Meditating on Psalm 106.
Blessed are those who keep justice,
And he who does righteousness at all times! (Psalm 106:3)
Psalm 106 is a summary of Israel’s journey from the land of Egypt to Canaan, under the leadership of Moses, to their life beyond that – under the appointed judges and the reigns of kings.
Reading Psalm 106 reminded me of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians chapter 10. It was a grave warning. One that makes us stop in our tracks and let the words move powerfully in our being. The Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians of the Israelites of old:
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Cor. 10:11)
This admonition is for us, too. What are the lessons we can glean from the life and journeyings of the ancient Israelites as narrated in Psalm 106?
1) Being Unmindful of God’s Wonders, Miracles, and Mighty Deeds (vv. 6-7)
After witnessing God’s wonders that He performed in Egypt, plaguing the land to amaze Pharaoh and make him liberate the Israelites, the people forgot. God did not earn their faith and trust at all. When they found themselves between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s pursuing army, they raised their voices and complained to Moses.
Do you easily forget God’s goodness and mercy in times of distress and great trials? Our lack of faith and trust in Him displeases Him. But our constant remembrance of and thanksgiving for His works glorify Him.
2) God Performs Miracles for His Glory (vv. 8-12)
Despite Israel’s lack of faith and rebellion, He saved her and showed her His mighty power. God’s wondrous works that He performs in our lives are meant to exalt Him and give Him glory. Do we thank and praise Him for them, and declare them to other people? Or do we secretly think that they are products of our own strength and wisdom? Pride is a sin that usually ensnares a person, even a Christian.
3) Giving in to Lusts (vv. 13-15)
Though God fed them with manna, their soul began to loathe it, and they remembered the flavorful dishes that they used to eat in Egypt. They lusted for food.
This passage brings a tinge of conviction to my heart. It is not only food that we may lust for. There are myriad things that our souls may greatly desire, and in the midst of hard trials, don’t we sometimes loathe what is daily given to us and wish for something else? But what we think we lack and crave for may exactly be the thing that God is withholding, to give us something far better and more filling. Yes, in the very absence of the things we desire, in that very place, God could be filling us with so much more: the growth of our souls, the deepening of our faith and devotion to Him, and the expansion of our love.
4) Punishment for Jealousy and Idolatry (vv. 16-23)
God punished those who were jealous of Moses and Aaron. Their forming and worshiping of the image of an ox kindled His wrath so fiercely that He wanted to destroy the whole nation had not Moses interceded.
Don’t we also do that? Unconsciously? When we are on that place of waiting, desperately waiting, long and hard, don’t we sometimes divert our attention to temporary things that get us off of the presence of the Lord? Don’t we also sometimes create things that will bring us great pleasure, filling, as well as consuming, our hearts and minds and days? Don’t we also set up idols in our hearts?
5) Complaints and Murmurings God Hates (vv. 24-33)
God was pleased to give them Canaan, the Promised Land, but they despised it. God was so hurt and angered that He determined to destroy those people and did not let them see the land.
When we are disappointed and dissatisfied with what the Lord provides for us and we bitterly complain about them, we dishonor Him. Our unthankfulness greatly offends Him. Our constant complainings and grumblings turn away His blessings intended for us.
6) Be Separate (vv. 34-43)
God redeemed us from the sin and filthiness of this world. He made us “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (1 Pet. 2:9). Just as He drew Israel toward Him to be His people, separate from the other pagan nations around her, He also wants us to be separate from the ways of the world.
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Journey with Jesus,