Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
He remembers his covenant for ever,
the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
‘To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you will inherit.’
When they were but few in number,
few indeed, and strangers in it,
they wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
He allowed no one to oppress them;
for their sake he rebuked kings:
‘Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm.’
He called down famine on the land
and destroyed all their supplies of food;
and he sent a man before them –
Joseph, sold as a slave.
They bruised his feet with shackles,
his neck was put in irons,
till what he foretold came to pass,
till the word of the Lord proved him true.
The king sent and released him,
the ruler of peoples set him free.
He made him master of his household,
ruler over all he possessed,
to instruct his princes as he pleased
and teach his elders wisdom.
Then Israel entered Egypt;(Ps. 105:1-23 NIV)
Jacob resided as a foreigner in the land of Ham.
The Psalm begins (1-6) with a call to worship. The call to worship is strengthened by the number of imperative verbs that are used:
V1 Give praise, proclaim, make known
V2 sing, sing praise, tell of
V3 Glory, rejoice
V4 Look, seek
V 1-2 stress the verbal act and the remaining verbs are more reflective on what God has done. The Lord is the object of the commanded worship. We proclaim the Gospel and let the nations know what God has done in the wonderful acts that He has performed. Those who seek the Lord are to rejoice. The works of the Lord reveal His strength and holiness. The work of the Lord must always be kept separate from the character of the Lord, but we also need to acknowledge how the works of the Lord reflect the Lord’s character.
The subjects of worship are all those for whom God has done these wonderful works, the descendants of Abraham and the sons of Jacob. All who have come to faith in Christ are the spiritual descendants of our father in the faith Abraham. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Only those who have acknowledged the Triune God can be considered as the children of Abraham.
The goal of worship is to magnify the Lord. When the people of God reflect on the Lord and what He has done, they ascribe power, holiness and glory to His name. As we reflect on the work of the Lord and praise His name, our appreciation of God increases. There is consolation and comfort found in meditating upon what the Lord has done. When we feel discouraged or stressed, it is a good thing to take our thoughts off ourselves and focus on what God has done. Sometimes if we are very discouraged or stressed, it is hard to take our minds off ourselves and then it is helpful to write down a description of the work of the Lord.
In verses 7-11 the Psalmist reflects upon the Covenant of Promise. The covenant LORD is our God and His judgements take in the whole of the earth. The covenant promises are eternal – the LORD remembers His covenant forever. The mention of a thousand generations does not limit His promises. They act as a kind of hyperbole to emphasise an eternal time. The promises were made to successive generations, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and it is an everlasting covenant. Christ is the fulfilment of the covenant. The relationship we have with God is based on covenant and Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant. The promise is of land. The theme of ‘land grant’ begins in Genesis. The Promised Land never has clearly defined borders and as we move through the OT to the time of exile, the theme of land extends to ‘beyond the rivers.’ In the NT, when Christ comes, the land has an international aspect where the disciples are commissioned to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. The Psalmist has often spoken about the whole earth. The whole earth will be the inheritance of the OT and NT people of God, fulfilled in Christ in the New Heavens and the New Earth.
It is one thing to think of the inheritance that the Lord keeps for his people, but in our moments of failure we wonder if we will survive to enjoy that inheritance. V12-15 speak of how the LORD protects His people so that they will indeed receive that inheritance. When the people of God were few in number, they wandered the wilderness, they wandered in exile and they had a pilgrim and stranger existence on the earth. But the Lord protected a remnant of His people. The family line that stretched to Joseph and Mary was maintained so that Christ would come into this world.
In v16-23, the Psalmist recalls the providence of the Lord throughout history. The Lord called down a famine and destroyed the food of the people of God, but he raised up Joseph, who was sold as a slave. The Lord worked in Joseph’s life to shape him into the person who would deliver the people of God. Pharaoh set Joseph free and elevated him to a place of honour. The people of God entered Egypt and lived as strangers in Egypt, outside of the land. The Lord brought a family into the land of Egypt and 400 years would pass, and God would bring a nation out of Egypt. This was all part of the plan of redemption.
LORD God of the covenant, we thank You that we are recipients of the blessings of the covenant promise. We thank You that the plan of redemption was based upon the coming of Christ into this world. We thank You for that moment in Acts of the Apostles when Paul’s missionary team were directed by You to turn towards Europe and over the decades the Gospel has come to this nation and today we enjoy the blessings of salvation. Lord help us to focus our thoughts on Your great plan of salvation and the mighty work of redemption that means our sins are all forgiven and we have been made part of the family of God. We praise Your great name through the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.