Israel Praising Jehovah for His Ways in Grace, from Abraham to Joshua
Israel Praising Jehovah for His Ways in Grace, from Abraham to Joshua
Psalm 105. Although this is an orphan Psalm, we know the author was David because it is part of the Psalm David wrote when the ark was brought to Jerusalem (1 Chron. 16:8-22, specifically vv.23-33 are parallel with Psalm 105). In this Psalm we have a continuation of the praise of Israel in the time of their restoration, in which they will look back over their history and see God’s ways of grace with them. This Psalm gives us a backwards look on Israel’s history from Abraham to the giving of the land, i.e. the time of Joshua.
1 Give ye thanks unto Jehovah, call upon his name; make known his acts among the peoples.
2 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him; meditate upon all his wondrous works.
3 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek Jehovah.
4 Seek Jehovah and his strength, seek his face continually;
5 Remember his wondrous works which he hath done, his miracles and the judgments of his mouth:
6 Ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye sons of Jacob, his chosen ones.
7 He, Jehovah, is our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
vv.1-7 Jehovah to be Praised for His Wondrous Works. The first seven verses introduce the Psalm, which is full of praise for Jehovah for all His wondrous works, especially to Israel. Israel will make these works known “among the peoples” (Gentiles), which will draw forth praise from them as well! But it is also Israel celebrating their God; “Ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye sons of Jacob, his chosen ones. He, Jehovah, is our God; his judgments are in all the earth.”
8 He is ever mindful of his covenant, — the word which he commanded to a thousand generations, —
9 Which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac;
10 And he confirmed it unto Jacob for a statute, unto Israel for an everlasting covenant,
11 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance;
12 When they were a few men in number, of small account, and strangers in it.
13 And they went from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people.
14 He suffered no man to oppress them, and reproved kings for their sakes,
15 Saying, Touch not mine anointed ones, and do my prophets no harm.
vv.8-15 His Ways With Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Israel reviews God’s ways with the patriarchs. Jehovah has proven Himself faithful to His covenant, referring to the Abrahamic Covenant, “the word which he commanded to a thousand generations”. He promises Abraham and his seed the land of Canaan for their inheritance. This promise was not made when Israel was great in number, but “When they were a few men in number, of small account, and strangers in it”. It required faith in the patriarchs to believe what God had promised. Those men were pilgrims and strangers, “And they went from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people”. But God watched over them, and “suffered no man to oppress them, and reproved kings for their sakes, saying, Touch not mine anointed ones, and do my prophets no harm”. Examples of this would be God rebuking Pharaoh and Abimelech, even in times of the failure of Abraham (Gen. 12:17; 20:3-8). How touching to the place of dignity that these ones had in God’s sight, in spite of failure! All the failure is passed over here.
16 And he called for a famine upon the land; he broke the whole staff of bread.
17 He sent a man before them: Joseph was sold for a bondman.
18 They afflicted his feet with fetters; his soul came into irons;
19 Until the time when what he said came about: the word of Jehovah tried him.
20 The king sent and loosed him — the ruler of peoples — and let him go free.
21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler over all his possessions:
22 To bind his princes at his pleasure, and teach his elders wisdom.
vv.16-22 His Ways With Joseph. Israel reviews God’s ways in bringing Israel to Egypt through the famine, sending Joseph before them through a path of suffering; “He sent a man before them: Joseph was sold for a bondman. They afflicted his feet with fetters; his soul came into irons”. Joseph is a type of Christ, suffering for the deliverance of the nation. But we have some added details here that help in the story of Joseph; “his soul came into irons; until the time when what he said came about: the word of Jehovah tried him”. All that time in the prison, Joseph was being tested by the Word of the Lord, i.e. the dreams God had given him as a boy. Finally, “what he said came about”, and Joseph was brought out of prison at the command of the king himself! And his exaltation followed; “He made him lord of his house, and ruler over all his possessions: to bind his princes at his pleasure, and teach his elders wisdom”. How wise and wonderful Jehovah is!
23 And Israel came into Egypt, and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
24 And he made his people exceeding fruitful, and made them mightier than their oppressors.
25 He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.
26 He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron whom he had chosen:
27 They set his signs among them, and miracles in the land of Ham.
28 He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.
29 He turned their waters into blood, and caused their fish to die.
30 Their land swarmed with frogs, — in the chambers of their kings.
31 He spoke, and there came dog-flies, and gnats in all their borders.
32 He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land;
33 And he smote their vines and their fig-trees, and broke the trees of their borders.
34 He spoke, and the locust came, and the cankerworm, even without number;
35 And they devoured every herb in their land, and ate up the fruit of their ground.
36 And he smote every firstborn in their land, the firstfruits of all their vigour.
37 And he brought them forth with silver and gold; and there was not one feeble among their tribes.
38 Egypt rejoiced at their departure; for the fear of them had fallen upon them.
vv.23-38 His Ways in Egypt, the Plagues, the Passover, and the Exodus. The Psalm passes on the time of Israel’s bondage in Egypt. Jehovah caused Israel to be fruitful and multiply, and this turned the heart of Egypt against them (vv.23-24, see Exodus 1). So God raised up a deliverer (Ex. 2, etc.). Notice that, in grace, Aaron is mentioned here as being chosen, rather than a byproduct of Moses fear, as Exodus 4 presents it. Again, this Psalm gives us God’s ways in grace. Then we have the plagues of Egypt recounted in a poetic way: water turns into blood (the first plague, v.29), frogs come out of the water (the second plague, v.30), flies (the fourth plague, v.31), hail (the seventh plague, v.32), locusts (the eighth plague, v.34), darkness (the ninth plague, v.28), and the Passover (the tenth plague, v.36). The dust turned to lice, the murrain, and the boils are passed over. Also the darkness is moved to the start of the list. The plagues were God demonstrating His power in deliverance through judgment. Afterwards, Jehovah brought Israel forth from Egypt “with silver and gold; and there was not one feeble among their tribes”. Their years of bondage were repaid with the wealth of Egypt!
39 He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light in the night.
40 They asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.
41 He opened the rock, and waters gushed forth; they ran in the dry places like a river.
42 For he remembered his holy word, and Abraham his servant;
43 And he brought forth his people with gladness, his chosen with rejoicing;
44 And he gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the labour of the peoples:
45 That they might keep his statutes, and observe his laws. Hallelujah!
vv.39-45 His Ways in the Journey from Egypt to Canaan. The Psalm continues in the history of Israel to the wilderness journey. Israel is reminded of how God tenderly cared for them with the pillar of cloud and fire (v.39), the provision of quails and manna (v.40), and water from a rock (v.41). It was Jehovah remembering His promises to Abraham, and fulfilling them! The years of wandering are completely passed over. The portion of the journey from Sinai to the border of the land is completely passed over. Jehovah brought Israel into the their land, and God gave it to them, and they took possession of it. Again, the failures are passed over, and Israel is seen in the land, keeping His statutes and observing His laws.