miraculous signs in Egypt.

Lets then have a closer look at these two parts:

  1. (vv. 26- 27) The sending of Moses and Aaron to Egypt.

The account of the Exodus story the writer of Psalm 105 wants his readers and hearers to remember is the calling and sending of two senior men, Moses and his younger brother Aaron that he poetically describes this way in verses 26 – 27,

“He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron, whom he had chosen. 27 They performed his signs among them, his wonders in the land of Ham”.

This calling of Moses to go or be sent by God to Egypt, again described poetically by the writer of Psalm 105 as the Land of Ham is recorded for us in Exodus chapter 3. It takes place according to this chapter far off from Egypt in a desert area east from Egypt called Midian, which was located in the Northwest Arabian Peninsula.

I recently heard an Atheist making fun the story of Moses calling saying it was from a burning bush that did not burn up way out in the desert where their was no witnesses, “no witnesses”, he jested, how convenient”. Well there are a lot more miraculous events to take place than a bush that does not burn up to come when Moses and Aaron answer the call and perform great signs and wonders in Egypt and there were thousands of witnesses to them.

Moses is not a young man and either is his brother Aaron but Moses particularly had an incredible life story that prepared him in a wonderful way to be God’s perfect servant and leader of his people out of Egypt.

Moses was brought up and educated in the Egyptian Pharaohs court, which meant he knew their language, customs, history and for the sake of the written record of the bible he learnt ways of writing but we simply don’t know what ancient script Moses actually used some bible scholars say it was what is called Paleo-Hebrew, or a closely related derivative, generally considered to be an offshoot of ancient Phonecian script. However copies of the bible in this Ancient Hebrew script have been lost as a more modern form of Hebrew script was fully adopted scholars say by the sixth of seventh century.

Moses had to flee Egypt as a relatively young man and spent up to forty years in the desert area of Midian keeping sheep. He probably kept up his reading and writing skills and certainly learnt a lot about living and travelling in a desert area’s which meant God had prepared him to lead his people for the last forty years of his life in the desert area’s between Egypt and Canaan before God allowed the people of Israel to occupy the Promised Land.

Moses was a reluctant leader and he offers God at the burning bush many excuses why he is not the man for the job but God offers up his younger brother Aaron to work with him on going down to Egypt to call on Pharaoh to let his people go from Egypt and slavery there.

Psalm 105 verse 26 has two key words to describe Moses and they are:

  1. Servant
  2. Chosen

Let me speak briefly about these two key descriptions of Moses:

  1. Servant

Moses is called “God’s Servant” even in the New Testament in Hebrews 3: 5,

“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house”.

 The title servant means that Moses was faithful and obedient to a master and his master was God himself. Moses sought to follow the word and direction of his master and he basically did this all through his leadership of his people in the story of their deliverance out of Egypt and Hebrews 11 says that Moses did all this by faith.

Moses then was a great example of Servant leadership and this is what “gotquestions?org” says about Christian Servant leadership,

Servant leadership is best defined by Jesus Himself: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26–28). In the Christian realm, all leadership should be servant leadership.

  1. Chosen

Moses like Joseph before him and indeed Abraham were all men chosen and prepared to do a specific job for God but each man, like us has to respond to the call of God when he shows us he has chosen us.

Paul taught in a number of places that God chooses men and women to follow him and that choice of God goes far, far back in the mind and plan of God as he writes in Romans 8: 29 – 30,

 “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified”.

Some Christians resist the idea of God choosing us to follow him but others find it a great comfort and means of praise to God. I personally do find this teaching a great mystery but accepting it gives me confidence that if I am faithful in presenting God’s word to others and leave the work of changing men and women’s hearts and minds to understand it to God then he will call those he has chosen to follow him.

The story of Moses calling and the preparation that led up to it is yet another story of how God works over many years in the hearts and lives of men and women that my old bible study leader I had in my late teens, who I call Charlie would say are men and women just like you and me.

  1. (vv. 28_ 36) God’s miraculous signs in Egypt

So verse 27 said that God sent Moses and Aaron into Egypt to perform God’s miraculous signs and wonders and now, again, in a poetical form the writer of Psalm 105 describes some of these signs and wonders God did through them in Egypt.

I say some of these signs and wonders because Psalm 105 account of these is different than the account we find in Exodus 7 – 12, as not all the plagues are mentioned in Psalm 105 and there order is changed.

Allan Harman explains how the writer of Psalm 105 sets down the story of the plagues in Egypt this way,

“The poet highlights the final two plagues (darkness and death of the firstborn) by placing the other plagues between them”.

 Also two plagues are omitted from Psalm 105 account of the plagues namely the plague on livestock and the plague of boils.

So the writer of Psalm 105 is using a poetic description of what he calls God’s signs which Spurgeon describes this way,

“They were speaking marvels, which testified more plainly than words to the omnipotence of Jehovah, to his determination to be obeyed, to his anger at the obstinacy of Pharaoh”.

 Lets have a closer look at how the writer of Psalm 105 describes the seven “speaking marvels” of God.

  1. Plague of Darkness (vs. 28)

The writer of Psalm 105 starts with plague number 9 recorded in more detail in Exodus 10: 21 – 29, the writer of Psalm 105 describes it this way,

“He sent darkness and made the land dark – for had they not rebelled against his words?”

 Darkness for three days Exodus 10: 23, would have been a very frightening thing to go through but the God who made light right at the beginning of creation now stops light shinning in Egypt. This shows God’s total control and also says to Pharaoh and Egypt that if they defy the word of God then that word that originally made light itself will be deprived of you.

John 3: 19 – 21 says this about the coming of God’s light to the world through the Lord Jesus Christ and his message which is God’s spiritual light to the world,

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God”.

Pharaoh opening defied the God Moses and Aaron spoke on behalf of so over and over again Pharaoh refused to acknowledge the God of the bible and as the second part of verse 28 says, Pharaoh and the people of Egypt he ruled over,

“Rebelled against his (God’s) words?”

 For this they were under the judgment of God as are people today who hate the light of God, God sent into the world namely Jesus Christ who interestingly is called in John 1: 14,

“The word (of God) become flesh”

  1. Plague of water into blood (vs. 29)

The very reason why Egypt existed and prospered as a nation was the fertility of the waters of the great river Nile. In the area that Ancient Egyptians lived was very fertile because it was in the area that the river Nile spread out and often silted up with rich nutrients for growing large food crops.

So we read in verse 29 a terrible plague that effected what only could be called the life- blood of the Egyptian Empire, the river Nile,

“He turned their waters into blood, causing their fish to die”.

 Whether this was literally blood or some red appearing toxic substance that looked like blood really doesn’t matter as the end reflect is the same, the fish die and therefore the river is no longer an agricultural blessing but a curse.

I also read in my research that fish caught in the river Nile was also an important part of ancient Egyptian diets so again God is acting through nature to judge Egypt for their rebellion to his word carried to their Pharaoh by Moses and Aaron.

  1. Plague of frogs (vs. 30)

It has been speculated that because the Nile and all the waterways in Egypt were now toxic to amphibian creatures the next plague which was frogs swarming across the land and entering the buildings of the Egyptians is a natural progression as the frogs sought fresh water as did man.

Verse 30 speaks of this plague this way,

“Their land teemed with frogs, which went up into the bedrooms of their rulers”.

 Exodus 7: 22 – 24, tells us what Pharaoh’s response to the river Nile turning to blood was,

“But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. 23 Instead, he turned and went into his palace, and did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile to get drinking water, because they could not drink the water of the river”.

Like many non believers today Pharaoh chose to willfully turn away from the word of God and shut himself up in his palace thinking that this God of the Hebrews might strike his beloved river Nile but he was safe inside his palace locked away from Moses and Aaron and their supposed God of the universe.

How wrong Pharaoh was as God sent frogs loose all over the land and as the second part of verse 30 says, the frogs,

“Went up into the bedrooms of their rulers”.

 People cannot escape the coming judgment of God except by faith in his Son Jesus Christ who through his death on the cross has cleared a way for anyone who turns in repentance and faith in him to God himself. Faith is Jesus Christ is the only way to escape this certain Day of Judgment.

Interestingly Revelation 6: 15 – 17 speaks of kings of the earth seeking to run away and hide from the coming judgment when Jesus returns and these verses tell us this,

 “Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

  1. Plague of flies and gnats (vs. 31)

With all the dead fish and indeed dead frogs around the next natural plague is flies and gnats feeding and breeding on all the dead flesh lying around the banks of the river Nile and throughout the land from the plague of frogs who have now perished.

Verse 31 says,

“He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, and gnats throughout their country”.

 God often brings his specific acts of judgment to the world through natural processes but he is behind all as we learnt in the last Psalm seen in a verse like Psalm 104: 29,

“When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to dust”.

 God is the sovereign Lord of the universe and he is in control of this world giving by his hand his judgments and his blessings as Psalm 104: 27 – 28,

“All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time.28 When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things”.

  1. Plague of hail (vs. 32 -33)

Then we read in verse 32 skips past the next two plagues recorded in Exodus 9 to another natural part of nature being used by God as a judgment on rebellious Egypt and its ruler, Pharaoh,

“He turned their rain into hail, with lightening throughout their land”

 This was not just a big thunderstorm but as Exodus 9: 18 – 19, the worst

Thunderstorm in Egypt history as described in these verses like this,

“Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now.

19 Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every person and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.’”

 I like what Moses tells Pharaoh leading up to these verses in verses 15 – 17,

“For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. 17 You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go”.

God is not just judging the rebellious sins of Pharaoh and his people he is saying something to the world in Moses and Aaron’s time and in the future that he is the one true great and powerful God of heaven and earth and that to rebel against him has dire consequences.

This is a message very much-needed today as people today are just like Pharaoh and his people in Egypt they refuse to even listen the God and his word and instead choose to turn their backs on him and his offer of salvation through Christ his one and only son.

The hail was so large and came down with such force that animal or human would die if they were out in the open and not under shelter. Psalm 105 speaks of the devastation in Egypt caused by this massive thunderstorm and the hail it rained down with these words,

“He struck down their vines and fig trees and shattered the trees of their country”.

We all need the spiritual shelter Christ offered through his sacrifice of his life on the cross for our sins to escape the coming judgment of God but so many refuse to shelter or live in Christ so they have no hope of escape from the coming judgment of God.

  1. Plague of Locus (34 – 35)

If the hail and the devastation it caused to the land of Egypt had not destroyed Egypt’s economy at that time the next certainly finishes it off destroying anything left in the fields of the land. For verses 34 and 35 speak of the plague of locusts,

He spoke, and the locusts came, grasshoppers without number; 35 they ate up every green thing in their land, ate up the produce of their soil”.

 Spurgeon speaks of these locusts as a kind of natural army and then writes,

“Commissioned as these were by God, we may be sure they would do their work thoughly, and leave behind them nothing but desolate wilderness”.

 It has been said that the plagues were also a judgment on the Egyptian supposed God’s that combined nature, like cows and frogs heads on their description of their God’s. Now God is using nature like frogs and here locusts to attack their lives and crops that is saying to Pharaoh and his people that they need to turn away from these false God’s and worship the one true God of heaven and earth.

Paul speaks of the foolishness of mankind when they turn away from God in sinful rebellion in Romans 1: 21 – 23,

 “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles”.

No Egyptian God could stand up against the one true God of heaven and earth to stop his army of locusts devouring the land yet we learn with dismay and unbelief still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened in rebellion to God.

  1. Plague of the death of the first-born (vs. 36)

So finally after nine plagues that struck Egypt and after nine times Pharaoh still refused to acknowledge the one true God of heaven and earth he now faced the loss of his first-born son, the very heir to the throne of Egypt,

“Then he struck down all the firstborn in their land, the first fruits of all their manhood”.

 So not only Pharaoh lost his first-born son but all other Egyptians as well lost their first-born sons. Of course Exodus 12 tells us that all the first-born of the Israelites who put the blood of the sacrificed lamb on their door posts were saved because God’s angel of death passed over these houses and the first-born sons inside were saved from death.

This very night has become ever since a special night of remembrance when all Jews conduct the solemn celebration of “Passover” and it is at the same time Christians celebrate the solemn celebration of Easter.

 

We might not celebrate the birth of Jesus at the right time of the year but we certainly celebrate his death on the cross at the right time. Just as the blood of the slain lamb saved the firstborn sons of the believing Israelites so the blood of Jesus Christ God’s sacrificial lamb saves us all who believe in him from eternal death and wins for us eternal life.

As Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 1: 18 – 21,

 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God”.

 The faith and hope of the Israelites in the time of the original Passover was in God and he saved them like he saves anyone from any nation or life status today if they believe in, “the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect”.

 Pharaoh and the Egyptian people obviously did not believe and hope in the one true God of heaven and earth and in fact chose to defy his rule in their lives and rebel against his word given to them through his prophets Moses and Aaron and suffered the judgment of God on that terrible night long ago in Egypt.

This must serve as a warning to all who today choose to turn their backs on God and his word and who mock the salvation he offers through the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. (37 – 44) Remember how God led his people from Egypt to the

               Promise Land.

     So no mention of the Passover is made in Psalm 105 but this was such a vital part of every Jewish believer’s life when every year they remembered the Lord and his great deeds in the time of the Exodus so he does not need to refer to this for them.

What he does remind them of about the Exodus from Egypt is what they left with in verse 37,

“He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold, and from among their tribes no one faltered”.

 We read of this plundering of Egyptian treasure in Exodus 12: 33 -36,

“The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” 34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. 35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36 The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians”.

The writer of Psalm 105 suggests why the Egyptians would have given over these treasures in verse 38,

“Egypt was glad when they left, because dread of Israel had fallen on them”.

Pharaoh and the Egyptians just wanted the Israelites out of their country now and were willing to hand over valuables to help achieve this as they now feared that this powerful God of the Israelites might turn on them and wipe them out just as they had just seen in the death’s of their first-born sons. We know from the Exodus account that this attitude of Pharaoh and his people did not last as after a few days had passed Pharaoh sent an army out to hunt Israel down and kill them all. Tremper Longman 111 points out the significance of the Israelites plundering the Egyptians when they left Egypt,

“In a sense, the Hebrew’s were finally paid for their onerous labour for the Egyptians”.

Then the writer skips over the great salvation of God seen in the crossing of the red sea with its crushing victory over the Egyptian army that was sent to cut them down.

For in verse’s 39 – 41 he speaks of two amazing aspects of the way God led and fed and watered his people during the forty years of wandering in the wilderness before he allowed them to enter the Promised Land of Canaan.

In these verses he reminds his hearers and readers to remember three things:

  1. How God guided them (vs. 39)
  2. How God fed them (vs. 40)
  3. How God provided water for them to drink (vs. 41)

Lets have a closer look at each of these three ways God provided for the Israelites during the forty years of wandering in the wilderness.

  1. How God guided them (vs. 39)

Even before the crossing of the Red Sea Exodus speaks of the way God guided his people in the wilderness by day and night and verse 39 describes it this way,

“He spread out a cloud as a covering and a fire to give them light at night”.

 Here the cloud at day and fire or pillar of fire at night is not just for guidance but also protection. We read of the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day guiding or leading the people in the wilderness in Exodus 13: 21 – 22,

“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people”.

The protection of the cloud by day of the Israelites is described this way in Exodus 14: 19 – 20,

 “Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20 coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long”.

So God led and protected his people and he promises the same guidance and protection for all who put their faith in Christ and seek to live for him as we read in Paul’s prayer request for God’s protection from the devil as he and his companions spread the Gospel message of the Lord on his missionary journeys in 2 Thessalonians 3: 1 – 3,

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honoured, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one”.

 We don’t have a cloud or pillar of fire to guide us but as Jesus promised on his last night on earth we have his Holy Spirit who will guide us and lead us into all truth, John 16: 13 – 15,

 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

 The apostles wrote down for us faithfully what they heard Jesus taught and did and this was inspired by the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised them in John 16. So we can read Jesus words and also the inspired words of the apostles who not only wrote it down but fleshed out what Jesus said, applying it to our lives and giving us direction through it.

So we are led and protected by God’s Holy Spirit in our daily lives just as the Israelites of long ago were led and protected by The Angel of the Lord who appeared to them in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

  1. How God fed them (vs. 40)

Just as the Patriarchs lived in a hostile world as strangers and wanderers and could have perished so easily in that environment now a whole nation probably around 2 million people moved around the desert area’s between Egypt and Canaan and this was a miracle in itself that such a large number survived in such difficult conditions. They would have spent some time in many of the places they made camp in but still the feeding of such a number would have been even in modern times a logistical nightmare yet verse 40 says,

“They asked and he brought quail and satisfied them with bread of heaven”.

 Psalm 106 which parallel this Psalm in remembering this amazing history of the nation points out how God answered their request for food even though it was asked for in a grumbling sinful way, Psalm 106: 13 – 15,

“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”.

So they asked God for food grumbling and saying why God did you take us out of Egypt where we had food, Exodus 16: 2 – 3,

“In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

The general grace of God for the world is expressed in Jesus words in Matthew 5: 45,

“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”.

So God fed the grumbling sinful Israelites with two more miracles of quails blown off course from the coast to be caught and eaten and through the miracle of the manna, which even to this day we cannot understand just exactly what it was. Gotquestion?org makes this fascinating observation,

What was manna? Interestingly, the Israelites asked the very same question: “When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat’” (Exodus 16:15). The Hebrew word translated “manna” literally means “what is it?”

Whatever Manna was Psalm 105: 40 says God,

“Satisfied them with bread of heaven”.

 Jesus tells people who followed him for a easy free meal, John 6: 35,

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty”.

Even in my poorest time of my life when I was a student God always made sure I never went hungry but Jesus is speaking of a far deeper hunger, spiritual hunger that of course only by faith in him can it be satisfied.

  1. How God provided water for them to drink (vs. 41)

Even more difficult than food is the provision of enough water for over two million people in a desert area and so the writer of Psalm 105 in verse 41 calls on his hearers and readers to remember God’s provision of water for Israel in their forty-year desert wanderings, he writes,

“He opened the rock, and water gushed out; like a river it flowed in the desert”.

 Numbers 20: 1 – 13 records the details of God doing this, providing water from a rock in the desert and this passage refers to this as,

“Waters of Meribah” verse 13 and Meribah means quarreling and this place is called Massah in the Exodus 17 account of this incident and Massah means testing and this is because again like with food the Israelites who had already seen God’s great many previous miracles could not believe he could or would provide them with water in the desert when there seemed no hope for it there.

Yet even as Moses himself sins by striking the rock in anger when he was specifically to speak to the rock, Numbers 20: 8,

“Speak to the rock before their eyes and it will pour out water”

 God opens the rock and water gushes out which probably means this rock provided access to artesian water. Moses and Aaron for this sinful way of following the command of God are forbidden to lead the people into the promised land, Numbers 20: 12,

“But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them”.

This story teaches us many things not to mention that God does not care for grumbling and complaining but his grace is so great that even sinful people like these Israelites were still helped and saved by him which will be a major theme of the next Psalm, Psalm 106.

Jesus also refers to himself as the one who quenches our deep spiritual thirst, John 7: 37 – 38,

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them”.

I feel that many people today suffer great spiritual thirst which I believe that only faith in Jesus Christ can quench and I have a much more involved study on this in my Psalm talk on Psalm 63. The first verse of this Psalm reads like this,

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water”.

 Then in the last three verses of this second part of the fourth section of the Psalm we have the poetic description of the conquest of God’s Promised Land for his people.

The writer presents three things he wants his readers and hearers to remember about the conquest of the land in these next three verses:

  1. How the land is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham (vs. 42)
  2. How the people entered the promise land with joy (vs. 43)
  3. How God conquered nations to give them the Promised Land (vs. 44)

Lets look a little closer at each of these three things the writer of Psalm 105 wants his readers and hearers to remember about how the ancient Israelites entered God’s Promise Land.

  1. How the land is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham (vs. 42)

First we have yet another reminder that the land of Canaan was promised to Abraham a long time before the Israelites with God’s help were able to conquer and settle in it. This is expressed in verse 42,

“For he remembered his holy promise given to his servant Abraham”.

 The readers and hearers of this Psalm are to remember that the land of Canaan was only theirs because God promised it to Abraham as a vital part of his covenant with Abraham, which was the basis of the covenant he made to them through Moses. It is interesting that the covenant of God to Abraham and his descendants is now the completed or made new in the work of Jesus Christ for us.

We gain a very real understanding of how Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant and founder of what we now call “The New Covenant” through the teaching of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament.

 I don’t have time to go into a detailed discussion and explanation of the relationship between the Old and New Covenants but here I will just look at two issues relating to verse 42 of Psalm 105.

The first is that the New Covenant established by the work of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins is a new covenant because it is superior to the covenant or agreement that verse 42 speaks of because it achieves far more and is no longer restricted to the descendants of Abraham.

We see this in a passage like Hebrews 8: 6 – 13,

“But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.

 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said]: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.

 

It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.


10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11 No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” 13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear”

The second observation I would like to make about the New Covenant and the Old Covenant relating to Psalm 105 verse 42 is its relationship to the inheritance of the land and a verse that points us to how the New Covenant should shape our thinking on the promised inheritance of the land is Hebrews 9: 15,

“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant”.

So heaven is the Promise Land of the new covenant which is spoken about by all of the New Testament writers as we see in 1 Peter 1: 3 – 5,

“ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time”. 

  1. How the people entered the promise land with joy (vs. 43)

 The second thing the writer of Psalm 105 wants his readers and hearers to remember about the ancient Israelites entering the Promise Land is in verse 43 which speaks of the way the people came into the land, he writes,

“He brought out his people with rejoicing his chosen ones with shouts of joy”.

 The Israelites who entered the Promise Land had in one sense had waited hundreds of years for that day to come as God’s people descended from Abraham. Their fathers had been slaves in Egypt and many of them had spent 40 years wandering around the wilderness living in tents but now they had finally entered the Promise Land and what a day that must have been for them and they would have been shouting great words and songs of rejoicing and praise in their God.

It is the book of Joshua records the way God led his people into the Promise Land and helped them to conquer it. Joshua 5: 10 – 12, speaks of a great first Passover celebration that took place in the Promised Land at a place they called Gilgal,

 “On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. 11 The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. 12 The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan”.

What a great day of celebration that would have been and note how God’s provision of manna stopped that day as they now could eat produce grown in the Promised Land for the first time.

The New Testament speaks of how we are to live our lives in Christ with praise and rejoicing as Paul teaches in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 – 18,

 “Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

Paul’s prayer for the Colossians in Colossians 1: 9 – 12, includes giving thanks and being joyful as we live a life worthy of the Lord as we move towards entering our eternal inheritance,

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light”.

So as we remember what Christ has done for us through his death and resurrection we are to live a life worthy of the Lord giving thanks and being joyful as we share even now in God’s great inheritance which we only have now a foretaste in his church that will be ours completely when we enter in heaven one day in the future.

  1. How God conquered nations to give them the Promised Land (vs. 44)

The third and final thing the writer of Psalm 105 wants his readers and hearers to remember about the ancient Israelites entering the Promise Land is in verse 44 which speaks of how God conquered nations to give them the Promised Land people in the past like Moses and Aaron toiled for,

“He have them the lands of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for”.

 The conquest of the Promise Land was an often slow but sure process of victory after victory of a tiny nation that defeated far bigger and more powerful nations that occupied the land of Canaan at that time. The big difference was their God who went before them time and time again and made their victories against often-ridiculous odds possible.

I like the glimpse we have of how many Canaanites actually thought of the coming of the Israelites to their lands which is provided through what could only be called the words of the converted prostitute Rahab in Joshua 2: 8 – 11,

“Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.

11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below”.

The Nations in Canaan must have got even unnerved after the fall of Jericho and the circumstances of its conquest. So God went before his people Israel and gave them the lands of Canaan a land already prepared for occupation as its former owners had developed it which is what the second part of verse 44 is saying,

“They fell heir to what others had toiled for”.

 Paul speaks of the preaching and spreading the Gospel of the Lord is like a victory march in 2 Corinthians 2: 14 – 16,

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?”

  1. (vs. 45) REMEMBER TO OBEY GOD’S WORD AND PRAISE HIM

The writer of Psalm 105 then brings his poem of remembrance of what God has done that should lead us to praise with to final exhortations:

  1. Remember to obey God’s word (vs. 45a)
  2. Remember to Praise the Lord (vs. 45b)

Lets look at each of these two final exhortations a little close:

  1. Remember to obey God’s word (vs. 45a)

What did God want his people to do as they lived in his Promised Land?

The writer of Psalm 105 answer is,

“That they might keep his precepts and observe his laws”

 Spurgeon explains this well with these words,

“The chosen nation was to be the conservator of truth, the exemplar, the pattern of devotion: everything was so ordered as to place them in advantages circumstances for fulfilling trust”

Joshua at the end of his life at 110 years gathered the people of Israel together and said these words to them, Joshua 23: 6,

“Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left”.

He completes this speech with these words, verse 16,

“If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.”

We learnt earlier that God called Israel for a special purpose to be a kingdom of priests to the world, Exodus 19: 5 – 6,

“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

This priestly role and priest means go – between was to proclaim the message of God and how he wants the people of the world to live in obedience to his word. We also learnt the Peter now reveals to us that we as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ redeemed by his blood on the cross are now his priests or go – betweens God and the unbelieving people of this word, 1 Peter 2: 9,

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Note Peter makes it clear that as priests we are to,

“Declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

This involves declaring the word of God, which we cannot declare effectively if we are not trusting and obeying it in our daily lives.

The sad truth that we will see in the next Psalm, Psalm 106 is that by and large the people of Israel once they entered the Promised Land and settled down generally failed to,

“Keep his precepts and observe his laws”

This fact would have been a living reality in the mind of the writer of Psalm 105, if he wrote it as we think, around the time of the return from Babylonian exile. He would have known that for hundreds of years leading up to the Babylonian exile the people of Israel who lived in the Promised Land failed over and over again to keep the precepts of God and observe his law and even turned away from following the God of the bible to other God’s.

For this God judged his people and for seventy years the majority of them were taken into exile in Babylon away from the Promised Land of Israel. However after 70 years they were allowed to go back as God moved yet again in history to help them return to the Promised Land of Israel under the rule of the Persians.

This writer is reminding his readers of this so that they might learn to trust and obey the word of God as they come back to Israel the Promised Land of God.

He knows that God only gave them this land so that they could fulfill his promise of them being his special people who would be his priests to the world declaring to the world his word.

So we now as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ have a special mission to fulfill expressed by Jesus in Matthew 28: 19 – 20,

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

  1. Remember to Praise the Lord (vs. 45b)

The final words of the Psalm are short but sweet, they simply say,

“Praise the Lord”

 All through the Psalm the message has been remember God’s deeds and praise him. The words that follow the quote I gave in the previous part from the exposition of this Psalm by Spurgeon go on to say this about how God wanted his people to live in his Promised Land,

“Theirs was a high calling and a glorious election. It involved great responsibilities, but it was in itself a distinguished blessing, and one for which the nation was bound to give thanks”.

 There remembering was to lead to praise and this praise was to come from what they remembered the Lord had done for them. This was the high calling they had for the many privileges God gave them as his special people living in his Promised Land.

We too have a high calling expressed so well by Paul in Ephesians 1: 11 – 12,

“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory”.

May we all learn the lesson that the writer of Psalm 105 has given us in his long and amazing Psalm, which is,

“Remember God’s deeds and Praise Him”.

I close as usual with a new poem based on the Psalm and a prayer:

 

REMEMBER THE LORD AND PRAISE HIM

(Based on Psalm 105)

 

Remember what the Lord has done

And give him thanks and praise.

Tell all the nations of his deeds

Praise his name all of your days.

His glory has been revealed

By his acts of mighty love

For Jesus came to die for us

From heaven up above.

 

Chorus:

 

Remember the Lord and praise

And live for him all your days.

Remember the Lord and praise

For he has shown his love in all his ways.

 

 

Remember all the wonders the Lord has done

Many miracles he has performed.

O people who have faith like Abraham

Remember the Lord and be transformed.

For he is the Lord our God

And he judges all the earth

But remember that faith in Jesus Christ

Will save us and gives us new birth.

 

CHORUS:

 

Remember the covenant God made with Abraham

He promised him he would inherit a land.

And although he wandered from place to place

God protected him by his mighty hand.

And we have an inheritance

That will never fade away

For in Jesus we will live forever more

When we pass from this life one day.

 

CHORUS:

 

Remember the stories of the people of God

Who were trapped in a land as slaves.

But God sent Moses to help free them

But Pharaoh stood in God’s way.

But God showed him many powerful signs

Nine plagues came on Egypt’s land

The tenth sign of God was the death of first Son’s

But God’s people were saved by God’s hand.

 

CHORUS:

 

Remember how God led his people to

The land he promised to Abraham.

With many miracles he helped them to survive

And conquer the land of Canaan.

And Jesus has made us a way

To an eternal home above

But we must trust in him for our Salvation

And praise him for his love.

 

CHORUS:

 

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

PRAYER:

We thank you Lord for your wonderful deeds of Salvation throughout history for the people you have called into your kingdom. Above all we thank you for your great deed of love in sending your Son Jesus Christ into our world to die on the cross for our sins and for his rising from the dead that sealed our salvation and won for us the eternal inheritance of heaven itself that will never fade or pass away. We praise you then for your many wonderful deeds of salvation for us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.