I often find myself criticizing the people of the past for their lack of faith and trust in God. It is easy for me to sit here and look at how weak their faith was when I see all that God had done for them in proving His power. However, it seems that my memory fails me when it is my turn to demonstrate faith. When I am the one facing an uncertain doctors visit; or facing a lay-off from my job; or worrying about something our children are facing; or even looking at a ministry challenge that is before me. I, too, find myself lacking faith in these crucial times.
Today I read Psalm 106. It is a review of all that God did for Israel in freeing them from bondage, as well as leading them through the wilderness to the Promised Land. In the description of these events twice I read about Israel “forgetting” the work that God had done for them in these times (106:13, 21). Again, my critical spirit wants to chastise these Israelites for their lack of faith and vision … and then I think of my own testimony. These Israelites had limited availability to information of what God had done. We, on the other hand, have the entire sixty-six books, and we still struggle.
I am always so encouraged to read these accounts of how Israel doubted, but God continued to offer mercy. We have a song about the “Amazing Grace” of God, but I am equally thankful for the amazing mercy of God. After all these failures to trust God, the Bible says: “Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when He heard their cry” (Psalm 106:44). Through all the disobedience and questioning that Israel demonstrated, God still realized how weak they were, and He still “heard their cry.” I am so thankful that God still has this kind of mercy available for me today.
I think there are multiple lessons to be learned today from this verse. First I realize that I have no right or place to criticize Israel, or anyone else for that matter. You see, just like Israel forgot about God’s goodness toward them; I forget how many times He has blessed me when I did not deserve it. Just as, Israel had proof after proof of God’s protection and provision for them, I have proof of God’s care for me. The second lesson I see in this passage is the obvious truth. I learn that we have a God Who demonstrates amazing mercy all the time. I cannot tell you how much the amazing mercy of God means to me today. I needed His mercy yesterday, and I will need it again today. I am grateful that God does not base our relationship on my ability to please Him. He chooses to pour out His amazing mercy on me every day!