May 10: Psalm 105

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May 10: Psalm 105

Lessons from history—God’s covenant faithfulness

Common meter double 86.86 D             Ellacombe (Hosanna, Loud Hosanna), p. 130
Kingsfold, p. 60

O thank the Lord; on His name call. His deeds tell people all.

O sing to Him, sing psalms to Him, His wonders all recall.

Let hearts that seek the Lord rejoice, His holy name adore.

O seek Jehovah and His strength, His face seek evermore.

Remember all His miracles, the judgments He has done,

O Abrah’m’s children, serving Him all Jacob’s sons, His own.

He only is the Lord our God; His judgments fill the land.

He keeps in mind His covenant that it may always stand.

A thousand ages to endure commanded He His word,

With Abram made a covenant, the promise Isaac heard,

A covenant with Jacob sealed, a law for Is-ra-el:

“I will to you give Canaan’s land, where you as heir may dwell.”

When few in number, scarcely known, they sojourned in the land,

From nation on to nation went, a restless, wand’ring band,

He let none hurt them; for their sakes to kings he gave alarm:

“Touch not My own anointed ones, nor do My prophets harm.”

When He brought famine on the land and broke their staff of bread,

Our Joseph they sold as a slave He had sent on ahead.

His feet they hurt with fetters strong and him in irons did bind;

Till what he prophesied came true, the Lord’s word him refined.

The king, the peoples’ ruler, sent to loose and set him free;

He made him lord of all his house, guard of his wealth to be.

He gave him pow’r to bind at will the princes of the land,

To share his wisdom, and to make his elders understand.

When Is-ra-el to Egypt came, when Jacob journeyed west

To settle in the land of Ham, the Lord his children blessed.

He made them stronger than their foes, whose hearts He filled with hate

That made them hunt His people out, His servants chide and cheat.

Then He His servant Moses sent and Aaron whom He chose.

They miracles in Egypt wrought, His signs among their foes.

He darkness sent, the land made dark, so they His words might try.

He turned their waters into blood and caused their fish to die.

He made their land to swarm with frogs, kings’ chambers filled with them.

He spoke, and swarms of flies and gnats throughout their country came.

He gave them hail instead of rain, flashed lightning through their land;

He smote their fig trees and their vines, slashed trees on ev’ry hand.

He spoke, and countless locusts came, their fruits and leaves devoured.

He killed each firstborn in the land, the first-fruits of their power.

He led His people forth enriched with silver and with gold,

And there was none among His tribes who stumbled, young or old.

How glad was Egypt when they went! It shook with dread of them,

He spread a cloud to cover them; by night it shined like flame.

At their request He brought them quail; He bread from heav’n bestowed.

He split the rock and water gushed; through desert lands it flowed.

His holy promise He recalled, how Abrah’m served Him long.

He led His people forth with joy, His chosen ones with song.

The nations’ lands, the peoples’ toil, He gave them for their own,

That they should keep and heed His law. O praise the Lord alone.

In Israel’s historiography, the unifying theme is God’s governance of events through various interventions, whether by perceived phenomena or by that subtle, secret influence of divine activity that we have come to call God’s providence. One small biblical exercise in the narrative tracing of such history is Psalm 105, the first of three consecutive psalms structured around detailed historical narrative. While their varying constructions show no original relationship joining them, the first two are arranged in the Psalter is such a way as to suggest an overlapping sequence. Thus, Psalm 105 begins with Abraham and ends with the Sinai covenant, while Psalm 106 begins with the Exodus and ends with the period after the Conquest. The narrative of Psalm 105 breaks into three parts: the Patriarchs, the sojourn in Egypt, and the Exodus, all of them joined by the themes of God’s fidelity to His covenant promises and His active providence in fulfilling them. (Reardon, p. 207-208)

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