Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23
1 Praise the Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
2 Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord
or fully declare his praise?
3 Blessed are those who act justly,
who always do what is right.
4 Remember me, Lord, when you show favorto your people,
come to my aid when you save them,
5 that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may share in the joy of your nation
and join your inheritance in giving praise.
6 We have sinned, even as our ancestors did;
we have done wrong and acted wickedly.
19 At Horeb they made a calf
and worshiped an idol cast from metal.
20 They exchanged their glorious God
for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
21 They forgot the God who saved them,
who had done great things in Egypt,
22 miracles in the land of Ham
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
23 So he said he would destroy them—
had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him
to keep his wrath from destroying them.
“We have sinned, even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly.”
In the midst of a global pandemic, maybe we can understand some of the messy parts of the story a little better.
Because our lives are messy right now.
We aren’t in the promised land, and we don’t know how long we are going to be in the desert. And we don't want to be alone.
And it’s easier than we’d like to admit to forget the great things he’s done for us.
Basics: The people of Israel, meaning the descendants of Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel in the book of Genesis) immigrated to Egypt to escape a famine. Eventually, Pharaoh, King of Egypt, enslaved the Israelites, forced them into hard labour, and committed genocide against their children. Moses escapes genocide as baby when he is floated in the Nile river into the home of the Pharaoh, where he is raised as a member of Pharaoh’s household. Moses eventually flees Egypt as an adult. While herding sheep the Lord speaks to Moses in a burning bush, sending him back to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of slavery. Long story short, the Israelites leave, but Pharaoh pursues them. They are cornered against the sea. God parts the waters, the Israelites walk through on dry land, but the Egyptians are swept away by the sea.
The LORD had done amazing miracles right in front of their eyes. But, as soon as they were out in the desert, they forgot about all that.
“At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass.”
Why is it that when we could live in the reality of miracles, we live in the reality of a bull that eats grass? What meaningless stuff are we filling our lives with during COVID lockdowns? How are we forgetting that The LORD has saved us? That he is saving us still? That he will continue to save us?
Lord we confess with the psalmist, “We have sinned, even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly." Leadership today requires confession, and being real about the situation in which we find ourselves. We know that the world is a mess right now. Turn our eyes to your glory.
Remind us that you took a nation through the sea. Remind me of the ways you have saved me. Gather us from recession, into the abundance of your glory, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. Put on our hearts today — what we can do to lead in big and small ways.