Friday, 16 October 2020
Title: Grace and Mercy Lost and Regained
By: Ps Cheng Cheung
46 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!
And let all the people say, “Amen!”
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 106 begins and ends with the identical phrase: “Praise the Lord.” That’s where the psalmist wants us to begin and end. In this psalm, with all its sin and sorrow and pain, are reasons to praise God. And that means the psalmist does not just say great and wonderful things about God, but says and gives solid reasons why He is praiseworthy. Why He is great and glorious, full of compassion. And without parallel in His lovingkindness. Most of all, The Lord God is incomparably long-suffering and forbearing. That is what it means to sing His praises. This is the goal of the psalm.
Verse 1: “Oh give thanks to the Lord.” And verse 47, “. . . that we may give thanks to your holy name.”
The reason given for why this praise and this expression of gratitude are so fitting is found in verse 1 – “for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.” So, the psalmist wants us to see God as praiseworthy and good and loving as we read this psalm.
If we merely read this psalm (or any psalm for that matter) ”at arm’s length” we will not be able to fully appreciate the depth of the experience of the psalmist and how it impacted him and his own people, the Israelites. We need to identify, first of all, with how real and ’common’ were their failings, then the reasons for praising God will hit home.
This is the long litany of Israel’s rebellion and failures:
Verse 7: “They rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.”
Many of us too, have a short memory of God’s most recent blessings upon our lives. The Israelites had not long ago been delivered from generations of slavery. And so soon after that, at first sight of an obstacle, they rebel.
Verse 14: “They had an intense craving in the wilderness.”
Wanton waywardness will test God’s patience. This is a common trait in many born again believers, desiring to go one’s way impulsively and not wait upon God.
Verse 19: “They made a calf at Horeb and worshipped a metal image.”
The golden calf means many things to many people. Dare each of us declare we have none?
Verse 24: “They despised the pleasant land, having no faith in the promise.”
The sentiment is more than just ingratitude. God’s promise of provision is spurned with disdain. Moreover, they doubted God’s promise would meet their expectations.
Verse 32: “They angered God at the waters of Meribah and made Moses’ spirit bitter.”
Not only did the Israelites anger God but by their actions they stumbled His anointed one as well. There was only so much the man, or any man, for that matter, could take from this grumbling lot.
The Lord had committed Himself to Israel via a covenantal relationship (Deuteronomy 28), promising abundant blessing if she obeyed Him. But what follows, would be, for most suitors, heart-breaking.
Verse 28: “They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead.” After this, more provocation followed.
Verse 34: “They did not destroy the peoples, but mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did.”, and Verse 36: “They served their idols.”
It started with disobedience (”… did not destroy the peoples concerning whom the Lord had commanded them”) and ended up with compromise (”Instead, they mingled among the pagans and adopted their evil customs.”). Worst of all, the nations (things) which they were supposed to destroy finally ruled over them.
This was sheer harlotry. The marriage covenant symbolised the relationship between Yahweh and His people. For the Israelites to do this would have crushed God’s heart. Is there hope for Israel? Surely there is. Here is our faithful God’s response.
Nevertheless He regarded their affliction,
When He heard their cry;
And for their sake He remembered His covenant,
And relented according to the multitude of His mercies.
We need to ask ourselves: Have we gone after things which have lured our souls away from the One who loved us so much He gave His precious Son to redeem us from the bondage of sin? Moreover, can we identify with Israel, in some measure? What is our golden calf, have we embittered others, or worst of all, do things rule over us now, due to continued compromise?
Prayer for Today
Lord, I grieve over the impurity and stubbornness of my heart. It is so both through the sin I inherited and through my life-long indulgence of it. How wretched I am!
Thank You that, as with the Israelites, You regarded my affliction, when You heard my cry. And You relented from punishment because of Your infinite grace. Praise God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
诗篇106是与相同的短语“赞美耶和华”为开始和结束。诗人希望我们这样开始和结束。 这首诗篇虽列出所有的罪恶、悲伤和痛苦，它却也包含了赞美上帝的理由。 这意味着诗篇作者不仅会说出关于上帝伟大和奇妙的事情，并且会说出他为什么值得颂赞：他伟大、荣耀、满有怜悯、慈爱无与伦比的扎实理由。最重要的是，无人能像主上帝那样长期忍耐并寬容。 这就是歌颂赞美他的意思。这是本篇的目标。
第1节 “要称谢耶和华”及第47节 “我们好称赞你的圣名”。赞美和感恩为何此合适的原因是在第1节：“因他本为善，他的慈爱永远长存！” 因此，诗人希望我们在阅读这诗篇时将上帝视为是值得颂赞，善良和慈爱的。
我们当中许多人也很快忘记上帝最近赐我们在生命上的祝福。 以色列人不久前就从几代人的奴役中被释放出来。 不久之后，他们一见到障碍便反叛了。
第34-36 节： 他们不照耶和华所吩咐的灭绝外邦人，35 反与他们混杂相合，学习他们的行为，36 侍奉他们的偶像。
这是纯粹的卖淫行为。 婚姻盟约象征着耶和华与他的子民之间的关系。 以色列人这样做会伤透上帝的心。 以色列有希望吗？ 肯定有。 这是我们信实的上帝的回应。
我们需要问问自己：我们所追寻的那些事物是否诱惑我们偏离那位如此爱我们，甚至赐下他宝贵的儿子使我们从罪的束缚中被救赎的上帝？ 此外，我们是否在某种程度上也能体会以色列的境况？ 我们的金牛犊是什么? 我们让别人痛苦了吗？还是最糟糕的，由于持续的妥协，现在反而是事物在统治我们吗？
主啊，我为自己内心的不洁和固执感到悲伤。 它既是我继承的罪恶，也是我终生放纵的罪恶。 我真可悲！
谢谢你，就像对待以色列人一样，当你听到我的哭泣时，你也感到了我的痛苦。 由于你无限的恩典，在惩罚这事上你改变心意。 赞美神。 奉耶稣的名祷告，阿们。