Reading the Word
Psalm 106:40–48 (ESV)
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!
Understanding and Applying the Word
These verses describe the time period covered by the Book of Judges. During that time, the people of Israel are described as living in a cycle of rebellion against God. They would forget God and turn to idolatry. As a result, God sent oppressors to deal with the people. After a time of oppression, the people would call out to God. Then God would send a rescuer (i.e. a judge) to save the people and deliver them from their oppression. After a time, the cycle would repeat itself.
Why did God listen to the cries of the people over and over if he knew that they would continue to repeat this cycle? Verse 45 gives us an answer. It was because of his covenant. God promised to deliver the people and to make them into a great nation. His promise was based solely on his grace, not Israel’s merit.
We may ask the same question of ourselves. Why does God continue to abide with us even after our continued sin against him? It is only by his grace. He has promised us that if we trust in his Son, Jesus Christ, that our sins are forgiven and that we are made children of God. It is not our ability to earn our salvation because we cannot. It is completely by the grace of God and his faithfulness to his promises that we are saved. Let us give thanks to him for continuing to strive with us each and every day.
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