The LORD is Just and Merciful (Psalms 106-107)

Scripture Reading – Psalms 106-107

Psalm 106 – God’s Faithfulness vs. Israel’s Unfaithfulness

Psalm 106 is a song of praise and thanksgiving to the LORD (106:1). The author is not identified, but we have cause to believe David was the author because the first and last verses of the psalm (106:1, 48) are quoted in 1 Chronicles 16 on the occasion of David’s having the Ark of God relocated to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16:1, 34-36).

Psalm 106:1-5 is a liturgical call to worship and adulation the LORD for He is good and merciful (106:1), mighty (106:2), just (106:3), and gracious (106:4).

Psalm 106:6 turns the focus from praise and thanksgiving to penitent confession of Israel’s national sins (106:6-42).

The psalm rehearses the sins of Israel as a people and the tragic consequences of her sin. This included rebellion (106:7-12), jealousy, idolatry (106:19-21), unbelief, grumbling, disobedience (106:24-27), failure to separate from the heathen (106:28-32), and defying the LORD’s Law and commandments (106:34-35). The great depth of Israel’s depravity as nation is seen when the people sacrificed their sons and daughters to idols (106:37-38). So great was Israel’s sins that the LORD came to detest His people and deliver them over to their enemies to be taken captive (106:39-42).

Psalm 106 concludes with a reminder that the LORD is a God of mercy and compassion who hears the cries of His people and restores them (106:43-48).

Hebrew scribes divide the Book of Psalms into five books: Book 1 consists of Psalms 1-41; Book 2 comprises of Psalms 42-72; Book 3 contains of Psalms 73-89; Book 4 consists of Psalms 90-106.  Psalm 106 marked the conclusion of the fourth book while Psalm 107 is the introduction to the fifth and last Book of the Psalms containing Psalms 107-150.

Psalm 107

Psalm 107 opens with an exhortation to give thanks to the LORD for redeeming Israel out of Babylonian captivity (107:1-3).

The psalmist remembers how the LORD preserved His people in exile and restored them to the land He 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?

Consider five reasons Israel had to give thanks to the LORD. The first, when the people lost their way in the wilderness and were hungry and thirsty, the LORD heard their cry and provided them food and water (107:4-9).

Second, during Israel’s Babylonian captivity, the LORD heard their cry and restored them to their land (107:10-16).

Third, in times of trouble and distress, the LORD sent His Word to heal His people (107:17-22).

Fourth, like a ship caught in a storm with the seas threatening to engulf her, Israel was in danger of being lost in the sea of humanity until God delivered His people and restored them to their land (107:23-32).

Finally, when Israel lost her home and all seemed hopeless, the psalmist reminded the people the LORD is Sovereign over nature and is able to bless the land for the sake of the righteous and bring judgment upon the land when the wicked dwell therein (107:36-41).

Wise are those 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 2020 – Travis D. Smith