Today’s historical psalm recounts many of the same events as Psalm 105 that we read together the last 2 days, but from a different perspective.  Psalm 105 seems to be speaking of the events from the perspective of all that God did in choosing to make Abraham a great nation and then rescuing the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt and bringing them into the Promised Land.

Psalm 106 recounts some of those same events from the perspective of the mistakes and sin of the people.  You can read it here.

In verse 6 the psalmist begins a confession that continues for the next 40 verses.  During this confession the Psalmists reminds us of many events in Israel’s history.  I’ll list them for you below with references and cross-references:

Verses 7-12 refer to the complaining and grumbling of the Israelites just before the crossing of the Red Sea.  You can find this story in Exodus 14 & 15.

Verses 13-15 describe their grumbling and complaining in the wilderness because they didn’t have meat to eat.  You can find this story in Numbers 11.

Verses 16-18 refer to some Israelites becoming envious of Moses and Aaron as the leaders and decide to take matters into their own hands.  You can read this story in Numbers 16.

Verses 19-23 describe when the people requested that Aaron make a God for them because Moses was gone to long on the mountain with God. Aaron creates a golden calf and the people worship the golden calf.  This story is in Exodus 32.

Verses 24-27 describes the Israelites unbelief and grumbling when they refused to trust God that He would give them the Promised Land. You can read this in Numbers 14.

Verses 28-31 refer to the Israelites not following God’s commands to not worship the God’s of other nations.  This story is found in Numbers 25.

In verses 32-33 the people are again complaining and grumbling about not having any water.  This story is in Numbers 20.

Finally, verses 34-46 refer to the many times that the people of Israel refused to drive out the people in the Promised Land and so they intermarried with them and began serving their idols and worshipping other Gods, even to the point of sacrificing their own children.  Thus, God allowed other nations to come and rule over his people.

As stated in the Psalm this happened over and over again in Israel’s history.  God would deliver them, but the people were rebellious and sank down in their sin – it was a downward spiral away from God.

The thing I noticed when reading this psalm was the pattern that seemed to lead to Israel’s downward spiral.  They forgot the Lord or His works, which led to complaining and grumbling, which led to choosing their own way rather than Gods way!

Forgetting God and His works –> Grumbling/Complaining –> Going my own way rather than God’s way!

In the psalm several verses (13 & 21) tell us specifically that the people of Israel “quickly forgot His works” and they “forgot God their Savior” in the instances describing their desire for meat while in the wilderness and the Golden calf incident.

In reading the stories of the other incidents of grumbling/complaining (Exodus 14, Numbers 16, Numbers 14, Numbers 20) I noticed that the main complaint is almost always the same. A version of “You brought us out here to die!  We were better off in Egypt.”  So I think it is a pretty safe assumption that they were forgetful in those instances as well.

I think this is an interesting pattern for us to consider.  If I forget what God has done for me, then I will probably begin grumbling and complaining about my life.  If I begin grumbling and complaining, most likely I will become envious of others (Numbers 16), I will become impatient (Exodus 32), I will take things into my own hands (Numbers 16 & Exodus 32), and I will stop listening to the voice of God and believing His word (Numbers 14 & 20).

As you think about your life these past few weeks, have you found yourself in any of these places?

Forgetting what God has done

Grumbling and complaining

Envious of others

Impatient with God

Taking things into your own hands

Not listening to God or believing His words to you

If so, you may be on a downward spiral away from God.

Yet, according to this psalm part of the solution is simple: Remember the Lord and His works in your life!

Remembering turns our focus from grumbling and complaining about what we don’t have towards being grateful for what God has done!

Remembering who God is and what He has done in our lives keeps us from being envious of others!

Remembering how God has worked in our lives in the past gives us patience to wait for His work and direction in the present!

Remembering what God has done in the past encourages faith as to what He will do in the future!

Can I encourage you today to take 20 minutes and remember what God has done in your life? 

Maybe even write down a list of specific ways He has worked in your life, so you can go back to this list the next time you find yourself somewhere in this pattern.

I’ll write about part 2 of the solution tomorrow….


{If you have thoughts about this Psalm or any of the others we’re covering this summer, hop on over to our Facebook group,  where we’re hoping to experience conversation and community around the Psalms this summer!

Also, if you’ve missed any of our Summer in the Psalms devotionals this summer, you can find them all on our Campus Impact Blog.}

Matt Meyer grew up in Plattsmouth, NE. He has been involved with Campus Impact since he came to college in 1989 – 4 years as a student, 10 years as a volunteer coach and 13 years in his current role as College Pastor of Spiritual Formation. This summer he looks forward to grilling out, reading and riding his bike every day that he can! He can be reached at