The Book of Psalms

Friday: Let All God’s People Say “Amen”

Theme

Theme: God’s Judgment, Compassion, and Deliverance
In this week’s lessons we see that even when we sin, the Lord remains the God who acts not only in judgment, but also in faithfulness and compassion.
Scripture: Psalm 106:1-48
When we come to the last section of this psalm, after the historical review of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God, we are told of God’s response to the people’s sin (vv. 40-46). It was twofold. First, there was judgment. Judgment we expect. We are told that God was angry with his people and therefore “handed them over to the nations” so that “their foes ruled over them” and “their enemies oppressed them” (vv. 40–42). This was the actual history of the people once they entered the Promised Land. They sinned by compromising with the values of the nations around them. God allowed an alien people to conquer and oppress them, they repented and called on God for help, and he delivered them—usually by the hands of the judges. But then the cycle started all over again. At last the northern kingdom was overcome by the Assyrians (in 721 B.C.), and the southern kingdom by the Babylonians (in 586 B.C.). The psalm seems to have been written during the time of the Babylonian captivity (see v. 47).
Second, there was compassion and deliverance. Compassion is unexpected and unmerited; yet that is what Israel experienced at the hands of God. We are told in verse 45 that, although the people had sinned often and greatly, God “remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented” (v.45). What a great reality! The compassionate God!
This is the first time the covenant has been mentioned in this psalm, but its mention takes us back to Psalm 105, where it was the central theme. It is one more feature that ties Psalms 105 and 106 together. Psalm 105 taught that God is faithful to his covenant. We are reminded here that, although the people were unfaithful to him, God nevertheless was faithful to them, which is why a psalm dealing with the sins of God’s people can end on a positive note.
The lesson is that of Romans 3:3, 4, where Paul asks, “What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness?” He answers, “Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar.” God is faithful in spite of our unfaithfulness, and we had better be glad he is since his faithfulness is our sole hope. Can you say, “Amen” to that? “Amen” marks our assent to God’s Word, and what God has chiefly said in Psalm 106 is this. First, “we have sinned, even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly” (v. 6). We hear and sadly agree. “Amen,” we murmur. Second, “I remember my covenant” (see v. 45). When we hear that, we look up joyfully and cry in a very different tone of voice, “Amen”
The psalm says, “Let all the people say, “Amen.” Can you say Amen? “Praise the LORD.”
Study Questions:

Describe what happened to the people after they entered the Promised Land. What was God’s twofold response to the peoples’ sin?
According to the covenant, how should God have dealt with Israel? What did he do? Why?

Application: Make a list of God’s blessings. Then note the ways in which you have rebelled against him. Lastly, record how God has demonstrated his continued faithfulness and compassion toward you.
Prayer: Thank God for his unceasing compassion.
For Further Study: James Boice’s studies on the Psalms can also be used for one’s personal or family devotions. Order your copy of the three-volume set and take 25% off the regular price.

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