September 6, 2017
Scripture Reading – Psalms 105-107
We have three psalms before us for our scripture reading, Psalm 105, Psalm 106 and Psalm 107.
Psalm 105 is a psalm of praise and thanksgiving and rehearses the LORD’s providential care of Israel, His chosen people. The contextual timeline of the psalm begins with Abraham, runs through Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery and the nation’s wanderings in the wilderness for 40 years.
Psalm 105 is a testimony of God’s care of Israel in the wilderness by a cloud to cover their journey in the day and a fire to light their way at night (105:39). When they were hungry the LORD gave them quail for meat and manna for bread. When they were thirsty, water gushed out of the rock (105:40-42). When the people murmured and tempted Him, the LORD was longsuffering and remembered His covenant promise to Abraham and brought his seed into the land He had promised where they might serve Him and “observe His statutes, and keep His laws” (105:45).
Like Psalm 105, Psalm 106 is a song of praise and thanksgiving to the LORD (106:1). Psalm 106 reflects on God’s loving care and provision for Israel in spite of the unfaithfulness of the people. The psalm becomes a penitential psalm (a psalm of confession and repentance) when the psalmist recalls the sins of his forefathers and identifies with them his own bent to sin (106:6). The bulk of the psalm remembers the LORD’s providential care of Israel in the wilderness and His patience with His people in spite of their sin and rebellion (106:7-48).
Hebrew scribes divide the Book of Psalms into five books: Book 1 consists of Psalms 1-41; Book 2 consists of Psalms 42-72; Book 3 consists of Psalms 73-89; Book 4 consists of Psalms 90-106; and the fifth book is Psalms 107-150. Psalm 107 is the first psalm in the fifth and last Book of the Psalms.
Psalm 107 begins with a call to give thanks to the LORD for redeeming Israel out of Babylon (107:2-7). The psalmist remembers how the LORD preserved His people in exile and restored them to the land He had promised Abraham would be his inheritance. The psalmist writes:
Psalm 107:8-9 – “Oh that men would praise [give thanks] the LORD for His goodness [grace; mercy; loving-kindness], and for His wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For He satisfieth [fills] the longing [seeking; hungry] soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness [good and pleasant things].”
Why should Israel praise the LORD and give thanks?
Because the LORD is good, merciful and a God of grace!
When His people turned from Him, the LORD humbled them in prison and when they cried out He heard their cry and delivered them (107:10-16). When they sinned and became sick, He healed them (107:17-22). When rocked with trouble and turmoil, like seamen at sea caught in the fury of a storm who call out to the LORD, Israel called upon the LORD and He heard their cry and quieted their troubles (107:23-32).
Psalm 107:33-43 is especially pertinent for the United States after witnessing the flood waters of Hurricane Harvey ravaging the coast of Texas and the worrisome approach of Hurricane Irma for Florida.
Remembering God is Sovereign of nature, the psalmist reminds us the LORD, “turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; 34 A fruitful land into barrenness…35 the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings” (107:33-35).
Friend, God is just, and He blesses the land for the sake of the righteous and brings judgment upon the land because the wicked dwell therein (107:36-41).
Wise are they who understand the way of the LORD and walk in His commandments for “they shall understand [regard; be instructed in] the lovingkindness [mercy; goodness; grace] of the LORD” (107:43).
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith