“Remember His Marvelous Works”
By Kyle Pope
Not all people enjoy the study of
history. For some it is an arduous task that is not relevant to our modern day
lives. Others are fascinated by the people, cultures and events that went
before us. While it is not necessary for the child of God to become an expert
in ancient history, the Holy Spirit teaches us in Psalm 105 that an
appreciation of God's marvelous works in the past should lead who would serve
God to certain behavior in the present.
An overview of the
Psalm reveals that the writer starts with ten instructions that recollection of
God’s deeds in the past should lead us to carry out. (We will come back to
these below). The Psalmist then calls the reader’s attention to how God has
honored His covenant with Abraham.
1.) He has protected His
people from their enemies (vss. 13-15).
“He permitted no one to do them wrong; yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes”
(105:14, NKJV). If the context follows a historical order, this may refer to
God’s warning to Abimelech, king of Gerar when he might have harmed Abraham in
order to take Sarah for himself (Genesis 20:3).
2.) God has put His own people
in positions of power (vss. 16-22).
Through the providence of God, when the family of Jacob might have perished in
the famine, God allowed Joseph’s misfortune to become the salvation of the
Israelites (Genesis 50:20).
3.) God allowed Israel to
increase in number (vss. 23-25). “He
increased His people greatly, And made them stronger than their enemies.” (105:24).
Although in a strange land of pagan gods, Israel flourished and grew in number
even after Joseph (Exodus 1:7).
4.) God delivered Israel from
Egyptian oppression (vss. 26-36). Through
the plagues that God brought upon Egypt this mighty nation was forced to
release the very people they had once oppressed. “Egypt was glad when they
departed, For the fear of them had fallen upon them.” (105:38).
5.) God provided for the needs
of His people (vss. 37-41). The Psalmist
recounts God’s miraculous provision for Israel in the wilderness leading them
by cloud and fire (vs. 39), feeding them with quail and manna (vs. 40) and
giving them water from the rock in the midst of a parched wasteland (vs. 41).
The Psalmist ends with a brief
summary of what the result of all this was (vss. 42-44) and why God had done it
The ten admonitions at
the beginning of the Psalm are powerful commands that speak to the one who
would serve God about what God’s deeds in the past should produce in us. These
fall into three categories:
I. Laudatory Instructions. “Oh, give thanks to the LORD!” (105:1a). Gratitude is so
important for children of God. It leads us to view things in perspective and
prevents us from ignoring blessing we have already received. “Sing to Him,
sing psalms to Him” (105:2a). For God’s people music is more than
entertainment, it is a gesture of worship and a vehicle of praise. “Glory in
His holy name” (105:3a). When God’s people witness, through the recounting of
Biblical events, the grandeur of God’s glory, they should themselves “glory” in
the realization that they serve such a glorious God. This can only happen if
His people - “Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and
the judgments of His mouth” (105:5). The child of God should never view
Biblical history as boring or irrelevant, because it reveals to us the very
things which should motivate us to faith and inspire within us a longing for
the promises of God in the future.
II. Exclamatory Instructions.
“Make known His deeds among the peoples!”
(105:1c). The one who truly believes and understands what God has done will be
compelled to declare such things to other people. “Talk of all His wondrous
works!” (105:2). If a follower of the the Lord finds it difficult to talk to
other people about the truth, it may be because they either do not know
themselves as much about what God’s deeds as they should or they don’t fully
believe in His “wondrous works.” The Holy Spirit shows us in this Psalm that a
true understanding of God’s works should create within us an evangelistic zeal
to tell other people about what God has done.
III. Probatory Instructions. The child of God is one who has, and continues to “Call
upon His name” (105:1b). From the time in which Seth, the third son of Adam
had his own son Enosh, human beings have “called” on the name of the Lord
(Genesis 4:26). This is not prayer alone, but directing our trust and
obedience towards the Lord. It is seeking His guidance, His blessings and a willingness
to follow His way within our lives. “Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek
the LORD!” (105:3). Three statements are made about “seeking” God. First,
those who do so should rejoice. It is the purpose and focus of our lives and
all that God has done for us to seek Deity (see Acts 17:26,27). This should
not be a chore, but something about which we rejoice. Second, we should “Seek
the LORD and His strength” (105:4a). The great power of God that is
demonstrated in God’s great deeds in the past should lead His people to seek
for even greater wonders in the age to come. Third, we must “Seek His face
evermore!” (105:4b). While in this life we cannot see the face of the Lord and
live (Exodus 33:20), our hope is that in the age to come we may eternally
behold Him as He is (I John 3:2).
Finally, let’s notice
the last words of the Psalm. All that God had done for Israel had put them in
a position, when the Psalmist wrote, that they could with confidence recognize
that God kept His word (vs. 42). They had been brought out of Egypt (vs. 43)
and given a new land for which they had not worked, but which was “the labor of
the nations” (vs. 44). They should have learned from that to trust the Lord
and be faithful to Him. Sadly, Israel as a whole did not.
Why then had God done
these great deeds? The Psalm ends with an answer to this question: “That they
might observe His statutes and keep His laws. Praise the LORD!” (105:45). God
wants the obedience of His people. This has been true in all ages and it
remains true today. When the Christian looks back at God’s deeds in the past
they should allow the remembrance of God’s “marvelous works” to move them to
greater faith, confidence and obedience to God in the present. After all, in
Christ God has done even more marvelous things for us.