Psalm 106

Psalm 106

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Give Thanks to the Lord, for He Is Good

106   Praise the LORD!
  Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
  Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD,
    or declare all his praise?
  Blessed are they who observe justice,
    who do righteousness at all times!
  Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people;
    help me when you save them,
  that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones,
    that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
    that I may glory with your inheritance.
  Both we and our fathers have sinned;
    we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.
  Our fathers, when they were in Egypt,
    did not consider your wondrous works;
  they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
    but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
  Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
    that he might make known his mighty power.
  He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry,
    and he led them through the deep as through a desert.
  So he saved them from the hand of the foe
    and redeemed them from the power of the enemy.
  And the waters covered their adversaries;
    not one of them was left.
  Then they believed his words;
    they sang his praise.
  But they soon forgot his works;
    they did not wait for his counsel.
  But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,
    and put God to the test in the desert;
  he gave them what they asked,
    but sent a wasting disease among them.
  When men in the camp were jealous of Moses
    and Aaron, the holy one of the LORD,
  the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,
    and covered the company of Abiram.
  Fire also broke out in their company;
    the flame burned up the wicked.
  They made a calf in Horeb
    and worshiped a metal image.
  They exchanged the glory of God
    for the image of an ox that eats grass.
  They forgot God, their Savior,
    who had done great things in Egypt,
  wondrous works in the land of Ham,
    and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
  Therefore he said he would destroy them—
    had not Moses, his chosen one,
  stood in the breach before him,
    to turn away his wrath from destroying them.
  Then they despised the pleasant land,
    having no faith in his promise.
  They murmured in their tents,
    and did not obey the voice of the LORD.
  Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them
    that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
  and would make their offspring fall among the nations,
    scattering them among the lands.
  Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor,
    and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
  they provoked the LORD to anger with their deeds,
    and a plague broke out among them.
  Then Phinehas stood up and intervened,
    and the plague was stayed.
  And that was counted to him as righteousness
    from generation to generation forever.
  They angered him at the waters of Meribah,
    and it went ill with Moses on their account,
  for they made his spirit bitter,
    and he spoke rashly with his lips.
  They did not destroy the peoples,
    as the LORD commanded them,
  but they mixed with the nations
    and learned to do as they did.
  They served their idols,
    which became a snare to them.
  They sacrificed their sons
    and their daughters to the demons;
  they poured out innocent blood,
    the blood of their sons and daughters,
  whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
    and the land was polluted with blood.
  Thus they became unclean by their acts,
    and played the whore in their deeds.
  Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people,
    and he abhorred his heritage;
  he gave them into the hand of the nations,
    so that those who hated them ruled over them.
  Their enemies oppressed them,
    and they were brought into subjection under their power.
  Many times he delivered them,
    but they were rebellious in their purposes
    and were brought low through their iniquity.
  Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress,
    when he heard their cry.
  For their sake he remembered his covenant,
    and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
  He caused them to be pitied
    by all those who held them captive.
  Save us, O LORD our God,
    and gather us from among the nations,
  that we may give thanks to your holy name
    and glory in your praise.
  Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting!
  And let all the people say, “Amen!”
    Praise the LORD!

(ESV)


Psalm 106 Commentary

by Hank Workman

“They exchanged their Glory…”

Let’s talk a moment about the Glory of God.  It is impossible to define.

John Piper puts it this way:

“The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of God’s manifold perfections. The infinite beauty—and I am focusing on the manifestation of his character and his worth and his attributes — all of his perfections and greatness are beautiful as they are seen, and there are many of them. The heavens are telling the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). What does that mean? It means he is shouting at us. He shouts with clouds. He shouts with blue expanse. He shouts with gold on the horizons. He shouts with galaxies and stars. He is shouting. I am glorious. Open your eyes. It is like this, only better if you know me.”

John Piper

We have received the Glory of God in our lives through our belief in Jesus Christ.  We receive this Glory as we choose to be obedient to the things of God.  In magnificent beauty, this Glory of God rests in and empowers us.  This is His Glory.

As Psalm 105 was a summary of God’s faithfulness, 106 is a litany of people’s sins against Him.  Israel constantly turned away from God.  They constantly were disobedient.  It’s truly an incredible list of how they left God along the sidelines after all the miracles and promises He fulfilled.  They forsook Him who delivered them from bondage as they sought after themselves.

“They exchanged their Glory…”

Do we do the same?  Yes, indeed we do.  When we turn away from our God who has loved us so relentlessly.  When we go back to the things He has delivered us from, like a dog returning to His vomit, we have exchanged His Glory for the putrid things that God cannot look at.  When we justify our behavior, even using misguided thoughts from Scripture that bring a mockery to who God is, we have exchanged our Glory.

As Psalm 106 makes clear, He will not tolerate this.  There are severe consequences when we choose to leave our God and pursue ourselves.  When our pride has taken the driver’s seat, when our arrogance and unrepentant heart will not yield; when we return to the things and people He has delivered us from, God will bring His justice.  His Glory will not be mocked.

The questions for each of us to consider is are we doing the same thing?  Are we exchanging the very Glory of God for the things of this life that mean nothing?  Are exchanging His Glory bringing a mockery to His Holy Name through our decisions and the way we live our lives?


Psalm 106 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

What is risk? It is a decision to act in a way that opens us to danger, hurt, or uncertainty. Every day we take risks. Today, you have a 1 in 70 chance of unintentional poisoning by exposure to a noxious substance (who knew, right?). You have a 1 in 102 chance of getting into a motor vehicle accident. You have a 1 in 285 chance of being gunned down by someone with a firearm. Not exactly comforting, is it?

The point is, every day carries risk whether we like it or not. It is unavoidable. We don’t know what the future holds, so we are forced to take risks all the time. You could choose to stay in bed all day and still potentially have a heart attack or stroke. Yes, there are some who try and minimize their risk, but, is this really a meaningful way to live our lives? Do we deceive ourselves by ignorantly minimizing the risk that is inevitable?

Psalm 106 details the decisions of Israel to ignorantly minimize their risk by conforming to human standards. In their minds, they thought that they could gain comfort and security by choosing to protect themselves from the risk that was on the horizon. Let’s take a look at some of these decisions…

They made a gold bull-calf at Sinai and worshiped that idol; 20 they exchanged the glory of God for the image of an animal that eats grass.

Psalms 106:19-20 GNB

Then they rejected the pleasant land, because they did not believe God’s promise. 25 They stayed in their tents and grumbled and would not listen to the LORD.

Psalms 106:24-25 GNB

God’s people worshiped idols, and this caused their destruction. 37 They offered their own sons and daughters as sacrifices to the idols of Canaan.

Psalms 106:36-37 GNB

Because of impatience, fear, and a need for comfort and security, the people of Israel believed their own way was less risky than God’s way. They valued their lives more than His promises. They convinced themselves that God did not have their best interest in mind and that they could fix the issue by minimizing their risk. The problem is, they risked much more than they ever thought possible! They were deceived! Instead of risking their own life for the sake of God’s Kingdom and His promises, they risked the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom and His promises to try and save their own lives. Is this how you are currently living?

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me. 25 For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it.

Matthew 16:24-25 GNB

Just to bolster this idea, let’s briefly journey through Scripture. When faced with death, and after hearing no word from the Lord on the matter, King David’s military commander, Joab, makes a decision to risk his own life for the sake of God’s people. He says, “Be of good courage, and let us play the man for our people, and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” They end up winning the battle.

In the book of Esther, the Israelites are faced with a law that would permit the destruction of God’s people at the hands of King Xerxes. Anyone who even approached the king would face death. The only hope is with Queen Esther. If she approaches the king and he lifts his golden scepter, she will be granted the opportunity to speak. After having no guarantee that she will be granted permission before the king, this is her response. “Go and get all the Jews in Susa together; hold a fast and pray for me. Don’t eat or drink anything for three days and nights. My servant women and I will be doing the same. After that, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. If I must die for doing it, I will die.” The King accepts her request and raises his scepter.

The same is true for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. “If the God whom we serve is able to save us from the blazing furnace and from your power, then he will. But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty may be sure that we will not worship your god, and we will not bow down to the gold statue that you have set up.” God delivers them.

The same is true for Paul and many other apostles, who risked their lives countless times for the sake of the glory of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The point is, there is a stark contrast between the Israelites in the wilderness and all of these other examples that I have given. The risk was high for everyone involved. All of them were going to face suffering, persecution, and eventually death regardless of if they followed God or not. But the difference lies in the fact that these faithful men and women, despite not knowing if they would live or die, took a risk based on the truth about God and the desire to see His people saved and His glory revealed! If they perish but others receive God’s Kingdom, then so be it. We know this is true because this is the same attitude Christ had when going to the cross.

The only question that remains is, what are you risking? Are you risking God’s Kingdom and His glory like the Israelites, or, are you risking your own reputation, your own money, your own possessions, and even your own life for the sake of God’s glory? Even in situations where there is no clear answer or assurance – will you risk as Jesus did? Ask yourself honestly, do I put my faith in the comfort and security of control, or in the promise that any work done for God’s Kingdom will not return void?

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