Give Thanks to the LORD, for He is Good

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Who can tell the mighty deeds of the LORD,
or proclaim all his praises?

Blessed are they who observe what is right,
who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people.

Visit me with your saving help,
That I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,
rejoice in the joy of your people,
and glory with your inheritance.
(Psalm 106:1-5)

Scripture Study

This psalm has to do with history and begins with a lengthy introduction, calling for God to be thanked for his everlasting love, and including the psalmist’s personal appeal. It then goes on to recall the sins committed by the people and how God forgave them at the Red Sea, in the desert and in the land of Canaan. It ends by asserting that God had mercy on the captives, and with the people’s plea for salvation and their praise of the Lord.

The praise sung in this psalm is echoed in the canticle of Zechariah, the Benedictus. It proclaims salvation from enemies and from all who hate us, for God has remembered his Covenant. Thus, Psalm 106 finds its fulfillment in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was heralded by the birth of John the Baptist.

Scripture Reflection

The psalm begins with a summons to praise and ends with a prayer for the restoration of praise because it understands praise to be the crucial factor in Israel’s relation to its God as it is for today’s Christian. Praise is the joyful, thankful rehearsal of the LORD’s promises and deeds to re-present the words and acts as the reality in terms of which the community lives.

The basic failure underlying all particular sins is the failure to take the words and the deeds as the basis of life. The voice of trusting praise is the sound and sign of a people restored by the LORD’s salvation. The litmus test for the spiritual health of God’s people is the integrity and actuality of their praise, whether they “remember the abundance of the LORD’s steadfast love” or forget his deed and let themselves be determined by dangers or desires or the ways of the nations.

– James Mays

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.