Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Count Your Blessings, Count Your Sins

Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
Psalm 106:47

If you were to list all the ways that you have rejected God's authority in your life, all the ways you have rebelled against Him, been unfaithful to Him, and disobeyed His commands, how long would that list be? In Psalm 106 the psalmist does just this for the people of Israel. He heaps praise on the Lord by noting His goodness to His people in spite of all the ways they forgot Him, tested Him, questioned Him, rejected Him, disobeyed Him, spoke out against Him, angered Him, and took Him for granted. The psalmist testifies that in spite of all the sins God's people have committed against Him, God is still faithful in His love toward them.

Verse 47 is the second to last verse in the psalm and it implies that it was written while in exile in another country. It appears that the psalmist was writing this song of praise to the Lord even as he was experiencing God's judgment for Israel's sin. Repeatedly God allowed surrounding nations to conquer Israel and carry them off captive as a punishment for their sin. Yet when Israel repented and turned back to God, He would shower them with His blessings and faithful love once again. This happened time after time. The psalmist is fully aware of this pattern and boldly asks God to act in keeping with His character again, not because his people deserve it (the psalmist knows they do not deserve forgiveness or rescue) but so that God's name may continue to be praised for His amazingly faithful, wonderful love. At a time when another man might have looked at his situation and blamed or even accused God, the psalmist turns to praise because he knows just how great his sin and the sin of his people is.

I wonder if we do not appreciate God's faithful love toward us as much as we should because we forget just how unfaithful to Him we have been. Take out a sheet of paper and jot down some of the ways that you have been unfaithful to God. Then carefully note all the ways that God has continued to faithfully love you in spite of your imperfection. Take this opportunity to give God praise for His longsuffering goodness in your life.

For further reading:
  • Read all of Psalm 106.
  • Read Daniel's response to exile in Daniel 9.
  • Exodus 34:1-9: Consider the "name" god proclaimed to Moses regarding Himself directly following Israel's sin at Sinai.

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