Godís Blessings in Spite of Israelís Unfaithfulness.
This psalm, whose author is not known, gives a detailed confession of the sins of Israel, as contrasted with the wonders of Godís mercy, the conclusion being a supplication for Godís favor. V. 1. Praise ye the Lord, for the attitude of praise should characterize the believers at all times. O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good, He has revealed himself to men in the beauty of His goodness; for His mercy endureth forever, the hand of His merciful kindness is always extended in a loving appeal to all men. V. 2. Who can utter, fully declare, sufficiently describe, the mighty acts of the Lord, as He manifested them in the power of His mercy, for the salvation of men? Who can show forth all His praise, the glory of His essence as He revealed Himself in history? V. 3. Blessed are they that keep judgment, observing the demands of right and justice, and He that doeth righteousness at all times, in accordance with the holy will of the Lord. V. 4. Remember me, O Lord, the psalmist here seeking the application of Godís blessings to Himself, with the favor, the unmerited affection and good pleasure, that Thou bearest unto Thy people: O visit with Thy salvation, letting the inspired singer have the assurance that he also is included in the saving grace of the Lord, v. 5. that I may see the good of Thy chosen, taking part in the blessings which God had promised to Israel, the nation of His choice, that I may rejoice in the gladness of Thy nation, that I may glory with Thine inheritance, boasting of the favor of the Lord as shown in His many miracles in their behalf. Note that four different names are given to Israel in these two verses, all of them denoting the close fellowship which the Lord intended between Himself and them. But now follows the recital of Israelís trespasses. V. 6. We have sinned with our fathers, the present generation following their fathers in wickedness, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly, all of them forming one mass of corruption and the terms denoting a rising gradation of sinning. Note the emphatic ďwe,Ē which is essential for a full and free confession of sins. V. 7. Our fathers understood not Thy wonders in Egypt, they did not realize the Lordís purpose or the fullness of His divine favor; they remembered not the multitude of Thy mercies, but provoked Him, rather, they showed themselves rebellious, at the sea, even at the Red Sea, all the miracles of the Lord for their deliverance having been forgotten in this short space of time. V. 8. Nevertheless He saved them, in spite of their ungrateful behavior He delivered them, for His nameís sake, without any merit or worthiness on their part, solely with the intention of keeping His glory untarnished, that He might make His mighty power to be known, and thus be exalted in the eyes of men everywhere. V. 9. He rebuked the Red Sea also, which apparently obstructed their way to liberty, and it was dried up; so He led them through the depths, the bed of the sea, as through the wilderness, ordinary plain country. V. 10. And He saved them from the hand of him that hated them, Pharaoh of the exodus, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. V. 11. And the waters covered their enemies; there was not one of them left, Ex. 14, 21-31. V. 12. Then believed they His words, for God constrained even such a hard-hearted people to turn to Him in momentary faith; they sang His praise, Ex. 15, 1-21. But the reaction came almost immediately. V. 13. They soon forgat His works, literally, ďthey made haste, they forgot,Ē their flare of faith lasting barely three days; they waited not for His counsel, the plan which He had for their care, v. 14. but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, demanding to be given their desire, and tempted God in the desert, trying Him out, wearing down His patience with their constant grumbling. Cp. 1 Cor. 10, 6. V. 15. And He gave them their request, sending them water, manna, quails, Ex. 15, 22-24; 16; 17, 2; Num. 11, but sent leanness into their soul, by consuming them with a very great plague, Num. 11, 33-35. V. 16. They envied Moses also in the camp and Aaron, the saint of the Lord, Num. 16, 1, the rebels desiring the places of authority for themselves. V. 17. The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan and covered the company of Abiram, Num. 16,23-35. V. 18. And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked. After this reference to the rebellion of Korah the psalmist returns to the early days of the wilderness journey. V. 19. They made a calf in Horeb, while Moses was on the mount with God, and worshiped the molten image, Ex. 32, 4. V. 20. Thus they changed their glory, Jehovah, the true God Himself, as He had manifested and proved Himself before the people, into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass. V. 21. They forgat God, their Savior, who had delivered them by such a signal deliverance, which had done great things in Egypt, in the ten plagues upon Pharaoh and his people; v. 22. wondrous works in the land of Ham, Egypt being called so because the descendants of Ham had settled there, and terrible things, which caused Him to be feared, by the Red Sea. V. 23. Therefore He said that He would destroy them, Ex. 32, 10; Num. 14, 12, had not Moses, His chosen, stood before Him in the breach to turn away His wrath, lest He should destroy them, for in one case the plague had already made great headway, Num. 16, 44-50. V. 24. Yea, they despised the pleasant land, when they rebelled after the report of the spies had been received, Num. 13 and 14, they believed not His word, Heb. 3, 18, v. 25. but murmured in their tents, Num. 14, 1-4, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord. V. 26. Therefore He lifted up His hand against them to overthrow them in the wilderness, v. 27. to overthrow their seed also among the nations, dispersing them with the effect of destroying their national identity, and to scatter them in the lands, a fate which Moses then averted, but which later struck the northern-tribes. Cp. Deut. 9, 23-26. Another occasion is now cited. V. 28. They joined themselves also unto Baal-peor, Num. 25, in the immoral worship introduced by the Moabites, and ate the sacrifices of the dead, so called because the idols are dead, lifeless nothingnesses, as they are sometimes designated. V. 29. Thus they provoked Him to anger with their inventions, with their idolatrous and immoral doings; and the plague brake in upon them, Num. 25, 8. 9. V. 30. Then stood up Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, and executed judgment, by summarily putting to death two flagrant malefactors; and so the plague was stayed. V. 31. And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations forevermore, Num. 25, 11-13; for his deed was an act of faith and received the reward of faith. Still another event is here listed. V. 32. They angered Him also at the waters of strife, at Meribah and Massa, Num. 20, 3. 13, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes, his disgust causing him to give way to doubt, at least for a moment, v. 33. because they provoked His Spirit, resisting and grieving the Spirit of the Lord, Ps. 78, 17. 40. 56, so that he, Moses, spake unadvisedly with his lips, thereby forfeiting his right to enter the Promised Land, Deut. 1, 37; 3, 26. Israelís disobedience continued even after they had taken possession of Canaan. V. 34. They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them, Deut. 7, 2. 16; Ex. 23, 32-34, v. 35. but were mingled among the heathen, permitting them to live in their midst and in many cases intermarrying with them, and learned their works. Cp. Judg. 1 and 2. V. 36. And they served their idols, the many cases of wholesale idolatry during the time of the judges and later being included here; which were a snare unto them, Ex. 23, 33. V. 37. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, by letting them pass through the fire of Hinnom or actually offering them to Moloch, the abomination of the Moabites, Lev. 17, 7, v. 38. and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood, Num. 35, 33. 34. V. 39. Thus were they defiled with their own works, through the spiritual adultery of their idolatrous practices, Ex. 20, 43, and went a whoring with their own inventions, with the doings dictated by their rejection of the true God. V. 40. Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against His people, whom He had chosen for His own, insomuch that He abhorred His own inheritance, looking upon them with aversion and loathing. V. 41. And He gave them into the hand of the heathen, as stated throughout the Book of Judges and later; and they that hated them ruled over them. V. 42. Their enemies also oppressed them, not only by exacting tribute, but also by sending marauding parties into Canaan whenever it suited their fancy, and the were brought into subjection under their hand, in the great humiliation of being servants to the despised heathen. V. 43. Many times did He deliver them; but they provoked Him with their counsel, being self-willed and rebellious, and were brought low for their iniquity, the same circle of apostasy, servitude, deliverance, and relapse being found time and again during the four hundred years following the conquest of Canaan. V. 44. Nevertheless He regarded their allocation when He heard their cry, the reference here probably being to the time of Samuel and the century following; v. 45. and He remembered for them His covenant, Lev. 26, 41. 42, and repented, turning to them in sympathy, according to the multitude of His mercies, out of free grace and mercy, and not because of any merit or worthiness in them. V. 46. He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives, as in the case of Jehoiachin, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. In firm reliance upon this mercy of Jehovah the psalmist concludes with an appeal and a doxology. V. 47. Save us, O Lord, our God, and gather us from among the heathen, these words apparently pointing to the exile as the probable time when this psalm was written, to give thanks unto Thy holy name and to triumph in Thy praise, their boast being not of themselves, but of the wonderful attributes and works of Jehovah. V. 48. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting, throughout all eternity, and let all the people, especially all believers, all members of the Church of God, say, Amen, in joyful, believing assent. Praise ye the Lord! This hallelujah will be the chief content of the hymns in heaven, the song of the saved. while eternal ages run.