Leviticus 20, Ecclesiastes 3, Psalm 106

Today’s readings are Leviticus 20, Ecclesiastes 3, and Psalm 106.

This devotional is about Psalm 106.

This song asks for God’s help (vv. 4-5) and his re-gathering of the people of Israel from other nations (v. 47) in the context of praising God for his work by reviewing all he had done for Israel. As he recounted how God worked for his people, he noted that the ancient Israelites (v. 7) and his own contemporary Israelites (v. 6) were guilty of forgetting God’s works. Verse 7 put it this way, “they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.” Later in verse 13 we read, “But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.” Also, verse 21 says, “They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt....”

When we forget what God has done for us, we stop trusting him to do anything for us and rebel against his word. Could this be going on in your life? Are you entertaining faithless thoughts about the Lord or even acting outside of his will because you’ve forgotten about all that he has done for you?

Despite our failures to remember God and his works, God is merciful to us. Right after verse 7 said “they did not remember your many kindnesses....” verse 8 followed with, “Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known.” We often faithless, but God is faithful. He desire to work in your life so that you will glorify him and others will see how glorious he is.

So, if you have forgotten God’s work in your life, here’s an opportunity to change your mind (aka, “repent”). Think back over your life of instances where God showed his goodness to you even when you didn’t deserve it. Write it down, even. Then praise the Lord for his faithfulness as the Psalmist did in verses 1 and 48 and ask him to help you wherever you need it (vv. 4-5, 47).

Psalms 105-107

Today, read Psalms 105-107.

These lengthy songs that we read today encourage us to sing and give thanks to God for his goodness and love. They also encourage us to remember God’s acts in the past--both his acts of salvation and his punishments for disobedience. Each of these songs draws from Israel’s history with the Lord and urges us not to forget what God has done.

We are all at risk of forgetting the lessons of the past or of not recognizing their significance for us. When we read in Psalm 106:14, “In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them,” did you think about how God might do something like that in your own life? Is there some craving you have in your heart that you are striving for and might even be asking God for? Have you thought about whether that thing would be honoring to God if you got it? Have you considered that there might be the pricetag of “a wasting disease” (or something like it) attached to that thing? Do you understand that living by faith means trusting God to provide what you need and to protect you from appealing things that might lead to your own destruciton?

Think back over your life for a moment. Can you think of anything you once wanted that would have been a disaster? Maybe a job opportunity that seemed so perfect... at Enron, a company that spectacularly exploded and went out of business. Maybe it is a relationship with someone you could have married but now, looking back, you can see what a disaster that would have been?

Protections like these call for us to thank God for his protecting providence in our lives. They also call us to trust God, especially when we don’t understand so that future “wasting diseases” can be avoided. Give thanks today for what God has provided for you and what he has protected you from. Then remember when you want something else in the present or future that you suspect (or know) will not be healthy for your spiritual life. Can you trust God when faced with the prospect of losing something you love that his holding you back from walking with God?

Deuteronomy 19, Psalm 106, Isaiah 46, Revelation 16

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Deuteronomy 19, Psalm 106, Isaiah 46, Revelation 16. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Psalm 106.

We don’t know much about the background of Psalm 106, but verse 47’s “Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations…” indicates that it was written while God’s people were in exile in Babylon. The songwriter of this Psalm begins by giving thanks and praise to the Lord (vv. 1-2) then calling on the Lord to remember him “ when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them, that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise” (vv. 4-5). He writes as a man who believes the Lord’s promise and anticipates the Lord’s deliverance and wants to be included in this blessing. Starting in verse 6 the songwriter rehearsed Israel’s history and noted how often God saved his people only to have them sin against him again and again. In the middle of these eras of mass unbelief and disobedience there were men who were willing to stand alone and do right. Moses, of course, is remembered for this (v. 23) as is Phinehas (vv. 30-31). Maybe the songwriter sees this Psalm of national confession as his attempt to stand for God like Moses & Phinehas did by appealing to God’s mercy in a time of unbelief and judgement for he ends the song by writing, “Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, ‘Amen!’ Praise the Lord.”

Although God has made no promises to our nation like he did to national Israel, God’s ways tend to transcend historical times and circumstances. Although there is much unbelief and disobedience—even among professing Christians—in our land, maybe God will have mercy on us if we confess our sins and the sins of our nation and are willing to stand between the disobedience around us and the justice of God above us. Are we willing to stand alone (or be a small minority) because we are standing on what is right or will we acquiesce to the culture around us? This is the challenge today’s reading leaves for me. What about you? What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.