God is Faithful
Psalms 105:1-106:48 September 20 2009
Let us remember the Redeemer’s marvellous works, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth. Though true Christians are few number, strangers and pilgrims upon earth, yet a far better inheritance than Canaan is made sure to them by the covenant of God; and if we have the anointing of the Holy Spirit, none can do us any harm. Afflictions are among our mercies. They prove our faith and love, they humble our pride, they wean us from the world, and quicken our prayers. Bread is the staff which supports life; when that staff is broken, the body fails and sinks to the earth. The word of God is the staff of spiritual life, the food and support of the soul: the sorest judgment is a famine of hearing the word of the Lord. Such a famine was sore in all lands when Christ appeared in the flesh; whose coming, and the blessed effect of it, are shadowed forth in the history of Joseph. At the appointed time Christ was exalted as Mediator; all the treasures of grace and salvation are at his disposal, perishing sinners come to him, and are relieved by him.
1. The Remembers His Covenant (Psalms 105:7-11)
Ps. 105:7 He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. 8 He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations, 9 the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. 10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: 11 “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.”
The Lord remembers his covenant with Abraham (Psalms 105 42-45). Covenant. The promissory covenant of (Gen 15:9-21). This verse and (Psalms 105:9) may be echoed in (Luke 1:72-73). Thousand Generations. (Ex 20:6; Dt 7:9; 1Ch 16:15). As a decree. As a fixed policy governing his future actions (Psalms 105: 45). God’s covenant with the patriarchs (Psalms 105:8-11)
We are here taught, in praising God, to look a great way back, and to give him the glory of what he did for his church in former ages, especially when it was in the founding and forming, which those in its latter ages enjoy the benefit of and therefore should give thanks for. Doubtless we may fetch as proper matter for praise from the histories of the gospels, and the acts of the apostles, which relate the birth of the Christian church, as the psalmist here does from the histories of Genesis and Exodus, which relate the birth of the Jewish church; and our histories greatly outshine theirs. Two things are here made the subject of praise:-)
God’s promise to the patriarchs, that great promise that he would give to their seed the land of Canaan for an inheritance, which was a type of the promise of eternal life made in Christ to all believers. In all the marvellous works which God did for Israel he remembered his covenant (Psalms105:8) and he will remember it for ever; it is the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. See here the power of the promise; it is the word which he commanded and which will take effect. See the perpetuity of the promise; it is commanded to a thousand generations, and the entail of it shall not be cut off. In the parallel place it is expressed as our duty (1Chr. 16:15), Be you mindful always of his covenant. God will not forget it and therefore we must not. The promise is here called a covenant, because there was something required on man’s part as the condition of the promise. Observe,
The persons with whom this covenant was made-with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, grandfather, father, and son, all eminent believers, Heb. 11:8, 9.
2. God’s afflicted people here own themselves guilty before God
Ps. 106:6 We have sinned, even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. 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.
(Psalms 106:6-43) Israel’s history of rebellion. A general confession of sin introducing the recital. WE. The author identifies himself with Israel in her rebellion even as he prays for inclusion in God’s mercies toward his people (Ezr 9:6-7). (Psalms 106:7,22) Miracles. For example, the plagues against Egypt (Psalms 9:1, “wonders”).
Here begins a penitential confession of sin, which was in a special manner seasonable now that the church was in distress; for thus we must justify God in all that he brings upon us, acknowledging that therefore he has done right, because we have done wickedly; and the remembrance of former sins, notwithstanding which God did not cast off his people, is an encouragement to us to hope that, though we are justly corrected for our sins, yet we shall not be utterly abandoned.
3. Worshipping The Golden Calf (106:19-23)
Ps. 106:19 At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. 20 They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass. 21 They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, Horeb. ( Ex 3:1). GLORY. Glorious One (1Sam 15:29; Jer 2:11). Land of Ham. (Psalms 78:51.
Those that will not wait for God’s counsel, shall justly be given up to their own hearts’ lusts, to walk in their own counsels. An undue desire, even for lawful things, becomes sinful. God showed his displeasure for this. He filled them with uneasiness of mind, terror of conscience, and self-reproach. Many that fare deliciously every day, and whose bodies are healthful, have leanness in their souls: no love to God, no thankfulness, no appetite for the Bread of life, and then the soul must be lean. Those wretchedly forget themselves, that feast their bodies and starve their souls. Even the true believer will see abundant cause to say, It is of the Lord’s mercies that I am not consumed. Often have we set up idols in our hearts, cleaved to some forbidden object; so that if a greater than Moses had not stood to turn away the anger of the Lord, we should have been destroyed. If God dealt severely with Moses for unadvised words, what do those deserve who speak many proud and wicked words? It is just in God to remove those relations that are blessings to us, when we are peevish and provoking to them, and grieve their spirits.
4. God’s Stern Measures Against His Rebellious People (Psalms 106:40-45)
Ps. 106:40 Therefore the LORD was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. 41 He handed them over to the nations, and their foes ruled over them. 42 Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power. 43 Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin. 44 But he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; 45 for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented.
(Pslams106:40-43) God’s stern measures against his rebellious people —a general description applicable from the days of the judges to the Babylonian exile and focusing particularly on God’s most severe form of covenant sanctions (Lev 26:25-26,33,38-39; Dt 28:25,36-37,48-57,64-68). (Psalms106:40) Angry. (Psalms 2:5). Abhorred. (Psalms 5:6). (Psalms 106:44-46) God’s gracious remembering of his covenant —a general description applicable from the days of the judges to the Babylonian exile. (Psalms 106:44) Heard their cry. (Ex 2:23; 3:7-9; Nu 20:16; Jdg 3:9,15; 4:3; 6:6-7; 10:10; 1Sa 9:16; 2Ch 20:6-12; Ne 9:27-28). Remembered His Covenant. (Psalms 105:8,42; Ex 2:24; Lev 26:42,45). LOVE. (Psalms 6:4).
The conduct of the Israelites in Canaan, and God’s dealings with them, show that the way of sin is down-hill; omissions make way for commissions: when they neglected to destroy the heathen, they learned their works. One sin led to many more, and brought the judgments of God on them. Their sin was, in part, their own punishment. Sinners often see themselves ruined by those who led them into evil. Satan, who is a tempter, will be a tormentor. At length, God showed pity to his people for his covenant’s sake. The unchangeableness of God’s merciful nature and love to his people, makes him change the course of justice into mercy; and no other change is meant by God’s repentance. Our case is awful when the outward church is considered. When nations professing Christianity, are so guilty as we are, no wonder if the Lord brings them low for their sins. Unless there is general and deep repentance, there can be no prospect but of increasing calamities. The psalm concludes with prayer for completing the deliverance of God’s people, and praise for the beginning and progress of it. May all the people of the earth, ere long, add their Amen.
None of our sins or sufferings should prevent our ascribing glory and praise to the Lord. The more unworthy we are, the more is his kindness to be admired. And those who depend on the Redeemer’s righteousness will endeavour to copy his example, and by word and deed to show forth his praise. God’s people have reason to be cheerful people; and need not envy the children of men their pleasure or pride.