Season after Pentecost (Proper 20 [25]): The Psalm Passage – When praise of the Lord God does NOT alter behavior

O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works.
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually.
Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of his servant Abraham, children of Jacob, his chosen ones.” (Psalm 105:1 – 6)

Not exactly a good match to the Old Testament passage for this week. As you remember the Israelites were complaining about being out in the desert, the lack of food and water, and remembering how much better the living conditions were in Egypt. But in the collective memory of the Israelites, when the psalms were being written, the Lord God was praised because NOW the Israelites were well established and living in comfort . . . according to those times.

“Then he brought Israel out with silver and gold, and there was no one among their tribes who stumbled.
Egypt was glad when they departed, for dread of them had fallen upon it.
He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light by night.
They asked, and he brought quails, and gave them food from heaven in abundance.
He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed through the desert like a river.” (Verses 37 – 41)

Forgotten also were the days of uncertainty, and the fears they had beside the Red Sea. Gone also the fear of snakes and other tough lessons that the early Israelites had to learn. How is it (many times) that after tough times are past, and we collectively look back, we gloss over the hardships and suffering and remember only the good things? I suspect it is a survival instinct thing. And also, we were not the ones who actually went through the suffering but only hear the stories that came out of it.

“For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant.
So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing.
He gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the wealth of the peoples,
that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Praise the LORD! “ (Verses 42 – 45)

I also think that psalms like this assure, inspire, and remind us that others were in peril and had problems, and God was faithful to them. So the logical conclusion is that the Lord God will be faithful to us. But . . . if that is so, why did the later Israelites go so astray from the Lord God that had delivered and kept their forebearers safe while journeying through the desert? Why did not the collective memory of that hold the later Israelites in faithful worship to God? Furthermore, why does it not work in our current generation (that is, humanity collectively), this looking back to praise what God had done?

It seems, just as I have said previously about the early Israelites, each generation for themselves has to learn the lessons of following the Lord God, and Jesus Christ. While we have scripture and the stories of our spiritual forebearers, the lessons there do not always translate to our current situation. And if I can be bold enough to say, I think it is writers like myself and others who serve to remind us of past lessons from the lives of others and encourage us to incorporate those lessons into our own lives. And if that is true, I am humbled that my writings might be used in that way. I often times write as much for my own edification as for others.

May you, beloved reader, heed the lessons from generations ago. May the praise that is offered up to the Lord remind you of the blessings that come from living according to Jesus Christ’s example to us. Selah!

One thought on “Season after Pentecost (Proper 20 [25]): The Psalm Passage – When praise of the Lord God does NOT alter behavior

  1. […] It is time for the beloved readers here to start the move to the site where these posts will have their new home. To read this post please go to the blog site Pondering From the Pacific The specific post is When praise of the Lord God does NOT alter behavior […]

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