Reading: Psalm 105:1-23
Here is another extracts from The Glory of the Story, my father’s devotional introduction to biblical theology in the form of 366 daily readings which show how the Old Testament story is fulfilled in Christ. The Glory of the Story is available as a Kindle book for $2.99 from amazon.com and £1.99 from amazon.co.uk. I’m posting extracts from the chaper on the story of Jacob, usually on the first Monday of the month.
Today’s psalm surveys the sweep of events from Abraham to the entry into the promised land. Though it covers many years it paints one picture: a promise-making, promise-keeping God, mysterious in his ways, but always mindful of his people. The first fifteen verses (plus most of Psalm 96) are from David’s prayer of thanksgiving when the ark was brought to Jerusalem
(1 Chron. 16:7-36). Possibly it was recited on each anniversary of this event and made the occasion for covenant renewal. In this way the saving acts of God became present realities for each successive generation (8; cf. Ps. 78:4-8).
1. God remembers (8-23)
He remembers his covenant (8)
He remembers it not merely by calling it to mind, but by acting on what he promised (cf. Gen. 8:1; 19:29; 30:22). His covenant is the word he commanded (8); and not one of the LORD’s good promises fail (Josh. 21:45; 23:14). Contrast: ‘I remembered your birthday. I didn’t do anything about it, but I did remember it!’
Verses 12-15 describe the three generations of Abraham’s family (cf. Heb. 11:8-9) living as nomadic strangers in the land (cf. Gen 20:7).
Verses 16-23 describe the circumstances that led them to migrate to Egypt. He called down famine … he sent a man before them… (16-17). This is far more than a history lesson; it is a record of God’s grace and faithfulness.
2. We remember (1-7)
Remember the wonders he has done (5)
We have seen how every Christian belongs to this family and so we view its miraculous beginnings with more than a spectator interest. These are the early chapters of our own story! Granted that ‘a thousand generations’ (8) is a figure of speech – by its own terms it represents 30,000 years! – it still indicates how Scripture views the reach of God’s covenant dealings. What must our response be?
Give thanks (1-3). Give thanks … call on his name … sing praise to him … glory in his holy name … rejoice. Here is doxology. This is not only our story; this is our song!
Make known (1-2). Make known among the nations what he has done … tell of all his wonderful acts. How can we keep silent? (cf. Acts 4:20).
Seek his face (4). All that God has done is with a view to having an obedient people (42-45). Without godliness, praise is only religious noise (cf. Amos 5:23-24).
Remember (5). Reflect on God’s wonders, miracles and judgements (the dark side of his saving miracles). This is the God in whom we live and move and have our being, and through whom we experience an even greater redemption than those who lived under the old covenant.