Remember Promises and Commitments

KEY VERSE: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” —Psalm 105:1, New International Version

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Psalm 105:1-11, 43-45

IT HAS BEEN said that he who has no knowledge of past failure is doomed to repeat it in the future. Subsequently, history is the foundation on which civilizations and cultures are built, founded on collective memories.

The people of Israel were especially sensitive to their historical memories because their understanding of God was based more on the recollection of God’s deeds than on doctrinal statements. They were repeatedly called upon to remember the covenant God had made with their ancestors, and to recall their many experiences of divine deliverance. These recollections of God’s promises served to lift their faith and sustain them through difficult ordeals, while memories of their own human commitments helped keep them faithful—particularly in prosperous times when they might forsake God.

Promises and commitments go hand in hand. Under their covenant with God, Israel had received many generous promises; now they were expected to respond with a dedication worthy of such kindness. Psalm 105 is a covenant song to God’s chosen people—a call to remember that God in his mercy had reached out and blessed Israel when they had little to offer in return. This memory was to bring the people to praise God as stated in verse 2: “Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.”

Psalm 105 is an exuberant expression of thanksgiving to God combined with an equally strong call to commitment that is based on one command—“Remember!” By inspiring the people to give thanks, sing and seek the Lord, the psalmist let them know that they would find a reason for such a celebration if only they would remember the mighty acts that God had performed. Likewise, the church during the Gospel Age has been instructed to recall Jesus’ sacrifice by partaking yearly of his memorial emblems—with the instructions, “Do this in remembrance of me. (I Cor. 11:24,25) We, like the people of Israel, find reason to celebrate by first remembering Jesus’ sacrifice, and then calling to mind God’s faithfulness in our lives. Just as God was active in the history of Israel, we see evidence of his guiding hand in our lives to provide the necessary exposure to adversity which will develop us as the sons of God.

The Psalmist David recalls Israel’s exodus from Egyptian bondage and how they went out with joy and with singing, and so this psalm concludes with a call to joy. When Israel passed through the Red Sea, Miriam led them with a timbrel (Exod. 15:20,21), and when the Ark of the Covenant was recovered from the Philistines, David led the way with dancing. (I Chron. 16:8-22) Truly we share with natural Israel a faith of joy. When we remember God’s promises and commitments, we sing—confident that he will perform all that he has promised.—Rom. 4:21

And when we remember, we do so not for our own comfort or pleasure, but to keep the statutes of God. For Israel this meant obeying the Law. For us it means living up to our covenant of sacrifice by developing the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”—Gal. 5:25.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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