Have you ever preached a sermon and found that to do a subject justice in the short time you had was difficult? Which parts should you emphasize and which parts can be left out, hopefully for another occasion? Should you emphasize the positives and leave out the discouraging stuff? Or should you dwell on the failures and bring out God’s grace in the midst of human weakness? Challenging.
Maybe this was what was on the mind of the psalmist (whose name we are not given) when writing Psalms 104-106? Why do I say this? Because there is an interesting progression from Psalms 104 to 106.
In Psalm 104 we are reminded to worship God as the psalmist considers all that God has done in his creation as he exclaims in wonder, How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. (v. 24).
In Psalm 105 we move from the creation to what God has done in history. The psalmist speaks of all his wonderful acts and exhorts us to remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he pronounced. (vs. 2 & 5). What follows are the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Aaron and the story of God’s formation of the great nation of Israel and her deliverance from the bondage of slavery in Egypt to her final settling in the promised land as God remembered his holy promise given to his servant Abraham and eventually fulfilled in his people… his chosen ones. (vs. 42-43)
Psalm 106 then gives us a bigger picture of things mentioned in the previous psalm as it tells us the tale, “warts and all”. Yes, God did mighty acts for his people… [his] chosen ones (vs. 4-5) as described in Psalm 105, but sadly they were not always grateful or faithful or obedient to his commands. In fact, the psalmist describes some of their responses in the following way: We have sinned… we have done wrong and acted wickedly… our fathers… gave no thought to your miracles… did not remember… rebelled… soon forgot… put God to the test… (vs 6-14) and that is just the beginning! We shall consider all this in the future.
Today though, let’s consider Psalm 105 which begins with the words:
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
2 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4 Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
What follows is the amazing story of God at work in the day-by-day activities of his human creatures, choosing Israel to be his representatives in the world to display to the nations just how glorious he is. In that process he chooses mere men and women to be his ambassadors and leaders and to be his voice to the people of his choosing.
Just consider who he chose.
Abraham, whom God calls his servant (v. 6), with whom God made a covenant (v. 9).
Isaac and Jacob, to whom God confirmed this everlasting covenant (vs. 9-10)
Joseph, sold as a slave who eventually was made ruler of peoples by the King of Egypt himself. (vs. 16-22)
Moses, his servant and Aaron, whom he had chosen, through whom God performed his miraculous signs and through whom God eventually delivered his people and brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy and he gave them the lands of the nations. (vs. 26, 27 & 43-44).
No wonder the psalmist begins with the words:
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name
And concludes with:
Praise the Lord. Amen.
Have you ever wondered why God chose you? And what wonderful acts has God done in your life lately? Have you given him thanks for these things? If not, stop and do so right now.