Stewarding God's Glory.

The book of Psalms is divided into 5 sections. As the book progresses, the theme shifts from psalms of prayer and supplication to praise and thanksgiving. Psalm 106 falls at the end of the 4th section. It was probably written by an Israelite living in captivity. It rehearses the Jewish nation's pattern of giving up God's glory, seemingly never learning from their history.

God's Glory

The theme of Psalm 106 is found in repetition of the word "glory" in verses 5, 20, and 47. God's glory is inherent and self-referencing. He is the source of all glory, and this makes Him worthy of worship (Isaiah 42:8, 12). The Bible reveals that we too have glory which is derived from His. It is bestowed by God to be stewarded and oriented toward Him.

God-Intended Companions

Psalm 106:1-5 expresses the psalmist's desire for solidarity with God's "inheritance," His chosen people who trust in Jehovah. These are not just Israelites by birth, but ones who know God's character – that He keeps His promises and is good, loyal in lovingkindness, faithful, and everlasting. God's people rejoice in what God rejoices in. They share God's values and interests.

Tragic Consequences of Misplacing Glory

The bulk of this psalm lists at least 8 distinguishable sins of the nation of Israel through 3 distinct periods.

In the Exodus, Israel failed to understand God's judgement and to remember His kindness (Psalm 106:6-12). "Nevertheless," God preserved His own glory by saving them; and "then they believed." Faith that comes after the fact proves to be weak and short-lived.

In the wilderness, Israel was guilty of the sin of discontent (Psalm 106:13-15). God used a disease to discipline them with the goal of developing a persevering faith. They were envious of leadership (Psalm 106:16-18) and practiced idolatry (Psalm 106:19-23). They exchanged the glory of Jehovah for something created, just as all lost people do (Romans 1:18-23). They despised God's gifts, did not believe Him, and served the cause of death (Psalm 106:24-29). A man named Phinehas was one exception in the disobedient nation (verses 30-31). But ultimately, the nation's insurrection ruined things for everyone (Psalm 106:32-33).

Even after God established them in the Promised Land, Israel "mingled with the nations," contrary to God's commands. They committed more idolatry and even sacrificed their own children, desecrating God's land with their blood. This culminated in the nation's captivity (Psalm 106:34-43).

God's Pity

Psalm 106:44 begins with another "nevertheless." God shows pity even on those He disciplines (Psalm 106:45-48). The Psalm ends in a hopeful note: It is never too late to do right. For our time, those who do not believe must turn to Christ to forgive their sin and direct their lives. Those who already know God's faithful character must maintain fellowship through allowing their lives to be shaped by God's Word.

Application Points

  • How do you steward the glory God has given you as a human being? Do you use all your faculties with reference to their Giver? In what ways are you giving your glory to another? How can you return glory to God?
  • Who do you delight in being around? When you have been born into a spiritual family, you never have to be alone. Conversely, are you a godly companion? Do you rejoice in what God rejoices in? How do your values and interests need to align more with His?
  • Where does your life betray a pursuit of earthly, temporal interests? We must not put even good things in the place of God's glory.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Exodus 16, 24, 33 – God's glory.
  • Joshua 7, 1 Samuel 6, Jeremiah 13, Acts 12, 1 Chronicles 16 – Human glory derived from God's.