Psalms 106: We Need Forgiveness
I hope you remember what we have read about the history of Israel. You can pretty much sum it up by saying that the people of Israel would do something that would make God angry, but He would then forgive them. Psalms 106 is basically a reminder of several of these occasions. It talks about the people at the Red Sea, the wandering in the wilderness, the golden calf and many other difficult times in Israel’s history, but it is interesting how it all comes together near the end of the chapter.
Psa 106:43 Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.
Psa 106:44 Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry:
Psa 106:45 And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.
Psa 106:46 He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.
The pattern was always the same. The pattern is pretty much the same for each one of us as well. We try not to do things that are wrong, but every now and then we do stumble into some kind of sin. We might not be like Israel and start building golden idols in our backyards, but we can certainly build idols in our hearts for example.
Then, we cry out to God for forgiveness. At some point, we understand that we have done something wrong, and we recognize that we need God to help us clean up. Verse 45 in this context is talking about God’s promise with Israel in particular, but I would say that as Christians today, we also have promises from God, and He will remember them just as readily as He does in this example.
It is worth noting here that the word “repented” doesn’t mean that that God was somehow sorry about what had happened. It means more along the lines of “pitied.” The English Standard Version translates that as “relented.” I just wanted to point out that distinction because it seemed like an odd fit in this situation and that it was the people who were repenting rather than God.
I think that we have a tendency to put down Israel and say that we would never be that rebellious. If we had all the proofs that they had of the providence of God, certainly we would be even more obedient. However, we have quite a bit of proof, and that hasn’t made us to give up sin yet. We still need to rely on this wonderful promise of forgiveness since we would never make our own righteousness