CELEBRATING GOD'S MANY DIMENSIONS
When you forget who you are as a person, terrible things happen. When you
forget who you are as a family, family members lose their sense of family. When you
forget who you are as a people, as a people you lose you sense of purpose.
God's people must never forget who they are. God's people can have a sense of
healthy identity only if they remember who they are. For that sense of healthy identity to
exist, our history as God's people must connect us to God. That connection must be
genuine and powerful.
The psalmist in Psalm 105 wanted Israel to maintain a healthy sense of identity.
He was much aware that their healthy sense of identity depended on their awareness of
their historical connection to God.
- Psalm 105:1-7 Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His
deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders.
Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the
Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually. Remember His wonders which He has
done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth, O seed of Abraham, His
servant, O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments are
in all the earth.
- The psalmist issued a call to gratitude to Israel.
"Israel, when you realize what God has done for us:"
- A proper remembrance of the acts of God would produce gratitude for what
God had done for them.
- He challenged them to stimulate their memory and gratitude by reflecting on
- You will find it natural to call upon God and express your gratitude.
- You will want to praise Him for what He has done.
- You will glory in His name.
- It will give you the kind of boldness that rejoices.
- You will see yourself differently because you see God at work.
- You will be glad.
- Remembering is a good experience.
- Without hesitation you will turn to Him for your strength.
- Without hesitation you will declare, "He is our Lord."
Why should remembering their past cause Israel to have deep, genuine
feelings for God?
- First, it should give them deep, genuine feelings of gratitude for God
because God always remembers His agreements.
Psalm 105:8-15 He has remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to
a thousand generations, The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. Then
He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, Saying, "To you I will
give the land of Canaan As the portion of your inheritance," When they were only a few men in
number, Very few, and strangers in it. And they wandered about from nation to nation, From one
kingdom to another people. He permitted no man to oppress them,
And He reproved kings for their sakes: "Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no
Second, they should have deep genuine feelings of gratitude for God
because God rescued their family of origin from starvation.
- That is why they existed.
- God made an agreement with Abraham.
- God refused to forget that agreement.
- In spite of all that happened, God remembered and kept His agreement.
- He entered the agreement with Abraham.
- He renewed it with Abraham's son, Isaac.
- He renewed it again with Isaac's son, Jacob.
- That is why they had Canaan as their homeland; their living in Canaan was not
an accident of time.
- That is why He had protected them.
Psalm 105:16-24 And He called for a famine upon the land; He broke the whole staff of bread. He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons; Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the Lord
tested him. The king sent and released him, The ruler of peoples, and set him free. He made him
lord of his house And ruler over all his possessions, To imprison his princes at will, That he might
teach his elders wisdom. Israel also came into Egypt; Thus Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
And He caused His people to be very fruitful, And made them stronger than their adversaries.
Third, they should have deep, genuine feelings of gratitude for God because God
physically rescued them from slavery.
- God used the famine for His purposes to give them their future.
- God used the slavery of Joseph as the means of keeping His promise.
- Joseph endured some horrible experiences, but God was at work in every experience.
- In the end, God gave Joseph a powerful, prominent position in Egypt, and the result
was that the whole family moved to Egypt and became a huge people.
Psalm 105:25-36 He turned their heart to hate His people, To deal craftily with His servants. He
sent Moses His servant, And Aaron, whom He had chosen. They performed His wondrous acts
among them, And miracles in the land of Ham. He sent darkness and made it dark; And they did
not rebel against His words. He turned their waters into blood And caused their fish to die. Their
land swarmed with frogs Even in the chambers of their kings. He spoke, and there came a swarm
of flies And gnats in all their territory. He gave them hail for rain, And flaming fire in their land.
He struck down their vines also and their fig trees, And shattered the trees of their territory. He
spoke, and locusts came, And young locusts, even without number, And ate up all vegetation in
their land, And ate up the fruit of their ground. He also struck down all the firstborn in their land,
The first fruits of all their vigor.
Fourth, they should have deep, genuine feelings of gratitude for God because He not
only did the incredible, but He did it in unbelievable ways.
- The future generations of those people who welcomed that family into their country
hated their descendants.
- They were deceitful and dealt craftily with Abraham's descendants.
- So God sent Moses and Aaron to lead them out of an impossible slavery.
- It was God's acts that convinced the Egyptians to free them.
Psalm 105:37-45 Then He brought them out with silver and gold, And among His tribes there
was not one who stumbled. Egypt was glad when they departed, For the dread of them had fallen
upon them. He spread a cloud for a covering, And fire to illumine by night. They asked, and He
brought quail, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock and water flowed
out; It ran in the dry places like a river. For He remembered His holy word With Abraham His
servant; And He brought forth His people with joy, His chosen ones with a joyful shout. He gave
them also the lands of the nations, That they might take possession of the fruit of the peoples'
labor, So that they might keep His statutes And observe His laws, Praise the Lord!
He deserves to be obeyed, and He deserves to be praised.
- Though they were oppressed slaves, they left Egypt with incredible wealth.
- God used a bright cloud in the day and a fiery cloud at night to give them physical
guidance in the wilderness.
- He fed them in a wilderness that had no food.
- He gave them water in a dry desert.
- Though conditions were harsh, He gave them every reason to have joy.
Among the significant problems that we face as Christians is this: we have lost
our sense of identity as God's people.
- Why would I say that?
Because we lost these things, we lost our sense of gratitude and our desire
- Too many of us have lost any personal sense of God rescuing us.
- Too many of us have lost conscious awareness of how long and how hard God
planned and worked to send Jesus to our world.
- Too many of us have lost conscious awareness of the cost to God and Jesus
for Jesus to be human.
- Too many of us have lost conscious awareness of the agony of the cross to
God and Jesus.
- Too many of us have lost conscious awareness of the power of the
- Too many of us place much too little value on the grace, the mercy, the
forgiveness, the redemption, the atonement, and the sanctification that every
man and woman in Christ receives.
We need to remember. We need to reflect. We need to appreciate what God has done
and is doing for us.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 20 August 2000
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