Surrounded by Grace
1Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
2Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise?
3Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!
4Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people; help me when you save them,
5that 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.
6Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.
7Our 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.
8Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power.
9He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry, and he led them through the deep as through a desert.
10So he saved them from the hand of the foe and redeemed them from the power of the enemy.
11And the waters covered their adversaries; not one of them was left.
12Then they believed his words; they sang his praise.
13But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel.
14But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness, and put God to the test in the desert;
15he gave them what they asked, but sent a wasting disease among them.
16When men in the camp were jealous of Moses and Aaron, the holy one of the Lord,
17the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.
18Fire also broke out in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.
19They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a metal image.
20They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.
21They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt,
22wondrous works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
23Therefore 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.
24Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise.
25They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the Lord.
26Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
27and would make their offspring fall among the nations, scattering them among the lands.
28Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
29they provoked the Lord to anger with their deeds, and a plague broke out among them.
30Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was stayed.
31And that was counted to him as righteousness from generation to generation forever.
32They angered him at the waters of Meribah, and it went ill with Moses on their account,
33for they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke rashly with his lips.
34They did not destroy the peoples, as the Lord commanded them,
35but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did.
36They served their idols, which became a snare to them.
37They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons;
38they 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.
39Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the whore in their deeds.
40Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage;
41he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them.
42 Their enemies oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their power.
43Many times he delivered them, but they were rebellious in their purposes and were brought low through their iniquity.
44Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry.
45For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
46He caused them to be pitied by all those who held them captive.
47Save 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.
48Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord!
Have you ever thought, during worship on a Sunday morning, that you haven’t been allowed enough time to confess your sin? For me, that confession and absolution fly by incredibly fast and I’m stuck with the notion that I just didn’t have enough time to truly consider my need for a Savior in detail. Sometimes, a little review is good thing.
Psalm 106 is rather lengthy and there is a reason for that. It recounts just a few of the massive number of sins the Nation of Israel committed against their faithful God in the Old Testament. And we’ve seen many other psalms that do this very thing. Clearly, the psalmists knew the value of some contemplative review. But also included in this prayer are the bookends of grace that we find at the beginning and end.
listing of times when the people ignored God and His commands for their lives. They deserved death and destruction and yet God remains faithful to His promise to save. He was forced to save them from the enemies He was willing to defeat on their behalf, but instead the embraced the wickedness of these godless nations and owned that wickedness for themselves.
God is constantly in the business of saving us from our own willfulness and sin-filled choices. The Children of Israel are not alone in their fault here. We stand right alongside of them in our need for a Savior. God has heard the pleas of verses 43-48 and granted us His own Dear Son to pay the price for our stubborn sinfulness. We must join with the psalmist, thanking and praising God for His faithfulness to us. He has indeed saved us and we too must say “Amen! Praise the Lord!”