Daybreak: Psalm 106:1-48
“Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea. Nevertheless, he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.” (Psalm 106:7-8)
Just as God was merciful to Israel in spite of the people’s repeated rebellion, He continues to call individuals who resist Him. Jim Parr was one who experienced God’s mercy in that regard. He often related that he was the wayward one in his family. He would testify, “I was a slave to a life of sin for years — the terror of the community where I was brought up, a drunken miner in England, Scotland, and Wales. On Sundays you would find me gambling and drinking, trying to numb the pain inside. Jail bars failed to reform me. I even meditated upon committing suicide, but fear of God’s judgment stopped me from taking my own life. Many times I nearly went into a devil’s Hell when the mines where I was working would fall in, but I would just blaspheme God’s name.
“I was in Wales during the Welsh revival from 1904 to 1906, where one hundred thousand people were converted in about two years, and witnessed people being converted all around me. Some of those people had been my drinking companions. They had prayer meetings fifteen hundred feet down in the mines but I would curse and swear and have nothing to do with them. At the same time, there was something in my heart that was hungering for reality.
“One Sunday night I decided to attend a church where a Welsh man, Evan Roberts, was holding a revival meeting. The church was packed so I went across the street to a Salvation Army service. God was talking to me, and He put life and death before me. However, I deliberately stepped out of that place without yielding.
“The next day, three of us went shooting in the mountains. As I was firing a gun, it broke apart and shot my hand all to pieces. It was only the mercy of God that I was not killed, but I was in awful shape for about three months. I figured it was God’s judgment upon me because I did not yield my heart to Him. I made a vow during that time, saying, ‘God, if You will spare my life, I will surrender to You.’ However, I did not keep that vow.
“After a couple of years, I decided to come to America. I worked in several places, and then God in His mercy permitted me to take work at a coal mining camp in Harrisburg, Illinois. One evening as I came out of the mines, I met a couple of Welshmen who invited me to a revival service. As I sat in the back of that meeting hall, God spoke to my soul. I was polluted by the powers of Hell and diseased from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, but thank God, a lifeline was thrown out. At the close of that service, I walked up the aisle and dropped on my knees. There I made an unconditional surrender. God blotted out my sins and came into my life. He rescued my Hell-deserving soul from a life of defeat, healed my body, and made me a new creature. From the bottom of my heart I thank Him that He had mercy on my Hell-bound soul!”
Psalm 106 is a sad record of how Israel “remembered not” the multitude of God’s mercies toward them but rebelled against Him. Jim Parr also spurned God’s mercy for a time. However, in both cases, God continued to extend mercy “that he might make his mighty power to be known.” For thousands of years now, the Bible has made known the account of God’s faithfulness to Israel. Jim Parr became a pioneer minister in the Apostolic Faith organization shortly after its founding in 1906, and testified until his death in 1949 of God’s faithfulness to him.
Today, God’s mercy is still extended. The path to God is still the same, regardless of the past or what amount of spiritual light one has. If we have experienced God’s love and forgiveness, our part is to continue to make His mighty power known, and encourage others to respond to Him.
Psalm 106 is the closing psalm in Book IV — a section which began with Psalm 90. This psalm begins in a similar manner as Psalms 105 and 107; the words “O give thanks unto the Lord” appear in the first verse of each. The three psalms are also similar in that each contains historical accounts of Israel.
Psalm 106 offers a counterpart to Psalm 105. Whereas the previous psalm spoke of God’s faithfulness in keeping His covenant with Abraham’s descendants, this psalm tells how the Jewish people broke their side of the covenant agreement through repeated disobedience and unbelief. No author is cited, but the opening and closing verses of this psalm may indicate that it was written from exile by someone looking forward to the day when God would return His people to their land. The psalm is classified as a personal lament. While Israel’s sins are recounted, a recurring note throughout the psalm is the enduring mercy of the Lord.
Psalm 106 opens with a call to worship and a personal plea by the psalmist (verses 1-5). The main body of the psalm (verses 6-39) details seven instances when Israel rebelled against God: their murmuring at the Red Sea, complaining about God’s provision, insurrection against their God-appointed leaders, worship of the golden calf, unbelief and disobedience when the spies gave their report of Canaan, joining the heathen in idolatry, and unbelief at the “waters of strife” (or Meribah). The psalm concludes with a review of God’s repeated judgments and His great mercy (verses 47-48), and a closing prayer and doxology.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Book I (1:1 — 41:13)
II. Book II (42:1 — 72:20)
III. Book III (73:1 — 89:52)
IV. Book IV (90:1 — 106:48)
V. Book V (107:1 — 150:6)
A Closer Look
- The words “forget” or “remembered not” are used four times between verses 7 and 21. What are three transgressions committed by the Israelites as a result of their failure to remember God’s faithfulness to them?
- Idolatry was one of the transgressions for which Israel was condemned in this psalm (see verses 28-38). In what way might people be guilty of idolatry in our day?
- In what circumstances has recalling past victories helped you through a challenge?
God’s great mercy toward Israel in spite of their repeated rebellion is also apparent when He continues to deal with those who resist His call to salvation.