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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

November 06 2023

God’s Longsuffering and Patience

Psalm 106:1-6

1 Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

2 Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? Who can declare all His praise?

3 Blessed are those who keep justice, And he who does righteousness at all times!

4 Remember me, O LORD, with the favor You have toward Your people; Oh, visit me with Your salvation,

5 That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones, That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, That I may glory with Your inheritance.

6 We have sinned with our fathers, We have committed iniquity, We have done wickedly.

Psalm 106 is another of the historical psalms that was intended to remind the people of Israel of God’s faithfulness to them in the past especially as they faced a major challenge in their nation. It is also another envelope psalm as it begins and ends with the same Hebrew word, “Hallelujah”, or in our English language, “Praise the LORD”. Psalm 106 is also the last chapter in the fourth book of psalms and does so with the characteristic doxology which marks the close of the other four books.

We do not know who wrote this psalm. From the pleas of verse 47 it would seem it was written during the captivity in Babylon. As usual, Spurgeon believed that David wrote this psalm. Another commentator points out that Jeremiah possibly wrote it after the Northern Kingdom of Israel went into the Assyrian captivity. One of my favorite commentators thought that Daniel was the writer. He points out that “Daniel was a man who knew how to pray the kind of confessional prayer we have in this psalm. Perhaps he wrote it about the time he poured out his heart before God as recorded in Daniel 9. If so, it was written by him when he was an old man of about eighty-seven. The Babylonian empire had fallen. The time was ripe for old prophecies to be fulfilled. Yet, there was still no sign of this happening. The exiles were settling down at ease in Babylon, making the best of their new home, and fast forgetting their history and their national destiny. Perhaps at such a time this psalm was penned.”

After reading this psalm, we might be tempted to say, "Those Israelites were certainly a sorry band of sinners!" Instead, we ought to be commending the psalmist for telling the truth about his own people. Most historians present their nations in the best possible light and blame other nations rather than their own, but our anonymous psalmist told the truth. The writer is also to be commended for identifying himself with his struggling people and saying, "We have sinned" and "Save us" (vv. 6 and 47).

You might remember that we said Psalm 105 mentions nothing about Israel's failings, but that deficiency is remedied by 106. It is clearly a companion to the previous psalm. The two stand shoulder to shoulder. Psalm 105 tells us how God treated Israel; Psalm 106 tells us how Israel treated God. Psalm 105 deals with the faithfulness of God, while Psalm 106 deals with the faithlessness of Israel. Psalm 105 reminded the people that God is a covenant God who always keeps His promises and was written to encourage the nation. Psalm 106 reminded the people of their repeated sins and failures. However, the purpose of Psalm 106 is not to condemn Israel but to extol the Lord for His longsuffering and mercy toward His people.

In order to glorify God, the writer had to place God's mercies against the dark background of Israel's repeated disobedience. After expressing his praise to the Lord (vv. 1-6), the writer pointed out nine serious offenses the nation had committed. He began with the Exodus and closed with the Babylonian captivity, and at the heart of the list he placed Israel's rebellion at Kadesh Barnea. He did not arrange these selected events in order of their occurrence, for his purpose was to teach us about the patience and longsuffering of God and not chronology.

Today, maybe you feel overwhelming condemnation for your repeated sins and failures. I’m convinced that as long as you have breath in your lungs, a heart beating in your chest, and a mind to think with, that God is patiently waiting for you with the open arms of a loving Father to forgive and restore you to fellowship through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ!

God bless!

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