November 07 2023
Today, Tuesday November 07
Our Failures and God’s Mercy
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.
The anonymous writer of Psalm 106 has summarized the history of Israel in the Old Testament as well as any chapter in the Bible. He records their story of God’s great power in redeeming them from slavery in Egypt, miraculously providing for them as they journey through the wilderness, and protecting them from their enemies that sought to destroy them or put them back in bondage. At the same time, the psalmist recounted how quickly they forgot how great God was and what He had done for them. Then he reminds them of their failure after failure, their unbelief, and even their rebellion against God when they encountered any discomfort or challenge that seemed to be too great for them.
I’m convinced that this chapter is also the summary of the story of the majority of believers. God redeems us from the slavery and bondage of our sin through the great sacrifice of His Son on the cross. We experience forgiveness of all our sins, we find true life, hope, and peace for the first time in our life as the guilt, burden and darkness of sin is lifted from us. But it is not long until we encounter some difficult and challenging people, or situations and the next thing you know; we start thinking we had it better as a lost person than we have as a Christian. We stop praying, reading our Bibles, going to church, avoid our Christian friends and end back up in the world with a cold heart doing the things we did before we found Christ.
Then we finally, like the prodigal son, after we find ourselves in the pigpen of the filth of the world, in a state of loneliness, misery and brokenness, we come to our senses, and we remember our loving Father in heaven, and we run back to Him and ask for and find forgiveness. But then it is not long until we repeat the very same thing again. That’s why I think Psalm 106 is a wonderful reminder that no matter what we do and how many times we fail God and others, we can still turn to our Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, forgiveness, and restoration. We also realize we are not the only one who has failed repeatedly and need God’s grace and mercy! (1 Corinthians 10:13).
In verses 1-6, the psalm begins on a high note of worship and praise. Before he looked back on the failures of his people, or looked around at the ruins of the kingdom, the psalmist looked up and gave thanks to God for His goodness and mercy (vv. 1-3). Jehovah had been merciful in all that He had done, and the writer accepted God's will as just and right. Then the psalmist turned from praise to prayer and asked God to include him in the blessings of the promised restoration of the nation (vv. 4-5).
But his prayer was not selfish, for he wanted the whole nation to prosper, to rejoice in the Lord, and to give praise to His name. His prayer climaxed with penitence as he confessed his sins and the sins of his people (v. 6). "We have sinned with our fathers" is better than "Our fathers sinned." Nehemiah, Daniel and Jeremiah prayed similar prayers. (Neh. 1:6, Dan. 9:5, 8, 11, 15; Lam. 5:16.)
The psalmist claimed the promise that King Solomon asked God to honor when he dedicated the temple (1 Kings 8:46-53). As we study this psalm, it may be like witnessing an autopsy, but we will benefit from it if, like the psalmist, we keep our eyes on the Lord of glory and see His kindness and faithfulness to His sinful people.