Grace & God's People. Psalm 106

Grace and God's People

Psalm 106

A. Praising God for His glorious grace. (Psalm 106:1-3)
B. Seeking to Observe His glorious grace. (Psalm 106:4-5)
C. Describing Life apart from God's glorious grace (Psalm 106:6-46)
Then and Now
       From Revival to Despair
D. Calling forth God's glorious grace (Psalm 106:47-48)

Psalm 106 beautifully portrays the glory of God's grace. God's grace is seen so glorious because it is given to His undeserving people. His need for such splendid grace necessarily means that we have sinned, been wayward, disobedient, stubborn and outright evil at times. The great amount of change during the Reformation occurred precisely because Christianity had collapsed so far and God's light shined all the brighter. Without an awakening to our sinfulness, there is no genuine appreciation for God. There is no need of salvation. Psalm 106 takes us through God's extraordinary kindness to Israel. The pathway is not nice. It covers a muddied and rocky road for Israel sinned grievously. But with this backdrop of despair, we see God's glorious grace shining all the more brightly. Let's take a step at a time.

A. Praising God for His glorious grace. (Psalm 106:1-3)

1 Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
2 Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the LORD, Or can show forth all His praise?
3 How blessed are those who keep justice, Who practice righteousness at all times!
(Psalms 106:1-3).

God's people are called to give thanks to God. Our thankfulness springs out of His goodness. Lovingkindness is God's covenant grace (hesed). The greatness of His goodness is seen in the unworthy recipients, the quality of the goodness and its perpetuity. This is what Paul speaks of when He says in Ephesians 3:20, "Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think ..." Grace does not come naturally nor do we naturally act graciously even with His grace. We instead are known for taking vengeance, holding grudges and getting bitter. God held on! His deeds are mighty in themselves but with the backdrop of the complaining Israelites, we see His powerful deeds are all the more glorious. Oh, that God's people would just stay faithful and observe God's goodness.

B. Seeking to Observe His glorious grace. (Psalm 106:4-5)

4 Remember me, O LORD, in Thy favor toward Thy people; Visit me with Thy salvation,
5 That I may see the prosperity of Thy chosen ones, That I may rejoice in the gladness of Thy nation, That I may glory with Thine inheritance. (Psalms 106:4-5).

Before the Psalmist begins to magnify God's lovingkindness, he appropriately asks God to remember him and his people. He wants to be one–no matter where in that long history of grace–to be able to step out and see God's grace and respond to God. He recognizes the common plight of living to sustain ones life and miss out on experiencing God's great grace. Life's excitement begins when we enjoy God's redemptive plan.

We need to step back and see God's marvelous dealings with His people in spite of their great waywardness. A godly man must see beyond what is happening on earth's shores. His overall view must keep him from being dragged in to life's routines. He must stand back and see God's perspective so that He can enjoy fellowship with Him. Our prayer requests can be merely a call for help to exist in the world, but God wants to share with us His heavenly grace. He desires for us to know, tell and live out His glorious plan. We are to be His workmanship of grace (see Ephesians 2:10). God's purpose is for us to share in His glory now and into all eternity.
muddied and rocky
God's leaders must seriously pray and think how they can take God's people to be more like this Psalmist. Of course he lived on this earth, but he was living for His heavenly Lord. Their eyes must be drawn heavenward before they can obtain God's perspective. The next section warns us by its length if not its description that living apart from God's splendid grace is all too hatefully common.

C. Describing Life apart from God's glorious grace (Psalm 106:6-46)

The trap of forgetfulness6 We have sinned like our fathers, We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly.
7 Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Thy wonders; They did not remember Thine abundant kindnesses, But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
8 Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, That He might make His power known.
(Psalms 106:6-8).

These first few verses of this very long section summarize its contents. We can see the Psalmist specialized in meditating. He took time to think through what God had done and was doing. Most Christians wrongly think about their lives. They never take time to think what God has done and fall into the trap of forgetfulness. Forgetfulness does not mean God has not done great things; it only means that we no longer can share in the joy and power of those experiences.

Verse six starts this section with a full confession, "We have sinned like our fathers, We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly."

  • 1) We have sinned like our fathers
    This speaks of their worldliness. They have just continued along the wayward path of their forefathers. They copied and imitated man rather than God. They lived for what they saw rather than believed. The world is like a magnet keeping the hearts of man close to its core. Anyone who is not changed, has no real heavenly direction. For this reason, Jesus said,
    "You must be born again (or born from above)." (John 3:3)

  • 2) We have committed iniquity.
    We have gone against the Lord's ways. We have disobeyed the Lord. Instead of repenting, God's people say with the world, "They just can't help it. "Everyone does it."


This confession of iniquity reflects how far they have gone against the way of the Lord. The Psalmist outlines the major steps of turning aside from the Lord in the verses below.


We are shocked that they would do such horrible things, but are we not guilty today of such iniquity? Have we not joined the iniquity of our forefathers but only changed the names and dates?

They rebelled by the sea (7)

Have we not doubted God's leading?!

They did not wait for His counsel (13)

Have we in our pragmatism just gone along with our plans instead of waiting for His counsel?!

They became envious of Moses (16)

Have we not spent much of our time trying to be more like others?!

They made a calf in Horeb (19)

Have we not idolized and served ourselves rather than God?!

They despised the pleasant land (24)

Have we not loved thinking more about the world than heaven?!

They ... grumbled in their tents (25)

Have we not silently grumbled in our homes over how God treats us?!

They joined themselves also to Baal-peor (28)

Have we not become caught in the web of our sensual lusts with pornography, fornication and other sexual sins?!

They also provoked Him to wrath at the waters of Meribah (32)

Have we not rudely questioned God's faithfulness?!

They did not destroy the peoples (33)

Have we not accepted the spirit of tolerance instead of righteousness?!

They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons (37)

Have we not aborted our children and by birth control served our greed and laziness?! By tolerating instruction by the world, we hand our children to the devil.

We cannot say we are better. In fact with more revealed truth, we stand greater condemned in our iniquity. God's anger is with us even as it was with them. We are no different. We are captives without knowing it. We boast of our greatness when we cannot see the deadness of our religiosity no matter what we might call it. The word for iniquity means bent or perverted. Righteousness means straight. We can see that God's people no longer look like God's people. They look like the world.

This Psalmist did the right thing by confessing their iniquity. This is the kind of people God has chosen to reveal His great grace. May we join this Psalmist in his pursuit of God and join the ranks of the godly!

  • 3) We have behaved wickedly.
    This confession speaks less of our response to God and more of our deviance from what is expected around us. They have simply fallen short of God's standards that molded that nation of Israel. Their decay affected the whole of society. A clear example is how fornicators are living with each other. They bear mostly unwanted children, and the society is plagued with its social evils. The Psalmist was not saying these wicked acts are different from iniquity; they are just being viewed as deviance from law rather than from the Lord. Wickedness is more easily seen by the community; iniquity is easily overlooked.

They have become worldly, forsaken the Lord and departed from His Law. The Psalmist, although avoiding such a lifestyle, sees himself along with them. They are in a covenant together. They will be judged together or blessed together. In the end he asks the Lord for blessing them all out from His abundant grace.

Before we leave this section, we need to cover one more section to get a real feel for how much we do not deserve His grace.

This section traces God's redemptive display of grace straight to evil. It is a downward path. A sad road to travel and unfortunately one too often frequented. We should remember that this was just one scenario. If one combines all the similar scenarios together, one will get the real picture. We are not just sometimes bad. We have a bent for evil. We don't deserve God's goodness. Many people will lodge a complaint that they deserve God's goodness. They just don't get the full picture. Their very complaint is an act of iniquity (see verse 25). Here is one scene from top to bottom.

Biblical Text of Psalms 106:10-15

From Revival to Despair

So He saved them from the hand of the one who hated them, And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. (10)
They were saved because they were desperately lost. They were snatched from the enemy's hand by God's gracious hand. Redemption always is a beautiful story.
And the waters covered their adversaries; Not one of them was left. Then they believed His words; They sang His praise. (11-12)

The perfect picture of peace. No enemies left. No longer able to fall. Great grace brings forth great praise, faith and songs. These are the days of glory when the glorious hymns are written and major mission movements take place. But how can things decay so quickly? It is evident with the following de–gression that the problem was not with the enemy whom they blamed but themselves!
They quickly forgot His works; (13 ) The first departure is always forgetting God's grace. By forgetting God's grace, we forget our dependence upon Him as well as our sinful corrupt hearts. A good ministry often reviews God's great works of the past to keep our perspectives sharp.
They did not wait for His counsel, (13 )
Once we forget our dependence upon Him, we tend to neglect depending upon Him. Reading the Word and praying are no longer practical priorities of our lives. People don't care to hear God's Word because they don't think they need it.
But craved intensely in the wilderness, (14 ) Once we have gone by our own counsel, we always make provision for our lusts. We choose to go by our own appetites rather than living by God's contraints. We justify our ways by wrong use of God's Word or we don't even hear God's Words.
And tempted God in the desert. (14 )
In order to justify our lusts, we blame God for our difficulties. We do not want to obey God at this point but only want freedom to carry out our own lusts.
So He gave them their request, But sent a wasting disease among them. (15)
In the end, God gives us what we ask: freedom to sin. But along with this comes devastating judgments which bring us to call upon the Lord and find redemption and start the whole cycle over again.

Summary of Psalm 106:6-46
We discover that the bulk of Psalm 106 (84.5%) sets before us the waywardness of God's people. Anytime we forget our sinful tendencies, we have already begun to descend into the pit of unloveliness. We have become worldly, full of iniquity and wicked. Grace calls us from darkness to light, death to life. Ephesians 2 beautifully describes this process. Grace is more beautiful when seen against the blackness of our horribly sinful ways just as the stars shine in space.

D. Calling forth God's glorious grace (Psalm 106:47-48)

47 Save us, O LORD our God, And gather us from among the nations, To give thanks to Thy holy name, And glory in Thy praise.
48 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. And let all the people say, "Amen." Praise the LORD! (Psalms 106:47-48).

Some would get discouraged at looking at life realistically. However, we really are that bad. We really do deserve judgment. We have already been sitting in judgment without knowing it. But the Psalmist was more noble. He realizes that no time is too late for grace until death. Now is a time God can intervene and save us. If God would be so merciful to hold back our deserved judgment and bless us as we don't deserve, he would experience salvation. He wants salvation. He wants God to break through the cloud of sin and darkness and shine brightly. Let all those who long for God, continue to cry out to God to save us. We need nothing short than His salvation.


We have such a wonderful God. We need to quickly become part of His people and then stay close to Him. Like this Psalmist, we want to be touched by God's grace. We want to be appreciative of His ways. He is good. (B) But we want more for our lives. We want to see God intervene in our own desperate times. (C) Sure as a people we have gone astray and deserve nothing but instant judgment. (D) But we call upon the Lord to work in all of us to the glory of His Name and grace.

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