THE MIGHTY ACTS OF THE LORD
by Wayne S. Walker
“Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? Who can declare all His praise?” (Psalm 106:2). Psalm 106, which begins and ends with “Hallelujah” (or “Praise the LORD!”) is generally given an exilic or post-exilic dating because verses 46 and 47 mention being carried away captive and ask God to gather His people from among the Gentiles. It is basically a confession of the sins of Israel. “We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly” (v. 6). However, it also expresses praise to God for His willingness to forgive. “And for their sake He remembered His covenant, and relented according to the multitude of His mercies” (v. 45).
The unnamed Psalmist remembers how the people rebelled by the Red Sea, yet God saved them (vs. 7-12). He talks about how they forgot His works and lusted in the wilderness, yet God gave them their request for food (vs. 13-15). He recalls how they envied Moses, made the gold calf, and constantly complained, yet God heeded Moses’s plea not to destroy them (vs. 16-23). He tells how they refused to enter the pleasant land and joined themselves to Baal of Peor, yet God raised up Phinehas to stop the plague (vs. 24-31). He reminds us of how they even when they entered the land they did not destroy the peoples but adopted the pagan’s idolatry and God allowed them to be oppressed, yet He still delivered them many times (vs. 32-43).
Are we really any different? “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Even those of us who have heard the gospel message of salvation, obeyed it, were redeemed by Christ’s blood, and are trying to live for the Lord continue to have a problem with temptation and sin (James 1:14-15, 1 John 1:8). Yet, God continues to extend His mercy to us by offering us the chance to obtain forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” As we look back over our lives and the goodness that God has shown to each one of us, we can surely say with the Psalmist, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, ‘Amen!’ Praise the LORD!” (v. 48).