Many of the psalms recount historical events. Memory is important in Scripture, especially remembering all that God has done. In fact, God equates unbelief with “forgetting.” Over and over, God exhorts His people to remember what He has done for them. By remembering His kindness to His people, the covenant of love is continually in our minds. This is why God created the holiday of Passover, and why the Israelites created such holidays as Chanukkah and Purim. It is why Christians remember Christmas and Easter. Psalm 106 lists all the good God has done for people, even when they have forsaken and misunderstood Him?
But how can sinful folks praise the glories and virtue of a righteous king they’re always battling with? How can we praise purely when we can’t see purely?
Sometimes one cannot read through psalm 105 without snickering. It tells about God’s goodness to His people Israel, but it definitely skirts some spiritual facts: namely, it shows all that God has done for Israel, from Abraham downwards. But it doesn’t show the sins done by the Israelites.
For instance, Psalm 105 mentions God rebuking kings for his prophet’s sake and saying, “do my anointed no harm.” But it neglects to mention that God’s prophets were dead wrong -- Abraham and Isaac giving their wives to other men. It mentions water coming out of the rock but neglects mentioning that Moses ended up suffering because of that very rock. It mentions God feeding people quail and neglects to mention that the people sinned and that the quail was sent to punish them. It mentions God bringing them through the desert without mentioning that the people wandered about for 40 years because of disobedience.
But then up comes Psalm 106. For the reader of the psalms, it seems as if some extremely truthful legalistic person saw Psalm 105 and decided to set matters straight by listing exactly those sins that Psalm 105 ignored.
Psalm 105 reminds me of the Day of Judgment or of God’s casting our sins forever into the sea of His forgetfulness. The sins of Israel are simply “remembered not.” It looks forward to the day of judgment and to the day when God no longer sees our sin. On that day, we will look on Him without shame because the blood of Jesus will have blotted out our sins.
1Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise?
3Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.
4Remember me, O LORD, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation;
5That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.
6We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.
7Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.
8Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.
9He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.
10And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
11And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.
12Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.
13They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:
14But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.
15And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
16They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD.
17The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan and covered the company of Abiram.
18And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.
19They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.
20Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.
21They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;
22Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.
23Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.
24Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:
25But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.
26Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness:
27To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands.
28They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.
29Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.
30Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed.
31And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.
32They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes:
33Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.
34They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them:
35But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.
36And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.
37Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,
38And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.
39Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.
40Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.
41And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.
42Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.
43Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.
44Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry:
45And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.
46He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.
47Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.
48Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD.