Psalm 106:44-45 – “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.”
Nevertheless. That’s a key word and turning point in this Psalm. Nevertheless what?
Well…the psalmist says Israel sinned…a lot.
- They didn’t consider God’s wondrous works when they were in Egypt.
- They didn’t remember the abundance of God’s steadfast love.
- They rebelled at the Red Sea.
- They forgot God’s works.
- They did not wait for God’s counsel.
- They had a wanton craving (that is they wanted something really, really bad) and put God to the test to give it to them.
- They were jealous of God’s leaders.
- They made a golden calf and worshiped it, exchanging the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.
- They forgot God.
- They despised the land God was giving them.
- They murmured (gossiped, slandered, etc.) and did not obey God’s voice.
- They yoked themselves to false gods.
- They provoked and angered God.
- They didn’t obey God’s command but did what all the other nations did.
- They served idols.
- They sacrificed their sons and daughters.
That’s quite a list. But, sprinkled in through all of the sins of Israel, the psalmist tells how God was saving them, protecting them delivering them.
Then we read, “Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress…”
God stayed with Israel through all of that. His love is steadfast. God’s love is longsuffering. Remember God is love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 – “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
I’m sure we can all find ourselves a number of times in the list of Israel’s sins above. But, when we, like Israel continually go astray, God keeps loving us. He bears our sins and burdens, He believes good for us. He hopes for our salvation. He endures hardship for us. His love never ends. As the psalmist says in verse 1, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”
After the nevertheless of God, when we see how good God is, how abundantly steadfast God’s love is, then we can say with the psalmist in verse 47, “Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.”