Psalm 106 is a history lesson of mankind. It recalls all the very stupid things that were done by the people of Israel in the early years. And the list is very long. But the chapter begins with these words: “Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise”? God is good, all the time, even when we don’t deserve an ounce of His goodness. He showed that over and over to His people. They cried out “remember me….help me….save me” and even though unworthy, God’s steadfast love was poured out on them.
Here is the reality of how the story goes. “Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness….did not consider your wondrous works…..did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love”. They forgot God. They lived their own life. Look at the long list of sin that scripture recalls:
- they soon forgot his works
- they did not wait for his counsel
- they exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox
- They forgot God, their Savior
- they despised the pleasant land
- They murmured in their tents
- did not obey the voice of the Lord
- they yoked themselves to the Baal
- they provoked the Lord to anger
- They angered him at the waters
- They did not destroy the peoples, as the Lord commanded them
- They served their idols
- They sacrificed their sons
- they poured out innocent blood”
Long list of big things that they did that was against God. The chapter captures in detail the calamity the choice to sin created. It was a series of very intentional and bad choices. That is what sin is – choosing to disobey God. And it creates big problems which the chapter captures.
Twice in this chapter, the writer recalls two men who stood in the gap and interceded between God and the sin of man. It is important to read carefully the power of intercession. God was ready to destroy people – lots of people – had not these guys stepped up and stood between the people and God’s wrath. Check out what scripture says:
- “Therefore he said he would destroy them – had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them
- Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was stayed. And that was counted to him as righteousness from generation to generation forever”
Moses and Phineas stood in the gap. They intervened, interceded and stood between a rebellious and sin infested people, that they both loved dearly, and a righteous God that absolutely cannot tolerate sin. We must not lose sight of the power of intercession, nor the reality that God because of His character, cannot and will not tolerate sin. That clash will yield some response from above.
At the end of the day though, God loves us. He doesn’t want to destroy us – He simply wants obedience. He just wants us to walk with Him. “Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power”. Over and over in scripture we see that God saved people so they could know Him. We just need to keep Him front and center and work on the relationship we have with Him. God loves us. It is plain to see that. But He also is God and is righteous and holy and cannot allow us to run amuck. Sin is a big problem between us and a perfect God. It has to be dealt with. God more than meets us half way: “Many times he delivered them, but they were rebellious in their purposes and were brought low through their iniquity. Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry. For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love”. We rebel, He loves. We sin, He sends Jesus to the Cross. We forget, He pursues us to draw us to Himself. Oh that we would learn the history of this chapter well and keep God where He belongs. We need to live in obedience to His love!