When A Nation Repents
Verse 1 – Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Verse 2 – Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Or can deliver all His praise?
This psalm shows God’s faithfulness in spite of man’s sinfulness. It covers events from the exodus from Egypt up to what appears to be the Babylonian captivity.
Verse 3 – Blessed are those who keep justice, and who does righteousness at all times!
Verse 4 – Remember me, O Lord, with the favor You have toward Your people; Oh, visit me with Your salvation,
Verse 5 – That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, that I may glory with Your inheritance.
Verse 6 – We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.
Verse 7 – Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; they did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, but rebelled by the sea – Red Sea.
After the Israelites depart Egypt and got to the Red Sea, they complain to Moses. Keep in mind they saw all the plagues that came on the Egyptians, but God kept them safe.
They’ve come to the Red Sea, a mountain on one side and Egyptians chasing them down. There is nowhere to go but again they forget that God is their deliver.
They told Moses, “It would have been better for us to die as slaves in Egypt than to die in the wilderness.”
Talk about being ungrateful. How many times in our own life does God have to prove, “He is God All Mighty,” before we trust Him?
Verse 8 – Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake, that He might make His mighty power known.
Verse 9 – He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it dried up; so He led them through the depths, and through the wilderness.
Verse 10 – He saved them from the hand of him who hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
Verse 11 – The waters covered their enemies; there was not one of them left.
Verse 12 – Then they believed His words; they sang His praise.
Verse 13 – They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel,
Verse 14 – But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert.
Numbers 11:4 – Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat?”
Here’s what I always wondered about, when reading this: They came out of Egypt with cattle, goats, and sheep, so their meat was right in front of them, but instead decided to complain.
Have you ever known someone who stayed faithful in praying for something they wanted, got it, and then complained about the very thing they got? I’ve seen this! It doesn’t end well.
Verse 15 – And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.
Verse 16 – When they envied Moses in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the Lord,
Verse 17 – The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan, and covered the faction of Abiram.
Verse 18 – A fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.
In Numbers, chapter 16, about 250 leaders rose up against Moses and Aaron. They wanted to know why Moses and Aaron exalted themselves above all the congregation. Jealousy is an evil spirit. It develops into envy and then goes on to hatred.
When Moses went for Dathan and Abiram to come to him, they refused to come. So Moses ordered all the others to not go near them because if God had chosen Moses and Aaron as their spiritual leaders, the earth would open up and swallow them all their household and all the men who stood with them because of rebellion. Then the 250 men who thought they could offer incense before the Lord, were consumed with fire. Ten thousand died that day.
Verse 19 – They made a calf in Horeb, and worshiped the molded image.
Verse 20 – Thus they changed their glory into the image of an ox that eats grass (Deuteronomy 11 and Romans 1:23).
This golden image was made when the people thought Moses had been gone too long up on Mt Sinai, and wasn’t coming back.
What do we do when we think God has taken too long to answer us? We may not build a golden calf, but we sure start meddling with trying to fix it ourselves: Then we can really “go-mm it up!”
Verse 21 – They forgot God their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt,
Verse 22 – Wondrous works in the land of Ham (Egypt), awesome things by the Red Sea.
Verse 23 – Therefore He said that He would destroy them had not Moses His chosen one stood before Him in the breach, to turn away His wrath, lest He destroy them.
Moses had to be their intercessor after they had built the golden calf and began to worship it. We as Christians are supposed to be an intercessor. Standing before the Lord on someones behalf is a tremendous help in determining how things will turn out.
Verse 24 – Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His word,
Verse 25 – But murmured in their tents and did not heed the voice of the Lord.
Verse 26 – Therefore He lifted up His hand in an oath against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness,
Verse 27 – To overthrow their descendants among the nations, and scatter them in the lands.
This murmuring took place after Moses had sent spies into the promise land, and only two, Caleb and Joshua, said they could take the land. The other eight chickened out because there were giants in the land.
So, those 8 went back to their tents and began to murmur against Moses and Aaron, and God heard it.
So Moses pleaded with God not to wipe them out. Instead God said all those 20 years of age and up will die in the wilderness and not see the promise land, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua.
Let me point out something I’ve said many times: This entire generation did not receive the promise land because they didn’t believe God’s word when He said it was theirs. You have to believe what God says in order to receive it. That hasn’t changed!
Verse 28 – They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices made to the dead.
Verse 29 – Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds, and the plague broke out among them.
Verse 30 – Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, and so the plague was stopped.
Verse 31 – And that was accounted to him for righteousness to all generations forevermore.
Chapter 25 in the Book of Numbers tells this story. Some of the Israelites had remained in Acacia Grove, and the Israelites got caught up with the Moab women and made sacrifices to their pagan gods. When this happened God sent a plague among them and twenty-four thousand died. Then Aaron’s grandson which also was a priest, took a spear and drove it through the ring leader and the woman he was with – that stopped the plague.
Verse 32 – They angered Him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses on account of them;
Verse 33 – Because they rebelled against His Spirit, so that he spoke rashly with his lips.
The reason why Moses never got to enter the promise land is in Numbers Chapter 20.
The people had come to a place called Kadesh where there was no water. The people went to Moses and Aaron and complained, again. Moses and Aaron went before the Lord and God told Moses to “Speak to the Rock”, and they would have water.
However, Moses is so frustrated now that when He starts calling God’s people rebels, that he strikes the rock with the “Rod.” Moses struck that Rock in anger. Water still flowed out but God immediately spoke to Moses and said, (Numbers 20:12) Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
I know that broke Moses heart. To think what all he had been through to bring God’s people out from slavery, to lose the very thing they were promised because he lost his temper. (Think on that a minute.)
Verse 34 – They did not destroy the peoples, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them,
Verse 35 – But they mingled with the Gentiles and learned their works;
Verse 36 – They served their idols, which became a snare to them.
Verse 37 – They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons,
Verse 38 – And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood.
Verse 39 – Thus they were defiled by their own works, and played the harlot by their own deeds.
In Deuteronomy, chapter 7, God commanded. He said for the Israelites to utterly destroy the people of Canaan; do not intermarry; to destroy their altars; and have no mercy on them.
But over in Judges 2:12, they did exactly what God commanded them not to !
Verse 40 – Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against His people, so that He abhorred His own inheritance.
Verse 41 – And He gave them into the hand of the Gentiles, and those who hated them ruled over them.
Verse 42 – Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.
Verse 43 – Many times He delivered them; but they rebelled against Him by their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.
(Judges 2:11-19) The book of Judges recounts the repeated cycle of disobedience and restoration after God would take pity on them.
Verse 44 – Nevertheless He regarded their affliction, when He heard their cry;
Verse 45 – And for their sake He remembered His covenant, and relented according to the multitude of His mercies.
Verse 46 – He also made them to be pitied by all those who carried them away captive.
In Judges 3:9, 10, God raised up Othniel, Caleb’s nephew, to deliver them and go to war for them. Then the land had rest for 40 years after that.
Verse 47 – Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the Gentiles, to give thanks to Your holy name, and to triumph in Your praise.
Verse 48 – Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord!
We may mess up many times throughout our life, but God is faithful to His Word and His covenant to His children, Amen.