Ever wonder why we tell kids Bible stories that are… well, let’s face it some of them are horrible stories about things we’d all love to shelter our kids from. Psalm 105 gives a compelling reason why.
PSALMS 105 AND 106 provide us with a paired message based on the history of Israel. Psalm 105 focuses on the faithfulness of God and his miraculous redeeming works. It is a celebration of God’s covenantal promises to the patriarchs, particularly to Abraham, and his powerful intervention in the exodus from Egypt. In Psalm 106 the historical lessons focus on the negative side of things: the forgetfulness and faithlessness of God’s people throughout many generations. [Psa 105 does] not present “history for history’s sake”; rather, these poetic accounts of past deeds are designed to teach important lessons to the psalmist’s generation and to every succeeding community of God’s people. We learn from the account of God’s faithfulness in dealing with his people and from reflecting on the failures of our forebears.
In terms of structure, Psalm 105 breaks down into five broad sections:
1. The call to praise (vv. 1–7);
2. The covenant with Abraham (vv. 8–15);
3. Providence through trial in the Joseph story (vv. 16–22);
4. Moses and the miracle of the exodus (vv. 23–38);
5. Desert provision and the opportunities of the land (vv. 39–41);
6. Theological commentary and conclusion (vv. 42–45).
A remembrance psalm: Psalm 105 looks back over the history of Israel to celebrate how God has protected the Israelites and provided for them from the time of Abraham to the conquest. Remembering former times builds up confidence for the present and hope for the future as they contemplate God’s great acts in the past. Remembrance psalms invite Christians to look to the past in order to see God’s great acts. Of course, we have an even longer history to contemplate and one that climaxes in the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Indeed, as Paul thinks about the crossing of the sea at the time of the exodus and the provision of water from the rock in the wilderness, he points out that ‘these things occurred as examples’ (1 Cor. 10:6). – Tremper Longman