The Nation Exhibits Gross Unbelief

Ingratitude

In this passage the psalmist underlines to the Israelites their iniquity, their ingratitude, and their intercessor. In the wilderness, Israel became so intent on getting food and water that they became blind to what God wanted. They were more concerned about the immediate physical gratification than they were about the lasting spiritual satisfaction. With such a great deliverance from the Egyptians it is almost incredible that “they soon forgot His works” (v. 13) and failed to see the unfolding plan of God. Instead they “lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert” (v. 14). As a result of their lustful desire God “sent leanness to their soul” (v. 15).

The psalmist becomes more pointed in his description of Israel’s sin (vv. 16-18). He describes the sin of Korah (first cousin of Moses and Aaron), Dathan and Abiram (members of the tribe of Ruben).  These men were jealous of Moses and Aaron and claimed that they were just as Holy as God’s anointed leaders. The Lord soon proved the emptiness of their claim and visited them with severe judgment. The result of their jealousy was devastating. “The earth opened up and swallowed up Dathan” and covered Abiram (v. 17) while fire consumed Korah (v. 18).

At this point we are given a glimpse of what God thinks of idolatry. Israel continues in her sin as she makes a golden calf in Horeb and worships the molten image (vv. 19-20). This was the very spot that God gave the law and manifested Himself in a quaking earth and flaming fire. Unfortunately for Israel “they forgot God their Savior” (v. 21) who had done “wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red Sea” (v. 22). As a result God promised to destroy them and had it not been for Moses, He would have made an end to them all then and there (v. 23). “...they believed not His Word: but murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord” (vv. 24-25). Because of this disobedience He said He would scatter them all over the world (vv. 26-27).

Application

What a blessing it is that I do not always get what I pray for! I may insist on getting my own way only to find that I have chosen to ask for less than God’s best.

Psalms 106:16-27 (English Standard Version)

When men in the camp were jealous of Moses and Aaron, the holy one of the LORD, the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram. Fire also broke out in their company; the flame burned up the wicked. They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a metal image. They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass. They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt, wondrous works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. Therefore he said he would destroy them-- had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them. Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise. They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the LORD. Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them that he would make them fall in the wilderness, and would make their offspring fall among the nations, scattering them among the lands.

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