Good morning! In the psalms for today (105-106), we get a Cliff Notes summary of the entire narrative of Jewish salvation history, told with theological intent. The two psalms give an interesting juxtaposition of God’s never-ending care and the people’s frequent forgetfulness. Nevertheless, the writers of these texts hope that the peoples’ remembering their history will make them more faithful in the present.
If these two psalms are the sides of an open book, Psalm 105 tells the early part of Hebrew actions from the perspective of God’s salvation. We read about covenants and protection for the earliest patriarchs and matriarchs, providential supply of grain through Joseph in Egypt, deliverance by plagues against Pharaoh (most but not all are mentioned), miraculous feeding in the wilderness, and inhabiting the land of Canaan. God has done all these acts of deliverance for one reason, given in the summarizing final verse: “that [the people] might keep his statutes and observe his laws”.
But the other side of the open book (psalm 106) reveals that this divine strategy ran into serious trouble because of human forgetfulness. Escaping Israelites forgot God’s salvation repeatedly when leaving Egypt and wandering in the wilderness. God tried both undeserved graciousness and angry violence to get the people to remember God’s faithfulness, but neither had the desired effect. Again and again the Israelites disobeyed their divine leader. Finally, God was displeased enough to abandon care for these people, turning them out to the wintry oppression of their captors. Yet even then (!) God acted mercifully, turning the hearts of those who held them to kindness rather than destruction. This remembrance—both the good and the bad, side by side—helps the people reclaim their identity as Hebrews, seeking to be gathered together “from among the nations”. Faithfulness in remembering the past may yet lead the people to salvation in their future. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Psalms 107-110. Thanks for reading!