Address on Psalm 106: Part 1

Psalm 90‑105  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Psalm 106 is the closing psalm of the fourth book of the Psalms. I am speaking to the young folks this afternoon and it is not amiss to call attention to the fact that the Psalms divide themselves into five books. You can readily find these books marked out by the closing verses peculiar to each. Notice the end of this psalm: "Let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD." There is a sort of finality about the closing verses, that mark them unmistakably.
The five books of the Psalms answer no doubt to the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, etc. If that is true, we have before us in this book, Numbers. The Jews used to call the Psalms "the Pentateuch of David."
We have in this psalm a rehearsal of the wanderings of the children of Israel in the wilderness; their failure, their apostasy, and breakdown, and God's sovereignty that came in mercy again and again.
This book begins with that very familiar 90th Psalm which tells of the frailty of the first man. 0 what a frail being man is! He is just like the flower of the field—here today and gone tomorrow. The next Psalm (91st) tells us about the second Man. The more we know about the first man the more we take delight in the second Man. How good it is to learn that. We learn what man is from the Word of God. We also learn what man is from our own bitter experience. It takes a lifetime to learn the wretchedness of the human heart. We should learn it from the Word of God, but as a matter of fact we learn much through bitter personal experience. After we become thoroughly sick, as it were, of the first man, the heart just delights to sit down and contemplate the second Man. There we never find disappointment. There is no one in this world we can afford to know too intimately if we desire to maintain our idealism about him; but when it comes to the blessed Lord, our marvel increases as we sit in His presence—as we contemplate the contrast between Him and ourselves.
We sometimes wonder what we will be doing in that eternity we were speaking about this morning. There is not much doubt that we shall be contemplating Him and discovering new wonders in Him all through those coming ages. Then we shall be free from all hindrances, and all the energies of the Spirit of God can be occupied with revealing Christ to us. We know that we could not exhaust His glories in any manner; there will be so much to learn about Christ.
In this book of the Psalms we have the wilderness journey, the failure and breakdown of the children of Israel; but the same book contains the introduction into this world of the Only Begotten according to the promise of the second Psalm. So that we find after His introduction in the 91st Psalm, we go on to the praise Psalms, 93rd, 94th, 95th, 96th down to what we call "Old Hundred," where we get a sort of summary—consummation—of praise in the establishment of this blessed One in power in this world; and in the 101st and 102nd we retrace His path of humiliation and infamy that made it possible for Him to take that place of pre-eminence and authority in the ages to come. So we descend into the valley in the 102nd Psalm especially, and find out how very far down He came. He came all the way from glory down, down, down to that valley of the shadow of death, to that time when He was "cut off and had nothing." It is very touching, the closing of that 102nd Psalm. We get God's answer to that humiliation and see Him exalted and taken out of the mire and made very high. We get God Himself accosting Him as "the Same"—the One whose years fail not—the One who was, forever and forever.
Then we go to the 103rd, and there again we find what a frail thing a saint is in his pathway through this world; God knows that. He knows what we are. The blessed Lord has been down here; as a man He passed through this scene and He understands the frailties that beset us as we go through the wilderness. That 103rd Psalm gives us the sympathies of the blessed God with us.
In the 104th Psalm we have the magnitude of creation; and the blessed Lord, the One who was down here, is the same One bearing up the canopy of heaven, and He is for us.
In the 105th Psalm we get the marvelous rehearsal of God's ways with Israel in which we see God's side of the picture and find that God had His purposes and counsels for that people, and from His viewpoint; He was leading them on, according to His purposes, to the land of promise and blessing. In that remarkable 105th Psalm He passes, over their failures and tells of His triumphs for them. That is like the 11th of Hebrews. How our souls delight in reading the 11th of Hebrews! What a cheer, help, and encouragement it is; but a tremendous lot of history is omitted there; indeed it is! If we could read the history that is omitted we would have to hang our heads in shame for the failures of those very ones whose triumphs are celebrated in that 11th of Hebrews.
God has been pleased to put the two Psalms together, side by side—the 105th and the 106th—and it is something like looking at a piece of cloth. This side, you say, is the finished side, and the other is the unfinished side. So sometimes when we go to spread a cloth, we say, Be sure to put the nice side up. We might say we get the finished side in the 105th Psalm, and the unfinished in the 106th. God is letting us see in the 106th the shadowy side of Israel's history to magnify His own grace.
Dear young Christians, you perhaps have already had some humiliating experience in your life in which you felt ashamed of yourself. If you haven't had some of those experiences yet, I suppose I would not be considered a prophet of woes if I told you those experiences may sooner or later creep into your life. Would God that you might escape them all, but as we go on down through our history here as individuals, we find God has to teach us through experience what He has already told us in His Word; and the result is, God has to let us reap the fruit of our doings. The reason is that we would not learn it the better way—from the Word.
The nice thing about this 106th Psalm is that it starts out celebrating the goodness of God, and it closes the same way.
Dear young believer, your path down here became a path of blessing when you came to Christ; that was a happy event. Some of the happy experiences we older people have, is to witness the joy that fills the heart of the newly converted soul, especially if that one is converted young in years—to see how all else is lost sight of for the time, and that soul is bubbling over with joy and victory. That is a delightful thing to see. God intends the beginning of that experience shall be one of joy, and He is going to see to it that the end of that journey is joy too. If you are a Christian, you are going to land in heaven. You are a candidate for that company that is going to tread that golden street that we read about in the Word of God; and all the power of the enemy cannot rob you of the promised safe delivery into the glory. You are going to be there. But there is a wilderness journey between—longer for some than others. It is terminating each day for some of God's people; none know who is the next candidate for the end of the journey; that is mercifully kept from us. Some who were with us here a year ago are not here now; they
are absent from the body, present with the Lord.