Weds 15th March - Psalm 105
1 Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
2 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4 Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
5 Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
6 you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
7 He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
8 He remembers his covenant forever,
the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
9 the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
11 “To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you will inherit.”
12 When they were but few in number,
few indeed, and strangers in it,
13 they wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
14 He allowed no one to oppress them;
for their sake he rebuked kings:
15 “Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm.”
16 He called down famine on the land
and destroyed all their supplies of food;
17 and he sent a man before them—
Joseph, sold as a slave.
18 They bruised his feet with shackles,
his neck was put in irons,
19 till what he foretold came to pass,
till the word of the Lord proved him true.
20 The king sent and released him,
the ruler of peoples set him free.
21 He made him master of his household,
ruler over all he possessed,
22 to instruct his princes as he pleased
and teach his elders wisdom.
23 Then Israel entered Egypt;
Jacob resided as a foreigner in the land of Ham.
24 The Lord made his people very fruitful;
he made them too numerous for their foes,
25 whose hearts he turned to hate his people,
to conspire against his servants.
26 He sent Moses his servant,
and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
27 They performed his signs among them,
his wonders in the land of Ham.
28 He sent darkness and made the land dark—
for had they not rebelled against his words?
29 He turned their waters into blood,
causing their fish to die.
30 Their land teemed with frogs,
which went up into the bedrooms of their rulers.
31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies,
and gnats throughout their country.
32 He turned their rain into hail,
with lightning throughout their land;
33 he struck down their vines and fig trees
and shattered the trees of their country.
34 He spoke, and the locusts came,
grasshoppers without number;
35 they ate up every green thing in their land,
ate up the produce of their soil.
36 Then he struck down all the firstborn in their land,
the firstfruits of all their manhood.
37 He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold,
and from among their tribes no one faltered.
38 Egypt was glad when they left,
because dread of Israel had fallen on them.
39 He spread out a cloud as a covering,
and a fire to give light at night.
40 They asked, and he brought them quail;
he fed them well with the bread of heaven.
41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
it flowed like a river in the desert.
42 For he remembered his holy promise
given to his servant Abraham.
43 He brought out his people with rejoicing,
his chosen ones with shouts of joy;
44 he gave them the lands of the nations,
and they fell heir to what others had toiled for—
45 that they might keep his precepts
and observe his laws.
Praise the Lord.[a]
- Psalm 105:45 Hebrew Hallelu Yah
Meditation on Psalm 105
Here’s a challenge.
Is it possible to summarise from Creation to the time when God’s people went into the Promised Land in one ‘chapter’?
(Answers on a postcard, please!)
The correct answer is a resounding ‘YES’. The writer of Psalm 105 has done it. This is one of the salvation-history psalms. There are others, for example, Psalms 78 and 106 where the psalmist is rehearsing the history of God’s people but in both examples the psalmist, doesn’t mince his words as he makes it clear that the people were wandering from the God who had brought them out of Egypt and into the promised Land.
Psalm 78:10-11 ‘they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by His law. They forgot what he had done, the wonders He had shown.’
Psalm 78:17 ‘But they continued to sin against Him…’
Psalm 78:32 ‘In spite of all this, they kept on sinning, in spite of His wonders, they did not believe…’
Psalm 78:38 and 52-53 ‘Yet He was merciful; He forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them……But He brought His people out like a flock; He led them like sheep through the desert. He guided them safely so they were not afraid…’
Psalm 106:13 ‘But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel…’
Psalm 106:21 ‘They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt.’
Psalm 106:29 ‘they provoked the LORD to anger by their wicked deeds.’
(Read both psalms to get the bigger picture.
Not so in Psalm 105. This is a celebration of the faithfulness of God. It’s a celebration of praise that takes us back to the beginning.
Two phrases stand out.
Verse 5 ‘REMEMBER the wonders He has done…’
Verse 8 ‘HE REMEMBERS His covenant for ever…’
Verse 42 ‘HE REMEMBERED His holy promises…’
(Italics are mine)
Our challenge is to ‘remember what He has done’ as ‘He remembers His covenant and His promises’.
- PRAISE GOD Verses 1-6
The psalm begins and ends with praise. As it begins, we are encouraged and challenged to do a number of things.
- to give thanks to the LORD.
- to call on His name – remember what Peter said when he spoke to the Sanhedrin – Acts 4:12 - ‘there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.’
- to make known among the nations what He has done. This is the call to mission ministry, whether at home or abroad, to let others know about the faith we profess.
- to sing to Him. This involves us in singing about Him to others.
- to tell of His wonderful acts.
- to glory in His holy name.
- to rejoice in the LORD.
- to look to the LORD. Where can I go but to the LORD?
- to seek His face always.
- to remember the wonders He has done.
Fast forward to heaven – we will be engaged for all eternity in praise and worship. No wonder the psalmist encourages us to practise now while here on earth.
And we are spiritual descendants of ‘Abraham and sons of Jacob’. Read Galatians 3:6-9 to see how blessed we are.
- THE PROMISES OF GOD Verses 7-11
Come back to Genesis and read about the covenant promises God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
These covenants covered the land to which God would bring His people and the families that would cover the ‘one thousand generations.’
- ABRAHAM TO JOSEPH Verses 12-22
We all know the story of Joseph being Jacob’s favourite son; being sold into Egypt; being imprisoned; being made prime minister of Egypt. Come towards the end of his life when he makes it clear to his brothers that it was God who was working out His purposes through His covenants.
- OUT OF EGYPT TOWARDS THE PROMISED LAND Verses 23-38
What a journey so far.
What a journey is to come.
Welcome to Moses as he engages in the ministry that God had called him to, even though he doubted his ability to fulfil that ministry among an increasingly fruitful people.
Note that it was ‘the LORD who made His people very fruitful.’
The psalmist reminds us of the two major battles that Moses faced.
Firstly, there was the battle with Pharoah, in spite of the plagues that God sent.
Secondly, there are the battles that Moses faced with his people as they went towards the Promised Land – we note that in our psalm, the writer doesn’t touch on these battles.
We just read, ‘He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold.’ God was not about to let them down as He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- JOURNEY’S END Verses 39-44
As they came out of Egypt, they had many challenges but God was there with them.
He provided everything they needed, both day and night.
He provided food – bread and meat.
He provided water.
He gave the nations into their hands.
The hymn, ‘Great is thy faithfulness’ has these words which would have been sung by the people of Israel, had they been written, as they journeyed to the land of Canaan:
‘All I have needed, Thy hand has provided, Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.’
- ONGOING JOURNEY Verse 45
The challenge of a covenant is that it takes two to honour it.
God has kept His side of the covenant. His people need to take up the challenge of ‘keeping His precepts and observing His laws.’
Notice how many times we read in this psalm of what ‘He’ has done. Time and time again we read of God’s activities.
That, too, is our testimony as we remember all that God has done for us and in us and is still doing. We are not yet the finished article but one day, when we get to glory, we will be like Him and we will spend eternity saying, ‘Praise the Lord’.