The God of History
1Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
2Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!
3Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
4Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!
5Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
6O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!
7He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
8He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
9the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac,
10which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
11saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.”
12When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it,
13wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people,
14he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account,
15saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!”
16When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread,
17he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
18His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron;
19until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.
20The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free;
21he made him lord of his house and ruler of all his possessions,
22to bind his princes at his pleasure and to teach his elders wisdom.
23Then Israel came to Egypt; Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
24And the Lord made his people very fruitful and made them stronger than their foes.
25He turned their hearts to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants.
26He sent Moses, his servant, and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
27They performed his signs among them and miracles in the land of Ham.
28He sent darkness, and made the land dark; they did not rebel against his words.
29He turned their waters into blood and caused their fish to die.
30Their land swarmed with frogs, even in the chambers of their kings.
31He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, and gnats throughout their country.
32He gave them hail for rain, and fiery lightning bolts through their land.
33He struck down their vines and fig trees, and shattered the trees of their country.
34He spoke, and the locusts came, young locusts without number,
35which devoured all the vegetation in their land and ate up the fruit of their ground.
36He struck down all the firstborn in their land, the firstfruits of all their strength.
37Then he brought out Israel with silver and gold, and there was none among his tribes who stumbled.
38Egypt was glad when they departed, for dread of them had fallen upon it.
39He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light by night.
40They asked, and he brought quail, and gave them bread from heaven in abundance.
41He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed through the desert like a river.
42For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant.
43So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing.
44And he gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil,
45that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Praise the Lord!
Whenever we get these rather long psalms, we can almost certainly be in for a recounting of Israel’s history with God. Here the psalmist tells the story of God’s promise to Abraham and then of the roadblocks that seems to rise up to keep that promise from being fulfilled. But God is never stymied by circumstance. Let me say that again – God is never stymied by circumstance. He in fact uses those events to forward His plan, for that plan is perfect. Verse 42 is the key to the psalm. God’s remembrance of his covenant is more than a calling to mind. It is taking decisive action for the benefit of his people. God’s faithfulness was not due to Israel’s worthiness but to his own faithfulness to the promise he had made to the patriarchs.
We are so incredibly finite and strictly limited in what we can see. But our view of the past can be fairly clear (unless you are into revisionist history – that’s a whole other deal.) So, with this clear view of the past, we look back and see that God’s faithfulness has never failed. He made a promise not only to Abraham but to us (as adopted children of Abraham) that He would bless the entire world through His relationship with His chosen people. That promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, Abraham’s descendant, as He lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again, triumphant over death.
This psalm reminds me to look back over my own history and see God’s mighty hand at work on my little life. His blessings are so abundant they cannot even all be recounted. His promises have been kept, and I am overjoyed to be a part of His Kingdom. Take a moment to relive your own history with God and you will see His hand at work in You. It is a great faith builder!