Psalm 105: Lessons From God’s Faithfulness to the Nation of Israel

Introduction: At a time when the Jews struggled under Babylonian captivity, the author of Psalm 105 reminded the Jews of God’s faithfulness in redeeming His people from Egyptian captivity. “Psalm 105 celebrates redemption. The meditation on creation in Ps. 104 resolved into hope for resurrection and renewal of the world, and the mediation on the covenant with Abraham and the exodus from Egypt in Ps. 105 implies a new exodus and return from exile.” (James Hamilton on Ps. 105).1 God also wants you to remember His faithfulness when you struggle. In response to His faithfulness, there are several things that He desires from you. These include: (1) glorifying Him, (2) seeking Him, (3) faith, (4) dependence, (5) trust, (6) hope, and (7) grateful obedience.

First, the psalmist began by urging the Jews to sing God’s praises and glorify Him. Because He is faithful, you should glorify Him and share your praises with others. Second, to find strength during their captivity, the psalmist called upon the Jews to continually seek after God. To find the strength to endure your trials, God also wants you to continually seek Him with all your heart and soul. Third, at a time when many Jews most likely believed that God had abandoned them, the psalmist urged the Jews to remember how God miraculously freed them from Egyptian captivity. God also wants you to respond to God's faithfulness by having faith in Him. Fourth, the psalmist reminded the Jews how God protected His people from their enemies. Because He is faithful, you can also depend on Him. Fifth, the psalmist reminded the Jews how God used Joseph’s suffering to save his people. Even when you cannot understand the reason for your suffering, God wants you to respond to His faithfulness by trusting Him. Sixth, the psalmist reminded the Jews how God used the plagues to free the Jews when they had no hope of obtaining their freedom on their own. When you face a trial, God also wants you to place your hope in Him for your deliverance. Finally, the psalmist stated that God did these things so that His people might obey Him. You can also express your gratitude to God with your obedience.

1. Glorify God: Respond to God Faithfulness by Glorifying Him. Ps. 105:1-3.

  • In everything you do, give God the praise and glory He deserves. To encourage the broken hearted Jews in Babylonian captivity, the psalmist urged the Jews to take their eyes off of themselves and instead joyfully sing God’s praises to their pagan captors: “1 Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make His deeds known among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wonders. Boast in His holy name; may the heart of those who seek the Lord be joyful.” (Ps. 105:1-3). “The duties to which we are here called, and they are many, but the tendency of them all is to give unto God the glory due unto his name. We must give thanks to Him, as one who has always been our bountiful benefactor and requires only that we give him thanks for his favours—poor returns for rich receivings.” (Matthew Henry on Ps. 105) (italics in original).2

  • Glorify God by praising His faithfulness with others. The psalmist urged the Jews to focus on God’s faithfulness throughout history instead of dwelling on their sorrow: “1 Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make His deeds known among the peoples.” (Ps. 105:1). This quoted David’s song of thanksgiving when God allowed him to bring the ark to Jerusalem: “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; make His deeds known among the peoples.” (1 Chr. 16:8). God also wants you to show your gratitude and glorify Him by sharing with others how He has been faithful to you.

Psalm 105:1 | Psalm 105, Psalms, Praise

Share your testimony of God’s faithfulness with others3

  • Let your words and deeds bring glory to Jesus, not yourself. The psalmist also urged believers to “Boast in His holy name;” (Ps. 105:3). Whatever you do, it should be done to give glory to God, not yourself: “Whoever speaks is to do so as one who is speaking actual words of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Pet. 4:11). “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31). “Therefore when he had left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him;” (Jo. 13:31). “And whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (Jo. 14:13). When you succeed or others praise you, do you give the glory where it belongs?

2. Seeking God: Continually Seek God and Find Strength in Him. Ps. 105:4.

  • To find the strength to persevere, continually seek after God. To encourage the Jews to find the strength to endure their suffering in captivity, the psalmist encouraged the Jews to continually seek after God’s will through prayer: “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually.” (Ps. 105:4). Including verse three, the word “seek” appears three times: “Seek, seek, seek, we have the word three times, and though the words differ in the Hebrew, the sense is the same. It must be a blessed thing to seek, or we should not be thus stirred up to do so.” (Charles Spurgeon on Ps. 105) (italics in original).4

  • Seek God with all your heart and soul. As our example, David declared: “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘I shall seek Your face, LORD.”’ (Ps. 27:8). If you search after God with all your heart and soul, you will find Him: “And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13). Jesus also promises that if you seek after Him, you will find Him: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8). Are you continually searching after Jesus with all your heart and soul?

  • Seek God to strengthen you for His glory. When you seek after God and seek to do His will, He will give you the strength to succeed: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” (Eph. 6:10). “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13). “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 2:1). “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth.” (2 Tim. 4:17). “But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the LORD of armies.” (Hag. 2:4). If you are struggling with depression, fear or anxiety, turn to Jesus and let Him strengthen and encourage you.

psalm-105-4 – Lutheran Church of the Risen Savior

Humble yourself before God and find strength in Him5

  • Seek God’s will with patience for God to be glorified in His timing. Many Jews mostly likely expected God to immediately rescue them from captivity. But they need to be patient for God to act in His perfect timing. God also wants you to be patient and trust in His perfect timing as you seek His will: “Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed; those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.” (Ps. 25:3). “Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD.” (Ps. 27:14). “Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD.” (Ps. 31:24). “For the music director. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and He reached down to me and heard my cry.” (Ps. 40:11). Even if you struggle for years with an illness or some other form of suffering, will you trust in God’s timing?

  • Seek God’s will, and He will fulfill your desires. Even if you are suffering, God promises to fulfill your desires if you desire for His will to be fulfilled in your life: “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps. 37:4). “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your comfort delights my soul.” (Ps. 94:19). Are you content to merely ask for God’s will to be done in your life?

3. Faith: Respond to God Faithfulness by Having Faith in Him. Ps. 105:5-12.

  • Remember God’s faithfulness to boost your faith in Him. To encourage the Jews who most likely believed that God had abandoned them, the psalmist encouraged the Jews to remember and share God’s faithfulness in delivering them from Egyptian captivity: “Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments spoken by His mouth, you descendants of Abraham, His servant, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He has remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac. 10 Then He confirmed it to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, 11 saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion of your inheritance,’ 12 when they were only a few people in number, very few, and strangers in it.” (Ps. 105:5-12). Faith comes from hearing God’s Word. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Ro. 10:17). By retelling the miracle of God’s deliverance from Egyptian captivity, the psalmist was helping the Jews to have faith that God would again be faithful to them.

  • Glorify God by making His faithfulness known to others. The psalmist urged the Jews to “make His deeds known among the peoples . . . Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments spoken by His mouth,” (Ps. 105:3, 5). The rest of this psalm retells God’s faithfulness in redeeming His people from Egyptian captivity. Thus, this is the story that the Jews were most likely urged to share: “you are not to be afraid of them; you shall remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt:” (Dt. 7:18). “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses, chariots, and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.” (Dt. 20:1). God has been faithful in your life. Are you remembering and sharing His faithfulness with others?

  • Have faith in God to be faithful to His covenant peoples. The psalmist celebrated God’s faithfulness to keep His covenant with the descendants of Abraham: “you descendants of Abraham, His servant, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones!” (Ps. 105:6). In David’s song of thanksgiving, he also called the Jews God’s “chosen ones.” “You descendants of Israel His servant, Sons of Jacob, His chosen ones!” (1 Chr. 16:13). “For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel as His own possession.” (Ps. 135:4). When you walk with God as one of His chosen ones, the enemy cannot defeat God’s plans for you: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Ro. 8:31).

  • Jesus came to fulfill His covenant with Abraham and make it available to everyone. The psalmist also proclaimed that: “He has remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac. 10 Then He confirmed it to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant,” (Ps. 105:8-10). The father of John the Baptist, Zacharias, restated this promise and then revealed that the Messiah would soon come to fulfill it to again deliver His chosen peoples: “To show mercy to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, would serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.” (Lk. 1:72-75). If you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you become an heir to God’s covenant: “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” (Gal. 3:29). As one of His chosen heirs to the covenant, He will also be faithful to deliver you.

  • Jesus promises you an eternal inheritance. The psalmist quoted God’s promise ‘“To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion of your inheritance,when they were only a few people in number, very few, and strangers in it.” (Ps. 105:11-12). This quoted God’s repeated promises to grant both Abraham and his descendants the Promised Land (Gen. 12:7; 13:15-17; 15:18; 17:8; 24:7; Nu. 34:2; Josh. 23:4; Ps. 78:55; Acts 7:5). Jesus came to both fulfill and expand upon this promise to offer all believers an eternal inheritance: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Pet. 1:3-5). All that is required to receive this eternal promise is to have faith in Him as Lord and Savior.

4. Dependence: Because His is Faithful, You Can Depend on Him. Ps. 105:13-15.

  • God was faithful to protect His chosen people. Wherever the patriarchs wandered to, God was faithful to protect them from harm: “13 And they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, 14 He allowed no one to oppress them, and He rebuked kings for their sakes, saying, 15 ‘Do not touch My anointed ones, and do not harm My prophets.’” (Ps. 105:13-15). “Abraham ‘went from’ Ur of the Chaldees to Haran of the Syrians, from Haran to Canaan, from Canaan to Philistia, and once as far as Egypt [Gen. 11:31-12:20]. Isaac and Jacob were also wanderers, though not to the same extent.” [e.g., Gen. 26:1-6; 29:1; 46:5-7] (Pulpit Commentary on Ps. 105:13).6

  • Even powerful kings were no match for God’s protected patriarchs. To encourage the Jews in captivity, the psalmist reminded them that God protected the patriarchs as lowly wonderers when they appeared before foreign kings. Even when Abraham lied and called Sara his sister instead of his wife, God prevented Pharaoh from taking her: “But the LORD struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.” (Gen. 12:17). Abraham then lied a second time and called his wife his sister to Abimelech. “But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, ‘Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.”’ (Gen. 20:3). When Isaac followed his father’s example and falsely called Rebekah his sister, God again protected them: “When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, ‘my wife,’ thinking, ‘the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, since she is beautiful.”’ (Gen. 26:7). God also protected Jacob from Laban: “However, God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night and said to him, ‘Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad.”’ (Gen. 31:24). Even when Jacob’s sons murdered the people of Shechem, God was again faithful to protect His wayward chosen people: “As they journeyed, there was a great terror upon the cities which were around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.” (Gen. 33:5). God further protected His people in Egypt. He allowed them to multiply in number to become a nation (Ex. 1:8).

  • Depend upon God when you face a trial. God saved the patriarchs from their own poor choices to teach them a lesson. They could only survive by depending upon God. God also wants you to depend upon Him and trust Him. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5). “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Ps. 37:5). “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Ps. 62:8). When you face a trial, don’t rely upon yourself. Instead, you should depend upon God.

5. Trust: Respond to God Faithfulness by Trusting Him. Ps. 105:16-22.

  • Even when your situation feels dire, you can trust that God is in control. To encourage the Jews, the psalmist also reminded them how God used Joseph’s suffering for their redemption: “16 And He called for a famine upon the land; He broke the whole staff of bread. 17 He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 18 They forced his feet into shackles, He was put in irons; 19 until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord refined him. 20 The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples, and set him free. 21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler over all his possessions, 22 to imprison his high officials at will, that he might teach his elders wisdom.” (Ps. 105:16-22). “Psalm 105 does cover the sending of Joseph into Egypt to be raised to power and deliver his people, a theme that would also provide hope for the exiles. In this and in several other ways Psalm 105 would have been instructive for the people of Israel, no matter how difficult their situation was.” (Allen Ross on Ps. 105).7 Here, “Joseph was brought low, but in God’s timing he was lifted up.” (Pulpit Commentary on Ps. 105).8

  • God used Joseph’s suffering for the Jews’ greater good. God used Joseph to foretell that a seven-year drought would encompass the middle east (Gen. 41:30, 54). God placed Joseph in a position of power where he could convince Pharaoh to save up grain to save all the peoples and bring the Jews to Egypt where they could grow into a nation. But to be placed into this position, Joseph had to be first sold into Egyptian slavery (Ps. 105:17; Gen. 37:28, 36; 39:1). “The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him,” (Acts 7:9). While being a slave, Joseph was then falsely accused of a crime. He was placed in prison where he suffered in chains (Ps. 105:18; Gen. 39:20; 40:15). But God used this time of suffering to refine Joseph to become a servant leader (Ps. 105:19). God was also with him during his suffering: “But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the warden of the prison.” (Gen. 39:21). God placed him in this position so that he could interpret dreams and later become the second most powerful person in Egypt to protect his people (Ps. 105:20-22). “You shall be in charge of my house, and all my people shall be obedient to you; only regarding the throne will I be greater than you.” Pharaoh also said to Joseph, ‘See, I have placed you over all the land of Egypt.”’ (Gen. 41:40-41; Acts 7:10). Thus, God showed the Jews that He was in control. He was also in control when the Jews were in Babylonian captivity. They just needed to trust Him.

  • Trust God to allow Him to refine you as well. The psalmist stressed that God used this time of suffering to “refine” Joseph (Ps. 105:19). If you let Him, God can also use your suffering to refine you for His use: “For You have put us to the test, God; You have refined us as silver is refined.” (Ps. 66:10). “But He knows the way I take; when He has put me to the test, I will come out as gold.” (Job 23:10). “so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” (1 Pet. 1:7). When you trust Him and let Him refine you, He will turn your suffering into His greater good: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Ro. 8:28).

6. Hope: In Response to His Faithfulness, Make Him Your Hope. Ps. 105:23-38.

  • Place your hope in God’s omnipotent power to deliver you. To encourage the Jews not to give up hope in the face of the mighty Babylonian army and their claims to have the most powerful gods, the psalmist reminded the Jews of God’s power over the Egyptian idols: “23 Israel also came into Egypt; so Jacob lived in the land of Ham. 24 And He made His people very fruitful, and made them stronger than their enemies. 25 He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal cunningly with His servants. 26 He sent His servant Moses, and Aaron, whom He had chosen. 27 They performed His wondrous acts among them, and miracles in the land of Ham. 28 He sent darkness and made it dark; and they did not rebel against His words. 29 He turned their waters into blood, and caused their fish to die. 30 Their land swarmed with frogs even in the chambers of their kings. 31 He spoke, and a swarm of flies and gnats invaded all their territory. 32 He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land. 33 He also struck their vines and their fig trees, and smashed the trees of their territory. 34 He spoke, and locusts came, and creeping locusts, beyond number, 35 and they ate all the vegetation in their land, and ate the fruit of their ground. 36 He also fatally struck all the firstborn in their land, the first fruits of all their vigor. 37 Then He brought the Israelites out with silver and gold, and among His tribes there was not one who stumbled. 38 Egypt was glad when they departed, for the dread of them had fallen upon the Egyptians.” (Ps. 105:23-38). God first turned the Jews into a great nation while in Egyptian captivity. “But the sons of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly, and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty, so that the land was filled with them.” (Ex. 1:7). He then used His mighty power to free them from: “The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it.” (Acts 13:17).

  • God hardened Pharaoh’s heart to demonstrate His power. While the Jews lived in Egypt, a new Pharaoh feared the Jews because they had become so numerous (Ex. 1:8-10). To demonstrate His power, God told Moses that He would first harden Pharaoh’s heart so that all could see the false power of the Egyptian idols (Ps. 105:25). “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘When you go back to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”’ (Ex. 4:21). “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 7:3). Because God is all powerful, He can harden or soften a person’s heart to fulfill His greater plans: “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” (Ro. 9:18). This means that you can and should be praying for God to soften the hearts of those who reject Him.

  • God can use the ordinary to do the extraordinary. God let Moses spend 40 years in the wilderness as a lowly shepherd before He selected him to deliver His people (Ps. 105:26). “And now come, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Ex. 3:10). God gave Moses wisdom (Ex. 3:10). But Moses offered excuses and claimed that he was not a gifted speaker (Ex. 4:10-12). God responded to Moses’ excuses by letting Aaron speak for him (Ex. 4:13-17). God used this humbled man to perform great miracles. The Jews in Babylonian captivity mostly likely felt chastened and lowly. But God would soon use these ordinary people for His greater plans of redemption (Ro. 8:28). If you feel ordinary, God can also use you.

  • God is sovereign. The plagues also showed God’s power. They further exposed the Egyptian gods to be powerless idols: “· When God sent darkness, He showed Himself greater than Ra (the sun God) and Nut (the sky goddess). · When God turned their waters into blood, He showed Himself greater than Osiris (god of the Nile) and Khnum (the guardian of the Nile). · When God made their land abound with frogs, He showed Himself greater than the goddess Hekt (the frog-goddess of fertility). · When God sent swarms of flies and lice, He showed Himself greater than the fly-god Uatchit. · When God sent hail for rain, He showed Himself greater than Geb, the god of the earth; Nepri, the goddess of grain; and Anuibis, the guardian of the fields. · When God sent locusts without number, He showed Himself greater than Shu, the god of the atmosphere, and Min, the deity of the harvest. David listed eight of the ten plagues described in Exodus 7-12, but not in the same order as in the Exodus account. Psalm 78 also has a partial listing of the plagues. The final and greatest plague against the Egyptians was the terrible death of the firstborn in every household which was not protected by the blood of the Passover lamb.” (David Guzik on Ps. 105) (emphasis in original).9

  • God won’t act when the glory will go to others. Even after God empowered Moses, God then allowed Pharaoh to mock both Yahweh and Moses. God then allowed Pharaoh to retaliate against the Jews by forcing them to meet their daily quota of bricks, but without the use of straw (Ex. 5:4-19). God waited before acting to make sure that He received the glory. If God had forced Pharaoh to free the Jews earlier, Moses might have received the glory: “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.” (Is. 42:8). Most believers are tempted to accept the glory that others give them when they are successful. As our example, the Apostle Paul always gave praise to Jesus regardless of the circumstances (e.g., 1 Thess. 1:2; 2:13; 3:9; 2 Thess. 1:3; Ro. 1:8). If God has allowed you to struggle before answering your prayers, He might be trying to teach you to be patient, to trust Him, and to give Him the glory.

  • God will never leave you or forsake you. For the Jews experiencing Pharaoh’s wrath, some might have felt as if God had abandoned them. Likewise, for the Jews in Babylonian captivity, it may have also felt as if God had abandoned them. But He did not abandon His people. He will also never leave or forsake you (Heb. 13:5; Dt. 31:6). He is faithful to not forget His promises or leave His people in bondage: “For the LORD will vindicate His people, and will have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their strength is gone, and there is none remaining, bond or free.” (Dt. 32:36). ‘“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,’ declares the LORD.” (Jer. 1:8). “But the LORD is with me like a dread champion; therefore my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will be utterly ashamed, because they have failed, with an everlasting disgrace that will not be forgotten.” (Jer. 20:11). If you have fallen into bondage, He wants you to turn to Him. He wants you to put your hope and faith in Him to deliver you.

  • Place your hope in God’s plans for you. Even your darkest trials, you can trust in God’s greater plans for you: “11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11). “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and reliable and one which enters within the veil,” (Heb. 6:19). During your trials, do you place your hope in Jesus?

7. Obedience: Show Your Gratitude to God With Obedience. Ps. 105:39-45.

  • Because God is faithful, let obedience be the fruit of your faith. The psalmist concluded by reminding the Jews of God’s faithfulness in guiding and protecting them in the wilderness. In response, God wanted the Jews to show their appreciation through their obedience: “39 He spread out a cloud as a covering, and fire to illumine by night. 40 They asked, and He brought quail, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. 41 He opened the rock and water flowed out; it ran in the dry places like a river. 42 For He remembered His holy word with His servant Abraham; 43 and He led out His people with joy, His chosen ones with a joyful shout. 44 He also gave them the lands of the nations, so that they might take possession of the fruit of the peoples’ labor, 45 and that they might keep His statutes and comply with His laws; praise the Lord!” (Ps. 105:39-45). “The message of this psalm is clear: Recalling the miraculous works of the LORD throughout the history of the faith will inspire greater confidence in the LORD’s covenant promises and greater praise for His faithful love.” (Allen Ross on Ps. 105).10

  • God’s pillar of light in the wilderness. The Jews never needed to wonder which path to take as they traveled through the wilderness. God was faithful to guided them through the wilderness with a pillar of light that glowed both day and night: “21 The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” (Ex. 13:21-22; 40:38; Neh. 9:12; Ps. 78:14; 105:39). This foreshadowed the role of both God’s Word and the Holy Spirit in guiding believers. They can also guide you.

  • Let God’s Word and His Spirit guide you. Today, God has left each believer with His Word to guide you and protect you: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105). Before Jesus left, He also promised that He would leave us with “a helper” – the Holy Spirit – to teach us His will (John 14:26). But we cannot see Him directly. We instead need to trust God and know that He is there. Jesus explained that many see without seeing and hear without hearing (Matt. 13:13; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10). The Holy Spirit guides using God’s Word: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26). Yet, in order for the Spirit to bring you into “remembrance of all that [Christ] said to you”, you need to first study and know God’s Word. Have you given the Holy Spirit many verses to help you remember? If you know only a few verses, there is little He can use for your remembrance during a crisis.

God led His people through the wilderness11

  • God is also faithful to provide. The psalmist also reminded the Jews that God was faithful to graciously provide both manna and quail after the Jews complained: “40 They asked, and He brought quail, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.” (Ps. 105:40; Ex. 16:4,12-15; Nu. 11:31; Jo. 6:31). This foreshadowed the bread of life that Jesus offers: “This is the bread that came down out of heaven, not as the fathers ate and died; the one who eats this bread will live forever.” (Jo. 6:58). God was also faithful to provide life-giving water while the Jews wandered through the deserts: “41 He opened the rock and water flowed out; it ran in the dry places like a river.” (Ps. 105:41; Ex. 17:6; Nu. 20:11). This also foreshadowed Jesus: “and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.” (1 Cor. 10:4). The psalmist restated God’s provision without reminding the Jews of their many rebellions in the wilderness. God was and is filled with mercy and grace.

  • God’s faithfulness also brought His people great joy. The psalmist reminded the Jews that they did not need to suffer while they waited for God to deliver them. While the Jews wandered in the wilderness, those who trusted in God and were thankful for His faithfulness found great joy: “42 For He remembered His holy word with His servant Abraham; 43 and He led out His people with joy, His chosen ones with a joyful shout.” (Ps. 105:42-43). For example, after God crushed Pharaoh’s army in the sea, Moses led the congregation in joyful praise: “Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying: ‘I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; the horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.”’ (Ex. 15:1; Ps. 66:6). God does not offer you a life without stress or trials. But He does offer you peace and joy in the midst of your trials: “For you will go out with joy and be led in peace; the mountains and the hills will break into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Is. 55:12). “These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (Jo. 16:33). “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7). If you are depressed, turn to Jesus to find His joy.

  • In response to God’s faithfulness, let obedience and praise be the fruit of your faith. The psalmist reminded the Jews that they found themselves in captivity because they squandered their God given inheritance with rebellion. In response to God’s faithfulness in delivering His people and giving them the Promised Land, they owed God obedience and praise: “44 He also gave them the lands of the nations, so that they might take possession of the fruit of the peoples’ labor, 45 and that they might keep His statutes and comply with His laws; praise the Lord!” (Ps. 105:44-45). Before they entered the Promised Land, Moses encouraged the Jews that their obedience would place them under God’s protection and allow them to prosper: “Now, Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to perform, so that you will live and go in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you . . . So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am giving you today, so that it may go well for you and for your children after you, and that you may live long on the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time.” (Dt. 4:1, 40). “If only they had such a heart in them, to fear Me and keep all My commandments always, so that it would go well with them and with their sons forever! . . . You shall walk entirely in the way which the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and that it may be well for you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess.” (Dt. 5:29, 33). It was only because they rebelled that God disciplined them.

Psalm 105:45 that they might keep His statutes and obey His laws. Hallelujah!

Show your gratitude for God’s faithfulness with your obedience and praise12

  • Worship Jesus by obeying His commandments out of love and not obligation. Jesus says that if you love Him, you will keep His “Commandments”:  “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  (Jo. 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1 Jo. 5:3; 2 Jo. 1:6).  “[I]f you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”  (Matt. 19:17).  He is the great “I AM” who gave Moses the Ten Commandments  (Jo. 8:58; Ex. 3:14).  But Jesus came to correct people’s motives in following the Ten Commandments.  He wants your obedience to be motivated by love and not obligation.  He therefore summarized the Ten Commandments as something that comes naturally once a person loves the Lord and his or her neighbor (Matt. 22:35-38; Lk. 10:27; Dt. 6:5).  Moses taught us to live obediently as it is written. Jesus taught us to love obediently as it is written.  Whether we keep the Commandments out of love (and not obligation) is also the test regarding whether we really “know” Jesus:  “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1 Jo. 2:3).  Some will come to Jesus boasting of their works or compliance with the Law.  But if their works or their compliance with the Law was not motivated by a love for Him, He may respond “I never knew you.”  (Matt. 7:23).  If you obey the Law for the right reasons, you become a slave to righteousness.  If you do not obey the Law, you become a slave to sin (Ro. 6:12, 16; Jo. 8:34). Is your gratitude for God’s faithfulness evidence for others to see through your praise and obedience?

  1. James M. Hamilton Jr., Evangelical Bible Theology Commentary Psalms (Vol. II: Psalms 73-150) (Lexham Academic 2021) p. 241.↩︎

  2. Allen Ross, A Commentary of the Psalms: Volume 3 (90-150), Kregel Academic (2016) p. 261.↩︎

  3. Ross, A Commentary of the Psalms: Volume 3 (90-150), Kregel Academic (2016) p. 272 (italics in original).↩︎