Day 185: July 4, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Psalm 106
1 Hallelujah! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. 2 Who can declare the Lord’s mighty acts or proclaim all the praise due Him? 3 How happy are those who uphold justice, who practice righteousness at all times. 4 Remember me, Lord, when You show favor to Your people. Come to me with Your salvation 5 so that I may enjoy the prosperity of Your chosen ones, rejoice in the joy of Your nation, and boast about Your heritage. 6 Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have done wrong and have acted wickedly. 7 Our fathers in Egypt did not grasp the significance of Your wonderful works or remember Your many acts of faithful love; instead, they rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea. 8 Yet He saved them because of His name, to make His power known. 9 He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; He led them through the depths as through a desert. 10 He saved them from the hand of the adversary; He redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. 11 Water covered their foes; not one of them remained. 12 Then they believed His promises and sang His praise. 13 They soon forgot His works and would not wait for His counsel. 14 They were seized with craving in the wilderness and tested God in the desert. 15 He gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them. 16 In the camp they were envious of Moses and of Aaron, the Lord’s holy one. 17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan; it covered the assembly of Abiram. 18 Fire blazed throughout their assembly; flames consumed the wicked. 19 At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped the cast metal image. 20 They exchanged their glory for the image of a grass-eating ox. 21 They forgot God their Savior, who did great things in Egypt, 22 wonderful works in the land of Ham, awe-inspiring acts at the Red Sea. 23 So He said He would have destroyed them—if Moses His chosen one had not stood before Him in the breach to turn His wrath away from destroying them. 24 They despised the pleasant land and did not believe His promise. 25 They grumbled in their tents and did not listen to the Lord’s voice. 26 So He raised His hand against them with an oath that He would make them fall in the desert 27 and would disperse their descendants among the nations, scattering them throughout the lands. 28 They aligned themselves with Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods. 29 They provoked the Lord with their deeds, and a plague broke out against them. 30 But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was stopped. 31 It was credited to him as righteousness throughout all generations to come. 32 They angered the Lord at the waters of Meribah, and Moses suffered because of them; 33 for they embittered his spirit, and he spoke rashly with his lips. 34 They did not destroy the peoples as the Lord had commanded them 35 but mingled with the nations and adopted their ways. 36 They served their idols, which became a snare to them. 37 They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons. 38 They shed innocent blood—the blood of their sons and daughters whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; so the land became polluted with blood. 39 They defiled themselves by their actions and prostituted themselves by their deeds. 40 Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against His people, and He abhorred His own inheritance. 41 He handed them over to the nations; those who hated them ruled them. 42 Their enemies oppressed them, and they were subdued under their power. 43 He rescued them many times, but they continued to rebel deliberately and were beaten down by their sin. 44 When He heard their cry, He took note of their distress, 45 remembered His covenant with them, and relented according to the riches of His faithful love. 46 He caused them to be pitied before all their captors. 47 Save us, Yahweh our God, and gather us from the nations, so that we may give thanks to Your holy name and rejoice in Your praise. 48 May Yahweh, the God of Israel, be praised from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, “Amen!” Hallelujah!

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Have I Forgotten?
by Chris Blanton, Middle School Minister, Brentwood Campus

How many times have you forgotten?

We have all been there. Whether it was a birthday, an appointment, that vital ingredient from the grocery store, or someone’s name…we all have suffered this very human experience. Even with the ease and reliability of technology today, we still manage to forget.

Psalm 106 is packed with history. It is a flyover of the history of Israel, God’s covenant people. The psalmist sets the tone upfront: there is an immediate call to worship God. Why should we worship God? “For He is good; His faithful love endures forever” (v. 1). Israel knew the goodness of God. The psalmist continues the call to worship by remembering. As we declare the mighty acts of God (v. 2), we recall His faithfulness, His provision, His grace and mercy on us.

Note the change in verse 6. The tone moves from a happy, worshipful attitude to confession. Confession hurts. Confession is heavy. There is something inside us that avoids outright confession. We blame. We deflect responsibility. “Okay – so we may have messed up, but…” There are always extenuating circumstances.

Not so with the psalmist. In verse 6 he owns it. Let us be sure not to mistake the reference to previous generations (“our fathers”) as a passive-aggressive shift of blame. Rather the author recognizes the current generation is just as guilty of a sinful heart as the previous. This begins the launch into history. We read about the wickedness of Israel, who saw the mighty works of God, yet forgot His faithful love and provision.

Those silly Israelites! How could they so quickly forget? There is no way I would ever do that. Right?

But we do. It is our nature to forget.

Recall an extremely significant life experience. Whether joy or pain, no doubt the intensity of that moment has subsided with time. While the effects are most definitely still at work in our life, we have forgotten the strength of that moment.

I think of the births of my children. Those were such strong, redefining moments in my life. But there are times I forget my history. I forget the journey my wife and I traveled trying to get pregnant for almost two years with no success. I forget the faithful love God showed us during those times.

How soon we forget. How quick we are to minimize the heights of love and the depths of grace God has shown us. Yet even in our forgetfulness, He showers us with His faithful love. While we did not see the Red Sea literally dried up as it was in Moses’ day (vs. 9-12; cf. Exodus 14), have we not seen and experienced the might and power of God at work in our own lives, and in the lives and circumstances around us?

Psalm 106:21 painfully admits, “They forgot their Savior…” There have been moments where, I painfully admit, I have forgotten my Savior. I have called into question His faithfulness, His presence in my life. I have forgotten His faithful and enduring goodness.

But thankfully, “He heard their cry. He took note of their distress” and “remembered His covenant with them” (vs. 44-45).

Praxis

So how can Psalm 106 help guide you as you pray today? Here are three ways:

  1. REMEMBER. As you pray, recognize characteristics of who God is and remember how He has proven faithful in the past. In verse 7, Israel did not “remember [God’s] many acts of faithful love.” Make a quick list declaring how you have personally seen and/or experienced God’s faithful love. Take a moment to give thanks to Him for His goodness.
  2. REPENT. Repentance involves confession. Confession is agreeing with God that we have done wrong. Our wrongdoing may be an action, attitude, or thought. Repentance should bring about a change in my heart and life – turning from what is wrong towards what is right in God’s eyes. What actions, attitudes, and/or thoughts do you need to confess to God now? How can you begin to replace these wrongdoings with remembrances of God’s faithful love?
  3. RENEW. The psalmist ends Psalm 106 with a renewed request. Verse 47 voices a prayer for help and restoration. Verse 48 calls God’s people to praise Him. Where do you need God to restore and help you today? As we remember the freedom we enjoy as Americans today, let each follower of Christ thank God for the freedom we have through Jesus.

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.