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Psalm 105: He Remembers His Covenant Print E-mail
Psalms
Sunday, 23 February 2014

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God keeps His promises.  When He says that He will do something, He does it.  When He enters into covenant with His people, He keeps it.  At times the covenant may change due to the people’s rebellion or because that was part of God’s original plan, but we can rest assured that the Lord keeps His word.  What He says He will do He does.  Through our faith in Christ, we have entered into a new covenant with the Lord.  He has promised to redeem us from our sins and take us to be with Him forever.  He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.  He has promised to send us Christ.  We can trust that He will keep all of these promises because He is a God who keeps His covenant.

God keeps His promises.  When He says that He will do something, He does it.  When He enters into covenant with His people, He keeps it.  At times the covenant may change due to the people’s rebellion or because that was part of God’s original plan, but we can rest assured that the Lord keeps His word.  What He says He will do He does.  Through our faith in Christ, we have entered into a new covenant with the Lord.  He has promised to redeem us from our sins and take us to be with Him forever.  He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.  He has promised to send us Christ.  We can trust that He will keep all of these promises because He is a God who keeps His covenant.

In Psalm 105, the psalmist is encouraging his readers with the truth that God kept His covenant with Israel to give them the Promised Land.  It begins with a call to worship.  Look at verses 1-6.  Several commands are given in these verses: give thanks… call upon his name… make known… sing… tell… glory… rejoice… seek… remember.  These all play a part in our worship of God.  We are to be thankful, we are to tell others, we are to rejoice, we are to seek, we are never to forget.  The psalmist is addressing the people of Israel (perhaps while they are in exile or have just returned).  He is instructing them to worship the Lord in all of these ways for all that He has done.  They are His people, His chosen ones, and they are to worship.

In particular, why does He tell them that they should worship God?  What has He done for them?  Look at verses 7-11.  He remembers the covenant that He made with Abraham.  In Genesis 12 and 15, God told Abraham that He would bless and make him a nation.  He told him that He would give the Promised Land, the land of Canaan, to his descendents.  God made a promise to Abraham and God has kept that promise.  Israel should worship God because He remembers His covenant.  The psalmist goes on to recount Israel’s history and how God kept His covenant through the years.  He basically summarizes Genesis through Joshua.  We can identify three major times when God kept His covenant with Israel.

He kept the covenant while they were sojourners in Canaan (v. 12-22)

The story began with Abraham leaving his home and living in a foreign land.  Look at how the psalmist describes that time in verses 12-15.  As Abraham and Sarah moved around, God protected them and allowed no one to lay a hand on His anointed.  They were few in number, but the Lord watched over them.  They were not to be oppressed. 

Then the Lord sent a famine on the land as we read about in verses 16-22.  Look at those verses with me.  The Lord was going to send a famine that would impact the whole land, including the descendents of Abraham, His covenant people.  But He provided for them by sending Joseph ahead of them.  Do you remember how He did that?  Joseph was beloved by his father Jacob and his brothers became jealous.  They ended up selling him into slavery, as the psalmist describes.  He ended up in Potiphar’s house where he was eventually thrown into prison for refusing to sleep with Potiphar’s wife.  In prison God gave him the ability to interpret dreams, but he still was forced to wait before that ability gained the attention of the Pharaoh.  Joseph told the Pharaoh that a famine was coming and the Pharaoh chose Joseph to help Egypt prepare, which they did saving thousands of lives, including the descendents of Abraham.  This is how God sent a man ahead to save them from famine.  Joseph did not know God was using him in this way, but he would later understand and say to his brothers when they came to him for food:

And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life… God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors (Genesis 45:5-7). 

Even through all of the suffering that Joseph faced, God had a plan to rescue His people and to keep His covenant.  He used Joseph’s life to prepare the way for Israel.  Even in Joseph’s suffering, God was keeping His covenant with His people.  We should note that the Lord never calls us to suffer without a purpose.  That purpose may not be to save thousands of lives from starvation and it may not be a purpose that we can see on this side of glory, but there is always a purpose.  If nothing else, we can always know that He is using our suffering to make us more like Christ (Romans 8:28-29).  Even in hard times, we can trust that God has not forgotten His covenant.

He kept the covenant while they were slaves in Egypt (v. 23-38)

Things started off good in Egypt, but it did not last.  Look at verses 22-25.  The Lord blessed the people of Israel and made them very fruitful.  They were numerous.  Where do you think the psalmist believed children came from?  The Lord blessed Israel and the nation grew in number and in strength.  This did not sit well with the Egyptians.  The psalmist notes that the Lord turned their hearts against the Israelites.  That’s an interesting way to put it.  Why would God do that?  It was His plan to get glory over Egypt by delivering His people from being slaves, which is what we read about next.  Continue to note who the psalmist credits with doing everything.  Look at verses 26-36.  The psalmist is describing the ten plagues that we read about in Exodus 7-12.  He does not describe them all, but he makes it clear that it was God’s power that sent these signs on Egypt. 

God sent these miracles so that the Egyptians would let them go, which is exactly what happened.  Look at verses 37-38.  God rescued His people from Egypt.  Even while they were slaves there, He remembered His covenant with Abraham and raised up Moses to lead them out.  The Lord did this in such a way as to receive glory for all that took place.  It was all part of His greater plan for Israel.  He got glory over Egypt and kept His covenant with Israel.

He kept the covenant while they were wanderers in the wilderness (v. 39-45)

Do you remember the story in Exodus?  After God delivered the people from the Egyptians and defeated Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea, He gave Moses the Law at Sinai.  Even though they built the golden calf and rebelled against God, through the prayers of Moses, God did not wipe them out, but continued to lead them.  Even when they refused to take the Promised Land for fear, God still provided for them as they wandered in the wilderness.  Look at how the psalmist describes it in verses 39-42.  Why did the Lord continue to give them food and water?  Psalm 106 makes it plain that the people repeatedly sinned against God.  They did not deserve the provision that God supplied.  They did not deserve the Promised Land.  We are never given the picture that God’s people deserved the land of Canaan.  In fact, the we can only make the opposite conclusion: they did not deserve the Promised Land.

Yet, even so, God was merciful to them because of His covenant with Abraham.  He had promised to give them the land of Canaan and He was going to keep that promise.  We read about that in the book of Joshua.  God leads the people through Joshua and they take the land and divide it among the 12 tribes of Israel, just as the Lord had promised.  The psalmist describes this in verses 43-45.  Look at those with me.  Amazing.  God made a promise to Abraham concerning his descendents and He kept that promise.  He did that for His own glory and so that Israel might keep his statues and observe his laws.  As we have noted, they did not do this in the land and just as God had told them, He removed them and sent them into Exile.  But He did eventually bring them back and sent His prophets to tell them of a future covenant, a covenant that was inaugurated with the blood of Christ.

The psalmist wrote this psalm to call us to worship Yahweh because He is a covenant keeping God.  We don’t know the exact circumstances when he wrote, but he wanted Israel to remember all that God had done for them and His faithfulness to the covenant.  In light of that, he commanded them to give thanks and sing praises to him and glory in his holy name.

Brothers and sisters, those same commands are given to you this morning.  Now you may be thinking: ‘William, I was never a sojourner in Canaan or a slave in Egypt or a wanderer in the wilderness.  I am not a descendent of Abraham.  What covenant do I have with the Lord?’  The prophets wrote of a new covenant that God would establish with His people.  It would involve the forgiveness of their sins and the giving of the Spirit.  As we noted, that covenant began at the cross.  When Jesus came and lived a perfect life and died on a cross for our sins, He inaugurated a new covenant with all of those who turn from their sins and trust in Him as their Savior.  Just as the psalmist emphasizes, this is the work of our gracious God.  This has been His plan from the beginning.  All of the promises to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob find their fulfillment in the coming of Christ. 

So then, what promises has God given us with the new covenant?  First, He has promised to forgive us all of our sins if we trust in Jesus.  If you have never believed in Christ, then let me encourage you to do that today.  Stop trying to things on your own, stop trying to clean your life up by yourself, turn from your sins and trust in Jesus.  God has promised to forgive you if you believe in Jesus.  Second, He has promised to persevere us in this life.  The Great Commission ends with the promise that God will never leave us or forsake us.  He has given us the promised Spirit that will lead and guide us throughout this life.  We will face suffering like Joseph, but we face it with hope because we know it is making us more like Jesus!  He has promised to see us through.  Third, God has promised to send Christ back for His people.  The King is coming!  We are not long for this world because a new one is being prepared for us.  Christ will come and we will dwell with Him forever.  God has promised to do this.

These are the promises of the new covenant: forgiveness of sins, perseverance through life, and eternity in Heaven.  How can we know that God will not forsake this covenant?  How do we know that He will remain true?  We know because He is the God who keeps His promises.  He will remember His covenant.  He will never forget the blood of Christ.  So give thanks, call upon His name, make Him known to the nations, sing to Him, sing praises to Him, glory in His name, let your hearts rejoice, seek Him, seek Him continually, and remember His wondrous works!

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 March 2014 )

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