God of Wonders Part Two: Psalm 105
Last week we opened with Job 37:14 stop and consider God’s wonders.
I encouraged us to do the same, to stop and consider God’s wonders, to think or speculate curiously, to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe, to marvel at God, his work, his world. To pause and to cultivate an intense intellectual interest in God, his work, and his world.
And the goal of these messages is to reclaim the art of wonder in an effort to renew our excitement for God and his works because it seems that there is a general apathy that has developed over the years for such things, a boredom with God and his creation.
I spent the majority of last week discussing some of the causes of boredom in attempt to understand and then reverse the boredom epidemic. Just to recap, I mentioned four causes of boredom:
- Lacking a sense of meaning or purpose. When we don’t see a meaning or purpose behind an activity, when it seems meaningless to us, it is easy to become bored. Thus, we must strive to see all of the seemingly meaningless tasks in life within the framework of our purpose and the meaning of life, namely to know God and make Him known, to love, worship, and enjoy God, to love and serve others.
- A sense of disconnection. If we do not sense a deep connection with the subject or topic at hand, we will find it boring. In order to avoid this paralysis of the soul, the boredom that results from a sense of disconnection, let’s find, reclaim, or maintain the connection that we have with the Creator, with the Savior, and with his people:
- our connection to God the father as his children
- our connection to Jesus the savior, as his redeemed
- our connection to Israel as fellow heirs to the promised Kingdom
- Being passive recipients instead of active participants. If we are actively pursuing a relationship with God during the week, actively praying, actively studying the scriptures, actively worshiping, we will not be merely passive recipients, prone to boredom when…
- A combination of leisure, overstimulation, and the Entertainment Industry. We have developed a callus to the extraordinary due to overstimulation, so we are no longer sensitive to the stimulation. The extraordinary with which we are constantly bombarded has cultivated within us a boredom with the ordinary life and with God.
1 Give praise to YHWH, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
2 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Here, the psalmist declares to praise God, proclaim his name, and make known among the nations what He has done. Context here is OC, when national Israel was God’s chosen people. They were to be God’s image bearers on earth, to display his glory to the world, to be the light of the world; Jerusalem was to be a city on a hill. All of the other nations had their gods and Israel had Yahweh. Part of Israel’s calling was to show the world around them that their God was the true God and one way to do that was by telling of all his wonderful acts.
So he begins with a call to praise, a call to make God known to the world. This is far from meaningless, but falls into the category of purpose for God’s people. To know God and make him known, to worship him. Once again, a sense of meaning and purpose bring about excitement for a task, the antidote for boredom.
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek YHWH rejoice.
4 Look to YHWH and his strength;
seek his face always.
5 Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
6 you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
So now, the psalmist is essentially calling his audience to do the very same thing Elihu said to Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. 5 Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced
7 He is YHWH our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
8 He remembers his covenant forever,
the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
9 the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
11 “To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you will inherit.”
The psalmist is about to bring to their mind God’s wonders, but before he does, he reminds them that these wonders should be considered within the context of God’s covenant faithfulness, reminding them of God’s covenant with Abraham. It may be tempting for you and I to think, what have I to do with Abraham and God’s covenant with him. It would then be easy to disengage at this point and then proceed disconnected.
And remember that one of the causes of boredom is a sense of disconnectedness.
But we are not disconnected from Abraham and his children. We have a profound connection to Abraham.
Rom 9:6-8 6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[b] 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.
Paul is arguing that the true children of Abraham, those who are truly a part of the covenant community are not simply those who descended biologically from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but the children of promise. Now, in Galatians Paul makes his point more explicitly. It’s a lengthy passage, so I’m going to read a few verses. If you want the in depth discussion, grab a Galatians sermon series disc from the welcome table.
Gal 3:7-9 7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
He goes on to say in verse 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
So, we are far from disconnected. We are entirely connected to Abraham, for we are, according to the inspired text, his children, his offspring, his descendants, his seed and heirs according to the promise. And as heirs, we receive the inheritance.
This should remove all temptation to find boredom in the rest of the text and should revitalize and pique our intense intellectual interest as we proceed in the Psalm because he is about to declare the wonders of God on the basis of His covenant faithfulness to Abraham.
Now, if we are Abraham’s descendants by faith, then reading and hearing about Abraham’s descendants should inspire wonder within us because they are our spiritual ancestors.
He goes on:
12 When they were but few in number,
few indeed, and strangers in it,
13 they wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
14 He allowed no one to oppress them;
for their sake he rebuked kings:
15 “Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm.”
16 He called down famine on the land
and destroyed all their supplies of food;
God called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food. Does God dictate every single raindrop and determine the exact weather on every part of the globe at all times for all human history or in some cases does “nature take its course?” I don’t know, but what I do know is that God called down famine here and he announced it before hand. When it comes to considering the wonders of God, we find that he is transcendant. He is beyond us. God of wonders beyond our galaxy. When we really stop and consider all he has done, and in light of that all that he can do, doesn’t that help keep things in perspective? He can send famine on the land we can’t. He can predict and tell us when that famine will come. We have no control and no ability to foretell.
17 and he sent a man before them—
Joseph, sold as a slave.
18 They bruised his feet with shackles,
his neck was put in irons,
19 till what he foretold came to pass,
till the word of YHWH proved him true.
20 The king sent and released him,
the ruler of peoples set him free.
21 He made him master of his household,
ruler over all he possessed,
22 to instruct his princes as he pleased
and teach his elders wisdom.
God had given Joseph the divine ability to understand and interpret dreams. God gave dreams to the ruler of Egypt and God gave Joseph the interpretation of those dreams, God brought about those very things foretold in the dreams, namely the famine on the land, and God brought Joseph to power. Again, this will be far less boring and far more interesting and wonderful if you are hearing the psalmist as an active participant rather than a passive recipient. If you don’t know the story of Joseph, this may all sound very foreign to you and you may be less engaged. If that’s the case, I would encourage you to read Genesis 37 on your own and then come back to Psalm 105.
23 Then Israel entered Egypt;
Jacob resided as a foreigner in the land of Ham.
24 YHWH made his people very fruitful;
he made them too numerous for their foes,
25 whose hearts he turned to hate his people,
to conspire against his servants.
26 He sent Moses his servant,
and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
27 They performed his signs among them,
his wonders in the land of Ham.
Here we are. Now that we have set the context within God’s covenant faithfulness to Abraham, our spiritual ancestor, recalled the reason that Abraham’s descendants are in Egypt, namely Joseph, now we see God raising up his servants Moses and Aaron to deliver them and bring them into the land of their inheritance. But Israel was enslaved by Egypt and the ruler of Egypt was not about to let them go without putting up a fight. So in order to convince Pharaoh, King of Egypt, God, through his servants Moses and Aaron, performed signs and wonders. Now, rather than just breezing through these, let’s really meditate on what’s going on here, let’s stop and consider God’s wonders.
28 He sent darkness and made the land dark—
for had they not rebelled against his words?
No big deal, right? We have seen dark skies before even during the day. But God foretold this and brought it about for a specific purpose – toward the end goal of pouring out wrath on his enemies so they would let his people go.
29 He turned their waters into blood,
causing their fish to die.
Imagine that you get up in the middle of the night and go to your fridge to grab a bottle of Ozarka and they’re all filled with blood. Okay, gross. On to the triple filtered reverse osmosis spout, blood. Gross. Okay, the unthinkable vile tap water. Blood. This was their water source. God turned it to blood. I mean really think about that. That is the God we serve. A God who can do this. Consider God’s wonders.
30 Their land teemed with frogs,
which went up into the bedrooms of their rulers.
31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies,
and gnats throughout their country.
Every tried to mow the lawn or play a baseball game or do anything outside in the summertime and had A gnat buzzing in your ear? Annoying? Imagine swarms. Swarms of frogs, swarms of flies. I mean really think about that. That is the God we serve. A God who can do this. Consider God’s wonders.
32 He turned their rain into hail,
with lightning throughout their land;
33 he struck down their vines and fig trees
and shattered the trees of their country.
34 He spoke, and the locusts came,
grasshoppers without number;
35 they ate up every green thing in their land,
ate up the produce of their soil.
First the water supply, then the food supply. That is the God we serve. A God who can do this. Consider God’s wonders.
But the Egyptians were still hard hearted…at least their ruler was. Imagine. You are an Egyptian. Your ruler has refused to submit to the God of Israel.
Bloody water, frogs, gnats, flies, livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and he still refuses to let the Hebrews go. So God delivered the death blow.
36 Then he struck down all the firstborn in their land,
the firstfruits of all their manhood.
37 He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold,
and from among their tribes no one faltered.
38 Egypt was glad when they left,
because dread of Israel had fallen on them.
Why did the dread of Israel fall on them? Our God displayed his mighty wonders and they had no choice but to consider them and to see the glory and splendor and might of our great God.
39 He spread out a cloud as a covering,
and a fire to give light at night.
40 They asked, and he brought them quail;
he fed them well with the bread of heaven.
41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
it flowed like a river in the desert (Num 20).
Youth, where can we read about this? Again, if you have never explored these texts on your own, then you may very well be receiving this information from the Psalmist as a passive recipient. But he only speaks of it in passing, trusting that his audience knows the stories well, engaged as active participants. My encouragement to you would be to read those stories on your own and then come back to Psalm 105.
42 For he remembered his holy promise
given to his servant Abraham.
43 He brought out his people with rejoicing,
his chosen ones with shouts of joy;
44 he gave them the lands of the nations,
and they fell heir to what others had toiled for—
45 that they might keep his precepts
and observe his laws.
Praise YHWH. HalleluYAH!
That they might keep his precepts. God kept his covenant with Abraham and he did it, he brought them into the land that they didn’t build that they might in response love and obey him. God, likewise, kept his covenant promises to us and we have entered the Heavenly Kingdom that we might keep the royal law of love, doing to others what we would want others to do to us, loving God and loving others.
We are far less likely to be plagued by boredom if we:
- Recognize the true meaning of life and our God-given purpose and live those out in pursuit of knowing, enjoying, praising, and loving God, loving and serving others (as opposed to selfish pursuits)
- Recognize that we have a true deep inner connection with God, His word, and His people
- Operate as active participants instead of passive recipients, searching the Scriptures on our own in order to learn of the mighty acts and wonders of God
- Use the times of leisure that we do have to invest in real relationships with our family and our heavenly family and to consider the wonders of God