God in History
Psalm 105:1-12, 43-45
INTRODUCTION Most people, too ignorant or too stupid to learn the lessons of history, keep on repeating or imitating the mistakes of previous generations. And of course when their conduct is similar in similar circumstances so are the consequences, since the same God over all remains on His throne, overruling the affairs and fortunes of individuals and nations. Scripture history is uniquely instructive because it is uniquely accurate, not only in its recording of facts, but also in its explanation and application of the facts recorded. Among all the nations in the history of the world, the people of Israel have sustained a unique relationship to God, historically manifested in extreme examples of divine blessing and chastisement, with inspired prophets correctly interpreting human experience as the product of divine direction. Our lesson includes opening and closing verses of Psalm 105, reviewing and celebrating Israelite history from Abraham to the exodus from Egypt. Outline: 1. Rejoicing, Psalm 105:1-3. a. Joyful thanksgiving, 1. b. Joyful throats, 2. c. Joyful thoughts, 3. 2. Remembrance, Psalm 105:4-7. a. The Father's face, 4. b. The Father's feats, 5-7. 3. Relation, Psalm 105:8-12. a. Covenant commanded, 8-9. b. Covenant confirmed, 10-12 4. Redemption, Psalm 105:43-45. a. Divine deliverance, 43. b. Divine devolvement, 44. c. Divine dedication, 45. NOTES ON THE TEXT: REJOICING, Psalm 105:1-3. Quite often in the Scriptures God's people are commanded and encouraged to rejoice, and faithful children of God are described as "blessed" or happy. Certainly we have abundant reason to be the happiest people in the world. Professing Christians with a gloomy outlook on life either have never been saved or are sadly backslidden and in need of revival. The child of God in fellowship with the Lord has eternal cause for rejoicing even in the midst of sorrows and troubles. Joyful Thanksgiving, 1. Thanksgiving is due to God, Who gives us every good and perfect gift [James 1:17]. The psalmist reminds us that thanksgiving should find expression not only when we call upon God in prayer but also in our testimony to other people of all that He has done. Joyful Throats, 2. If the throats of depraved sinners are as open graves, sending forth the stench of rotten hearts, the throats of God's children should be filled with songs and psalms of praise, while from hearts full of love, joy, and peace they talk of the wonderous works of God. Joyful Thoughts, 3. Note that our rejoicing is not to be mere outward show or pretense; the outward expression of the true child of God comes from a joyful heart. Those who honestly "seek the Lord" have reason to rejoice even as they seek, and infinitely more so when they find.
REMEMBRANCE, Psalm 105:4-7. Memories of past manifestations of divine goodness encourage us to keep seeking for more. Our own experience with God leads us to invite and exhort others to join us in worshiping Him. The Father's Face, 4. First of all, God is to be sought for Himself. He is our strength, and we find strength in seeking Him, but it is for Himself that we seek His face. The Father's Feats, 5-7. Yet we cannot think of God without thinking of His great feats, the "marvelous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth." Israel had witnessed more of these feats than any other nation, and it was to Israel that the words of His mouth had been committed, pronouncing judgments temporal and eternal. Of God's temporal judgments the psalmist points out what is apparent to the eye of faith: "His judgments are in all the earth."
RELATION, Psalm 105:8-12. We are made to remember God and His mighty deeds when we are reminded that He has remembered us. The psalmist notes here the special relation between God and His people Israel because of His covenant with Abraham. Let us remember that we have a better and higher relationship with God through faith in Christ. Covenant Commanded, 8-9. "His covenant" is explained here to mean "the word which he commanded." God's covenants are always according to His Word, with subjects of His choice and terms of His command. Covenant Confirmed, 10-12. Referring particularly to the covenant under which Abraham and his seed were to be given possession of the land of Canaan, the psalmist notes that it was confirmed to Jacob or Israel "when they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it." The fulfillment of God's promise does not depend on the strength of men, but on the power of God.
REDEMPTION, Psalm 105:43-45. Context briefly reviews intervening history with the series of divine miracles leading to the redemption of an enslaved people from Egyptian bondage. Now in the closing verses of the Psalm we have a summary of facts and appropriate application of the facts to human responsibility. Divine Deliverance, 43. Unmistakably it was God that brought forth His people, His chosen, with joy and gladness. As we read in the next Psalm, "He saved them for His name's sake, that he might make his mighty powers to be known" [Psalm 106:8]. Their own history makes it clear that the very existence of the nation of Israel was a miracle of divine deliverance. Divine Devolvement, 44. Lands and other possessions of the heathen people of Canaan devolved to the people of Israel with the conquest of Canaan, and so they inherited things produced by the labor of others. The psalmist recognized that God gave them these things. Divine Dedication, 45. Finally we have the moral application. Since God's people owe all that they are and have to him, they are to be dedicated to His service, "that they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws." Far from considering this a burden, the joyful psalmist exclaimed, "Hallelujah!" -- or, as we say in English, "Praise the Lord!"
CONCLUSION [Psalm 77:12] Perhaps we need to review, like the psalmist, the mighty work of God in history, and meditate upon it, that we may talk to others of His doings. ===============
[From AAB, February 3, 1978, p. 2. -- jrd]
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