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Psalm 106 free bible notes from Rev. Stephen Thompson

Daily Bible thoughts 680: Tuesday 12th August 2014:

Psalm 106:40-48

Today we conclude our long journey through this Psalm of confession.

‘’Many times he delivered them…’’ (43a). These words could be taken as a summary of Old Testament history in totality. Verses 40-43 refer not only to the period of the Judges (see the book of ‘Judges’), but also to the time of the monarchy (see the books of ‘1 and 2 Samuel’ and ‘1 and 2 Kings’.) For hundreds of years the Lord endured the Israelites’ recurring idolatry and rebellion. (There is a repetitive cycle in the Old Testament of sin leading to oppression leading to repentance leading to deliverance, and then more sin…and so on and so forth!!) Finally God’s longsuffering reached its limit and He ‘’handed them over to the nations (41) – especially Assyria and Babylon finally.

Like the Israelites, we too have a ‘’bent’’ toward rebellion by nature, and we need to learn from them the lesson that sin, unchecked, leads to wasting away (43). ‘’Over and over God rescued them, but they never learned – until finally their sins destroyed them.’’ That was their story. It could be ours, if we don’t heed the powerful lessons of Biblical history

But the captivity in foreign lands was not the end of the story! God preserved a remnant of His people, who, in their exile, sought Him and He heard them and remembered the covenant He had made with this people (44, 45). That doesn’t mean that God’s memory had been failing Him and He’d forgotten all about it for a time. He isn’t subject to our human frailties. Rather it means that He had regard to the covenant in what He did. So, some of the captives began to return (see the books of ‘Ezra’ and ‘Nehemiah’). ‘’ He remembered his Covenant with them, and, immense with love, took them by the hand. He poured out his mercy on them while their captors looked on, amazed.’’ The Message.

But there were others still exiled, like this psalmist (some think) and he cried out to God: ‘’Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from the nations…’’ (47). (It’s important to say that not every commentator agrees that there is a reference to the great Assyrian/Babylonian captivity in verses 44-47)

‘’That is also our cry, the cry of the Church in our generation. We too stumble and sin and compromise. We too need to be continuously ‘’gathered from the nations’’ – consecrated, set apart – so that we might fulfil our calling to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Tom Hale: The Applied Old Testament Commentary, p.903.

‘’The psalm is best simply heard as the song of the church in the world, subject to its enticements, overcome by its powers, losing its identity by compromise, but longing and praying for a better day and praising the God who, amid the fluctuations of his people, is the same from everlasting to everlasting.’’ J.A. Motyer: The New Bibkle Commentary, p.557

Prayer: Lord God, have mercy on your wayward and compromised people. Please forgive our sins, break our chains and restore us to fulfil our God-given destiny.

Daily Bible thoughts 656: Wednesday 9th July 2014:

Psalm 106:16-31

This is a psalm of confession. Confession is an important part of both personal and corporate worship. We need to be able to regularly admit that we’ve done wrong and receive forgiveness from God, and find renewal of peace. It’s hard to live with a guilty conscience. Here, in this long psalm, we have the confession of seven instances of Israel’s sin from the time of the exodus to the entrance into Canaan.

It is possible for people to become jealous of leaders for all kinds of subtle reasons, as well as the more obvious ones (16-18). We may not always fully understand ourselves and what is really going on in our hearts. Leaders can become ”envious” of other leaders. People in the congregation can feel similarly about those in authority. Perhaps some look at them and covet their roles. But we should learn from this incident (Nu.16:1-35) that it is a dangerous move to set yourselves against God’s appointed and anointed leadership. Here is one of God’s ‘Danger’ signs in the road telling us to beware. If you act in a way you shouldn’t towards a leader you may well find the ground give way beneath you. There is more than one way for this to happen!

On our pilgrimage we too can lose the vision of God. We can become forgetful of the wonderful things He has done for us. We can also all too easily turn to substitutes and look to them for deep satisfaction (19-23; see Ex.32:1-30/Ro.1:22, 23)). ”They traded the Glory for a cheap piece of sculpture – a grass-chewing bull! They forgot God, their very own Savior, who turned things around in Egypt, Who created a world of wonders in the land of Ham, who gave that stunning performance at the Red Sea.” The Message. You don’t have to literally erect a golden calf to become an idolater. Maybe you have become disappointed with God and your lot on the Christian journey, and in your heart you have drifted off to find fulfilment elsewhere. You now look for life in your hobby, which has assumed far too great an importance in your heart. Or perhaps your pursuit of happiness is in something (or someone else),but God has been dethroned in your life, even though you may still attend church. Your body is in a pew, but the best part of you is somewhere else. Verse 23 shows the power of intercessory prayer. Although these people had strayed so far from God, Moses’ prayers brought about a great deliverance (Ex.32:9-14, 31-35). Who do you need to ‘stand in the gap’ for today? (Moses here, is a foreshadowing of Jesus, who ultimately ”stood in the breach before him” at the cross, in order to rescue us from God’s wrath.) Note that in (28-31; see Nu.25:1-9) there is another similar instance of a spiritual leader having a massive impact for good on a sinning people. Church leaders have a huge task on their hands. They are engaged in a spiritual battle, as we saw yesterday. It is a battle for hearts and minds, to see every single thought taken a prisoner for Jesus. No human is sufficient for these things, so leaders have a great work to do in prayer. Let us ensure that we also pray for them in the burdens they carry. The prayers of leaders can rescue those who are turning away to ‘idols’. Your prayers can achieve the same results too!

It is dangerously possible for us to ‘despise’ what God has given to us, and even in the middle of our blessings to grumble and complain instead of praising God. We need to learn from these things. They were written for our help and instruction and warning. ”They went on to reject the Blessed Land, didn’t believe a word of what God promised. They found fault with the life they had and turned a deaf ear to GOD’s voice.” The Message. Determine to make it a habit to ”count your blessings.” Cultivate an ”attitude of gratitude”. We too may seriously lose out if we do these four things: a.) Despise our blessings; b.) become ‘unbelieving believers’; c.) grumble in our ‘tents’; and d.) fail to obey God (24-27; see also Nu.14:1-35; Hebs.3:12, 17-19, 4:1). If, as many think, the psalmist was himself an exile, he knew that his own generation had experienced the punishment written about in (27; see Lev.26:33). God’s Word is to be taken seriously. He never forgets what He has written. ”This is the privilege of possessing the word of God and the reason why it is our cardinal sin to ignore it: the word of God is the living voice of God.” J.A.Motyer: The New Bible Commentary,p.556.                

Prayer: Lord God, you have blessed me so abundantly and I thank you.



Daily Bible thoughts 650: Tuesday 1st July 2014:

Psalm 106:1-15

This psalm is a prayer of confession. The psalmist describes Israel’s repeated unfaithfulness and rebellion from the time of the Exodus up to the fall of Jerusalem, and he asks God to once again save His people (47) It is thought possible that the writer was an exiled Levite, who asks God to include him in the salvation of the Israelites (4, 5) i.e. in their rescue from captivity. Almost the whole Psalm consists of a list of Israel’s sins. Yet over and over we see God forgiving and restoring His rebellious people whenever they cried to Him for help. The theme of the psalm could be described as ‘God’s faithfulness and man’s unfaithfulness.’ There is a stark contrast. It is also important to understand that in spite of our unfaithfulness, God sometimes does great things for us anyway, just to glorify His own Name (8). Here are some issues today’s passage surfaces:

Confess your sins: In recent weeks I have been in three different churches where a prayer of confession has been offered early on in the service, and then there has then come the pronouncement of forgiveness in the light of Christ’s work on the cross. I am increasingly seeing how important this is. When we come to Christ we have a one-off’ bath’, and this does not have to be repeated. However as we walk through this world our feet get ‘muddy’ and we need the opportunity for regular ‘foot-washing.’ (See John 13). Personally and corporately it is important to ‘come clean’; to ‘keep short accounts’ with God. We can be ‘honest to God’ knowing that ”…he’s good…his love lasts.” (1) The Message. It is important to come out into the open and not try to cover up our sin. (Psalm 32:1-5). There is no hiding place from God anyway. ”We’ve sinned a lot, both we and our parents; We’ve fallen short, hurt a lot of people.” (6) The Message. The psalmist begins his confession with the sins of his own generation (6), then in (7) he looks over his shoulder as far back as the time in Egypt (See Exodus 14:10-12). In spite of how the people were, God was (and always will be) true to Himself and He brought glory to His Name.

Remember God’s goodness (1, 2; 8-12): Never forget His remarkable acts of deliverance in the past. He is still God and He is always able. How eloquently (9b) speaks of the amazing miracle the Lord performed at the exodus: ”… – no one so much as got wet feet!” The Message. Verse 12 is interesting and instructive. The toughest test of Christian faith does not come in ‘days of wonder’ when everything is going well. It’s easy to sing in the daylight, but what about when you face the dark night of the soul? How are your vocal chords then? When the sunshine is absent and it’s pouring with rain, then what will you do? If you pull the dipstick out of your soul in the midst of great trial, what will be the oil of faith level?

Learn the lessons of Biblical history: Here are two:

a.) Don’t forget God (13; see Deut.8:11-20). If we forget God’s works we will soon forget God Himself, because He makes Himself known through them.

b.) Seek to know and do God’s will (13-15; see Numbers 11 – especially verses 4 and 34/ also 1 Cor.10:6). It is important to know ”his counsel’’ (13b) in our lives and prayers. However much I may think I want it, I don’t want God to give me anything that is not according to His will. I don’t want the ”empty heart”/ the ”leanness” of soul/ even the ‘‘wasting disease’’ that can come in the wake of getting your own way. ”He gave them exactly what they asked for – but along with it they got an empty heart.” (15) The Message.

”…do not seek to impose your will on God; do not insist on anything with too great vehemence; let God choose. Whenever you make request for things which are not definitely promised, ask God not to grant them, except it be for the very best.” F.B. Meyer: Great verses through the Bible, p.233.

The ‘lusts of the flesh’ can exert a strong pull over our lives still. We can only resist them in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Pet.2:11; Gal.5:16).

Prayer: Lord, let me always be clear about what I should say ‘No’ to and what I should say ‘Yes’ to. Thank you that I am empowered by your Spirit to do both.



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