The Lord Remembers His Covenant Forever

Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.

He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations—
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.

He greatly increased his people
and made them stronger than their foes,
Whose hearts he changed, so that they hated his people,
and dealt deceitfully with his servants.

He sent Moses his servant;
Aaron, whom he had chosen.
They wrought his signs among them,
and wonders in the land of Ham.
(Psalm 105:1, 5, 8-9, 24-25, 26-27)

Scripture Study

105:5–7. Verse 7, a profession of faith which, bolstered by the narrative contained in the psalm, is similar to the summary in Deuteronomy 26:3–10 (cf. Josh 24:2–13) that the people used to profess their faith. Maybe these psalms were also recited on the feast of Weeks (cf. Lev 23:15–21) or on some other feast celebrating the escape from Egypt (Passover or Tabernacles).

105:8–11. Recalling the promise God made to give the people a land of their own, a promise made to Abraham (cf. Gen 15:1–2), Isaac (cf. Gen 26:3) and Jacob (cf. Gen 35:12), the psalmist stresses that the Lord will never go back on his word. That is why the people should offer praise; that is the ground of their hope.

105:23–36. To emphasize that the initiative lay with God, all these events are attributed to him (cf. vv. 24–26), including the sending of the plagues (vv. 28–36), eight of which are mentioned here and in a different order from that given in Exodus 7–12. Psalm 78 also recalled the plagues.

Scripture Reflection

The LORD wanted a people in the midst of all the other peoples of the world who “keep his statutes and observe his laws.” The sovereign of the universe sought to establish a colony of obedience, an enclave of those who represented and displayed his reign. This psalm has not a word to say about how God’s purpose fared in Israel’s history. The psalmist, writing after the exile in all probability, knew the painful story of Israel’s repeated failures.

But he also knew from the restoration of the people and the promised land about the power of the LORD to work out the covenant with the ancestors. So he composed a psalm that speaks only of the promise and the purpose. By it the descendants of Abraham are summoned to seek the power and the presence of their God because trust is the first act of obedience.

The lesson for the church is clear. There is a time and need for the church to hear the pristine word of God’s power and promise revealed in Jesus Christ. The church has no promise apart from its election in him and its identity as Abraham’s spiritual seed through him. God’s purpose to have a people who live by his rule in the midst of the nations persists through all times.

– James Mays

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