1 Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord,
or declare all his praise?
3 Blessed are they who observe justice,
who do righteousness at all times!
4 Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people;
help me when you save them,
5 that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
that I may glory with your inheritance.
6 Both we and our fathers have sinned;
we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.
7 Our fathers, when they were in Egypt,
did not consider your wondrous works;
they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
8 Yet he saved them for his name's sake,
that he might make known his mighty power.
9 He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry,
and he led them through the deep as through a desert.
10 So he saved them from the hand of the foe
and redeemed them from the power of the enemy.
11 And the waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them was left.
12 Then they believed his words;
they sang his praise.
13 But they soon forgot his works;
they did not wait for his counsel.
14 But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,
and put God to the test in the desert;
15 he gave them what they asked,
but sent a wasting disease among them.
16 When men in the camp were jealous of Moses
and Aaron, the holy one of the Lord,
17 the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,
and covered the company of Abiram.
18 Fire also broke out in their company;
the flame burned up the wicked.
19 They made a calf in Horeb
and worshiped a metal image.
20 They exchanged the glory of God
for the image of an ox that eats grass.
21 They forgot God, their Savior,
who had done great things in Egypt,
22 wondrous works in the land of Ham,
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
23 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.
24 Then they despised the pleasant land,
having no faith in his promise.
25 They murmured in their tents,
and did not obey the voice of the Lord.
26 Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them
that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
27 and would make their offspring fall among the nations,
scattering them among the lands.
28 Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor,
and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
29 they provoked the Lord to anger with their deeds,
and a plague broke out among them.
30 Then Phinehas stood up and intervened,
and the plague was stayed.
31 And that was counted to him as righteousness
from generation to generation forever.
32 They angered him at the waters of Meribah,
and it went ill with Moses on their account,
33 for they made his spirit bitter,
and he spoke rashly with his lips.
34 They did not destroy the peoples,
as the Lord commanded them,
35 but they mixed with the nations
and learned to do as they did.
36 They served their idols,
which became a snare to them.
37 They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to the demons;
38 they poured out innocent blood,
the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
and the land was polluted with blood.
39 Thus they became unclean by their acts,
and played the whore in their deeds.
40 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
and he abhorred his heritage;
41 he gave them into the hand of the nations,
so that those who hated them ruled over them.
42 Their enemies oppressed them,
and they were brought into subjection under their power.
43 Many times he delivered them,
but they were rebellious in their purposes
and were brought low through their iniquity.
44 Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress,
when he heard their cry.
45 For their sake he remembered his covenant,
and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
46 He caused them to be pitied
by all those who held them captive.
47 Save us, O Lord our God,
and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.
48 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
And let all the people say, “Amen!”
Praise the Lord!
This is a psalm to the Lord about all that the Lord has done for them as a people such as the provisions and deliverance out of Egypt. The psalm really glorifies and honors God in who He is and what He’s done despite His people’s great failure in their disobedience toward God.
Verse 1 sets the tone of the whole psalm. Praise God for all that He’s done, giving thanks and showing gratitude for the magnificent works of God. God is good. And His love endures forever. This is a bold claim that the psalmist claims as Israel has gone through much hardship, trials, and disciplines. And in the crises, it is easy to blame God for all the things that has been wrong or ‘unfair’ or doesn’t seem to go our way. But the psalmist makes the point that God is good, he is to be praised, and His beautiful and wonderful love endures or lasts to all generations, forever and ever. And this praise toward God is inexpressible as verse 2 questions who can utter the mighty deeds of God.
Verses 6-48 really give the history of Israel and the failure to keep the covenantal faithfulness toward God and be in obedience to Him.
“Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness ” (verse 6). This is really the starting point and the foundation of the rebellion that Israel confesses that they and their fathers in Egypt and in the wilderness failed to obey God. They have sinned and done wrong. It’s amazing to see their confession considering how it is human sinful nature to blame others and to rarely accept blame or fault. While Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent, the psalmist takes responsibility and as a collective whole confesses their sin.
The psalmist is specific in how Israel failed such as forgetting the Lord even after the Lord brought deliverance and brought redemption to Israel after being slaves in Egypt and walking on dry land with the waters of the Red Sea parted. It was in verse 13 that the psalmist mentions despite all that God has done, they soon forgot the Lord, not having faith and living in disbelief. In verse 14, they grumbled against God, angry that God brought them out of Egypt. So God punished them.
Again their rebellion is mentioned when they uprise against Moses and Aaron, and the authority is challenged. This time also God punished the Israelites especially the rebels that stood against the perfect authority that God has placed over the Israelites.
In verse 19, they rebelled again when they worshipped the golden calf which is a serious offense to God as they exchanged the glory of God, the perfect and holy image of God, and attributed it to a bull. It is one of the greatest insults when taking the holy God and treating it as a common animal. This is taking the full glory, splendor, and majesty of God and putting it to an animal that eats grass. Is is serious when we take special attention to idols, common things with little value or worth. We also do the same if we’re serious with ourselves whether it is pleasure, sports, entertainment, and even people. If we ascribe the glory, honor, and worth to created things, we are desecrating the Name of God and treating it as common.
Their rebellion continued despite the many warnings that God had sent to His people. They still didn’t listen. They even worshipped Baal and their idolatry and sexual immorality was so huge. But the grace and mercy of God was demonstrated in God’s abundance to hear their cries and see their distress (v 44). And the Lord remembered His covenant with His people — He is the God who is faithful even though His people is not faithful.
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
God’s salvation and His mercy endures forever, and that is reason to praise God that God remembers His covenant with His people. And that is the promise that each of us, believers in the NT have, as it says in Hebrews how Jesus mediated a better covenant and that will last forever and ever.