June 14: Psalm 106

Iain D Campbell
Psalm 106 is another of the Psalms which celebrates the history of redemption, and focuses our attention on the experience of Israel, led and kept by God while on pilgrimage to the promised land. 

One of the reasons such psalms are important is that they remind us that God was in the history of his people, as he always is. Israel's history is not just history: it is God's history, in which he works out his eternal purposes of grace in time and space. Reflecting on that theme leads the psalmist simply to ask 'Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord or fully declare his praise?' (Psalm 106:2). 

Out of the many themes of this psalm, I want just to draw attention to the contrast between God and his people. It is one of the recurring notes of this hymn of praise to God. 

WE, says verse 6, have sinned, just as Israel did. But HE saved them, for the sake of his name (v8). 

WE so easily forget God, as Israel did (vv13, 21), but He, through the intervention of Moses, kept his wrath from consuming them (v23). 

WE fail to believe God's promise (v24), and rebel against his Spirit (v33); WE fail to live holy lives, and too often intermingle with the world and emulate its ways (vv34-35); and when we deserve God's anger, and are exposed to his chastening hand...HE hears our cry, and HE remembers his covenant. 

No wonder God's people have a reason to give thanks to God's holy name, and glory in him (v47) .... WE sin, but HE remembers his covenant! That is the gospel - at one and the same time showing us that in spite of our faithlessness and lawbreaking, God remains faithful to his promise to save his own. The history of Israel is our history too - sin on our part, mercy on God's; disobedience on our side, love on God's; faithlessness on our part, faithfulness on God's. Now THAT's amazing grace! 

'Let all the people say, "Amen!"'