In sharp contrast to Psalm 105, that recounts the history of God's faithfulness to Israel, Psalm 106 recounts the history of Israel's faithlessness and ungratefulness.
There are nine serious offenses on the part of the nation of Israel in this psalm that span in time from the Exodus to the Babylonian Captivity. See if you can identify them now that you have almost finished reading the Old Testament! The things mentioned should be very familiar to you by now.
Warning: they are not in chronological order! I will answer this question in the REFLECTION section, but see how many you remember before reading it! It will be fun.
While we do not know the date of this Psalm, 106:44-47 sounds like it might be related to the opposition from foreigners during the rebuilding of the temple. The confession in this Psalms is also strikingly similar to Nehemiah 9.
Psalm 106 praises God for His goodness and asks Him for deliverance from captivity and enemies. It is meant to extol God for HIS mercy and long-suffering despite Israel's faithlessness.
"The Lord took Israel out of Egypt in one night,
but it took Him forty years to take Egypt out of Israel."
Here are the nine offenses of Israel; most of them were in the 40 years of wilderness wandering:
- Fear and unbelief at Red Sea (106:7-12) - Exodus 14:10-31
- Whining about meat, food, and water (13-15) - Exodus 11:4-15; 15:22-27; 16
- Korah's rebellion (106:16-18) - Numbers 16-17
- Worship of the golden calf (106:19-23) - Exodus 32; Deuteronomy 9:8-29
- Fear of entering the land because of spies' report (106:24-27) - Numbers 13-14
- Participating in pagan feast at Baal Peor (106:28-31) - Numbers 22-25
- Moses striking rock at Meribah (106:32-33) - Numbers 20:1-13
- Idolatry in Canaan (106:34-39) - Judges 2:7-23
- Continued disobedience after chastening (106:40-43) - Leviticus 26:27-39; Deuteronomy 28:48-68
It is easy to condemn Israel for their sinfulness that stems from their lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). But who is to say we would not have done the same thing?
I see the sins in their behavior just as prevalent in my life, but mine just take on a more subtle and sophisticated form:
- Fear and unbelief
- Whining and ungratefulness over God's provision, protection, and plan
- Rebellion against authority
- Modern day idols (read the article, "The Progression of an Idol," for more on this subject)
- Participating in worldly pursuits (think TV, movies, media, etc.)
- Disobeying God's expressed will and plan
Think about your own life. I think fear and unbelief are the major ones for most of us. So here is a good question for you:
How much of what you do is based on fear rather than faith?
Lord, You are faithful, despite our faithlessness. Help us to make You the center of everything we do. We ask this by the power of Your Spirit and in the name of Jesus. Amen.