Friday, September 9, 2016

God’s Wonderful Mercy

Psalm 106:1-48

“Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.   Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can show forth all his praise?  Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.

Remember me, O LORD, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; Ps 106:5 That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.  We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly. ” (Psalm 106:1-6)

In prior psalms, the focus has been on the miraculous actions God did in order to create the world and give Israel a land of their own.  In this psalm the focus is on the mercy of God for not destroying them as they deserved.  As he looks back at Israel’s actions it is humbling to realize how little they deserve God’s blessing, and yet a righteous and holy God has chosen to love and preserve them.  They should be thankful that his mercy endures forever. 

“Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.  Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.  He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.  And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.  And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.  Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.” (Psalm 106:7-12)

When they came to the Red Sea with the Egyptian army behind them the Jews pamicked, forgetting the miracles God had done in Egypt to set them free.  After crossing the Red Sea and seeing the Egyptian army drowned, the Israelites san Gods praises, believing his promise. 

“They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.  And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psalm 106:13)

Shortly after crossing the sea, they ran out of food began to complain, forgetting his promise to supply.   God sent manna to feed them but before long they complained it wasn’t what they wanted, and they wanted something different.  He gave them quail, but they were never satisfied.   

“They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD.  The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.  And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.” (Psalm 106:16-18)

A short time after leaving Mount Sinai, some of the people got jealous of Moses and Aarons positions and decided to seize power themselves, led by Korah, Dathan and Abiram.   They were swallowed up by an earthquake, and the next day the people accused Moses and aaron of murdering God’s people.  God sent a fire and burned up a bunch more. 

“They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.  Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.  They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.  Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.” (Psalm 106:19-23)

Just a few weeks after leaving Egypt and less than a month afte God met with them on Mount Sinai, The Jews Made a golden calf and credited it with having been the one who delivered them from Egypt, forgetting  all the miraculous things God had done, again.   As a result God told Moses he would destroy the whole bunch and Moses interceded for them. 

“Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.  Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness: To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands.” (Psalm 106:24-27)

When they sent the spies into the land, they refused to go into the land and and decided to g back to Egypt, angering God, who told them they would die in the wilderness and their children would inherit the land.  Rebelling against his statement, they attempted to go across mount Seir to invade the land.  The Amalekites and Amorites from mount Seir  were able to defeat and stop them. Forcing them to spend forty years traveling through various countries. 
“They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.  Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.  Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed.  And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.” (Psalm 106:28-31)

They allied themselves with the Moabites and worshipped their gods, resulting in god sending a plague among them.  Phinehas executed a couple who refused to stop, and thus ended the plague.  He was blessed as a result. 

“They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.” (Psalm 106:32-33)

When they returned to Rephaim where God had brought water from the rock and complained again Moses became so frustrated he said some things he should not have, and was told he would not be allowed to enter the land. 

“They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them:  But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.  And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.  ea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.  ” (Psalm 106:34-38)

When they finally entered the land of Canaan, they ignored God’s command to kill the inhabitants, instead intermarrying with them and adopting their religion and culture, even sacrificing ther own children to the heathen Gods. 

“Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.  Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.  And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.  Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.” (Psalm 106:39-42)

Because of their sin, God allowed them to be defeated and taken into captivity thirteen times in the book of Judges alone.   They suffered greatly at the hands of those nations who they had taken the land from. 

“Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.  Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry: And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.  He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.” (Psalm 106:43-46)

Time after time God delivered them from captivity and each time they went back into their sin and were taken again.  In spite of that he continued to deliver them because his mercy endures forever and he remembered his covenant, even making their captors to have pity on them. 

“Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.  Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalm 106:47-48)

Knowing how great God’s mercy is, we can unhesitatingly ask for his mercy again, thanking him that he will forgive again.  He is a wonderful God and all the people should thank and praise him.  

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