You read Psalm 106 and it’s like reading a rap sheet . . . a long, long rap sheet. It’s the history of the songwriter’s people . . . held up against the unfailing grace of the songwriter’s God. And it’s bookended with a call for thanksgiving . . . with an exhortation to praise God. For He is the God of the second, second chance.
Most of the song is an historical narrative. Its major theme being found in verse 6, “Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we’ve done wickedness.”
The “intro” to the song chronicles their deliverance from Egypt . . . which is soon followed by their rebellion at the Red Sea. And God patiently shows Himself powerful on their behalf . . . saving them from the hand of the foe . . . redeeming them from the power of the enemy (v.10). And the people believed again . . . and they sang His praise again. “But they soon forgot His works . . . they had a wanton craving in the wilderness . . . and put God to the test in the desert” (v.13-14).
And so is established the song’s meter. The people rebel. Their sin provokes their God to respond with wrath, in accordance with His holy character. Then a mediator, chosen by God, intervenes . . . standing in the breach between sinful man and holy God. First, Moses intercedes to turn away God’s wrath away from destroying His people who “exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox” and “forgot God, their Savior” (v.20-23). Then, it’s Phineas who stands up to stay the plague which broke out after God’s people “yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor” and “provoked the LORD to anger with their deeds” (v.28-30). But they sin again . . . and again . . . and again
And the dirge goes on. Of their seemingly incessant murmuring because that had “no faith in His promise” and it’s dire consequences (v.24-25, 32-33). Of their infidelity towards their God playing “the whore in their deeds” as they refused to separate themselves from the nations around them and thus, “served their idols, which became a snare to them” (v.36).
And it goes on and on and on. But then we get to the song’s crescendo . . . we get to the bridge which interrupts the repetitious verses and chorus . . .
Nevertheless, He looked upon their distress,
when He heard their cry.
For their sake He remembered His covenant,
and relented according to the abundance of His steadfast love. (Psalm 106:44-45 ESV)
O, blessed “nevertheless!” O, blessed promises! O, blessed abundant steadfast love! O, blessed God of the second . . . and third . . . and fourth . . second chance!
God could relent because His Son would one day take upon Himself all the wrath justly demanded for sin by a holy, holy, holy God. God could respond to their cry, again and again, because He knew the cry of His Son, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). God could release the floodgates of abundant grace for their sake, because He was determined to fulfill His covenant for His own glory . . . even to providing the Lamb of God to take away sin once for all . . . even to raising up His Son as an eternal mediator to intercede for His people.
A second, second chance. Not that I presume upon it . . . but that I thank God for abundant grace which covers all my sin . . . and praise Him for being a God who, because of His great love and great provision, “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9).
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
And let all the people say, Amen!
Praise the LORD! (Psalm 106:48 ESV)