Psalm 105

July 05, 2021

1 O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

2 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

3 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.

4 Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

5 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.

7 He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.

8 He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.

9 Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;

10 And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:

11 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:

12 When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.

13 When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;

14 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;

15 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

16 Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.

17 He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:

18 Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:

19 Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.

20 The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.

21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:

22 To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.

23 Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.

24 And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.

25 He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.

26 He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.

27 They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.

28 He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.

29 He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.

30 Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.

31 He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.

32 He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.

33 He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.

34 He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number,

35 And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.

36 He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.

37 He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.

38 Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.

39 He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.

40 The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.

41 He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.

42 For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.

43 And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:

44 And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;

45 That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD 

The Point: 

When teaching history lessons, true believers will teach God’s redemptive plan and surround the teaching with worship.

How do we feel in the recitation of this psalm? 

We are both thrilled and comforted to know that God is constantly working in, about, and through the great empires of men in order that He might nurture and grow a kingdom that will never die. He usually works behind the scenes surreptitiously, such that the ungodly have no idea what is going on! We cannot help but rejoice in God’s sovereign control over all things and look forward to the inevitable success of His kingdom. Many powerful kingdoms that are built by men come and go, so there is very little that the proud humanists can say about their accomplishments. However, we Christians have one grid through which we view history, and that is what is found here in this psalm.

What does this psalm say? 

Verses 1–5. It may seem strange to present this psalm as a history lesson, but that is the basic content of 39 out of the 45 verses. If any of God’s people ever teaches history in public schools, private schools, or home schools, he would do well to use the inspired presentation in this psalm as a pattern! This is how it is done. 

We open the history lesson with worship. This is the only proper way to talk about history because the study of history is the study of God’s hand in man’s reality. To ignore God in history is not only disingenuous and blasphemous, but it also ignores the “elephant in the room,” especially since we know that God is the primary cause in the events of history. Thus, it should be a given that we approach history with thanksgiving and praise. Why not sing psalms to Him in the middle of a history class? Most academic institutions today would laugh at the incongruity of such an idea. What does worshiping God have to do with the academic pursuits of the minds of men? Why should men, who are used to worshiping their own minds, fall on their faces and worship the Wisdom of God? Modern man celebrates his own scientific and academic accomplishments, but he does not see that God has much to contribute to his truth and reality.

But we are commanded to study history and make known His deeds among the people. History is a required subject for every one of our children because it is the study of the wondrous works and mighty deeds of God. We would not think of teaching about the Egyptian pyramids and the feats of Alexander without referring to the judgments of God upon Egypt and Greece. 

While the line of Cain builds its cities and empires, God’s people are distinguished as those who “call upon His name.” This is what marked the line of Seth at the beginning. They perpetually seek after God (verses 3–4). They strive to walk with Him, and they continually cry out for His salvation in faith. They refuse to forget the great works of God in history.

Verses 6–11. History is all about God’s people. Those secularists who present history without God’s covenant people taking a central position in the story are giving a false view. After the flood God focuses in on one of the descendants of Noah with whom He wants to establish a covenant relationship. While Egypt was building its empire, one solitary man down in Canaan was building a family altar to the Creator of heaven and earth. The Book of Genesis centers around this man and his posterity because Abraham’s story is the only significant story for the first 3,000 years of human civilization on earth. Even those of us grafted into the Old Testament church find our spiritual roots in Abraham (Gal. 3:6–9, 29). What a blessing it is to be of this seed and enjoy the blessings, privileges, and salvation of the God of all history!

When an honorable husband makes a marriage covenant with his wife, he will hold true to that covenant no matter what happens. Would God be any less true to the covenant He makes with men? Not a chance! What would it take for a faithful man to break covenant with his wife? Well, God is a thousand times more faithful to His covenant than the most faithful husband who ever lived. God never walked away from His covenant. The Israelites may have hardened their necks now and then in history, but there was never a time in which there was not some remnant that carried on the heritage and the faith of Abraham.

The covenant promise included land, specifically a small portion of the earth on the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea. It wasn’t much land in comparison to the rest of the earth. But it would belong to the people of God, representing a down payment of what was to come. God’s blessings are tangible and temporal as well as eternal and spiritual.

Verses 12–24. Throughout history, there have always been two cities and two kingdoms on this earth. They are the City of God and the City of Man. These two cities weave in and out of each other as they work their way through time. For some reason, God chose to work through a very small number of people after the flood. When God called Abraham out of his father’s country, it was a new start for Abraham. Today, it would be like God calling a man from China to go to America, promising him the entire eastern seaboard for his inheritance. This man had no right to the land. He had no children, initially. He had no contacts, no influence, and no property of his own. But the Creator of the Universe picked Abraham to be His man, and that is all that mattered. It did not matter that Abraham was surrounded by warring kings, anarchical bands, and the great and proud empire of Egypt because several times God reproved kings who might have taken advantage of Abraham’s family. Amidst thousands of wars, massacres, murders, and revolutions that occurred between 2000 B.C. and 1400 B.C. in the breadbasket of civilization, one family was immune from all of it. They enjoyed God’s special protection for 600 years. History centers around the people of God. The heathen will rage. The kingdoms are disestablished. But God is in the midst of His people through every era of history.

God’s sovereignty is evident again in verse 16 when He calls for a famine in the land of Egypt. For what purpose did He shake the largest empire in the world to its very core? Surely it must have been to provide a context for His people in which they would be protected, tested, enslaved, and delivered in the most spectacular way!

The story of Joseph follows in verses 17 through 22. Never mind that what is happening in Egypt is the development of the proud empire of Egypt’s Middle Kingdom. Millions of people lived and died in Egypt from 2000 B.C. through 1400 B.C., but none of that matters in the scheme of things because what really matters is the story of Joseph. God delights in testing His man to humble him in some no-account Egyptian prison, and then He promoted him to the highest position in the land. God preserved Egypt through the famine mainly because He intended to preserve His people in the land of Egypt for 400 years. For a long time the Egyptians ignored this ratty group of sheepherders down in Goshen. But this despised lot was the City of God, and within a few generations these people grew into a significant, noticeable people group even stronger than their enemies, the Egyptians.

Verses 25–38. When the people of God are weak and insignificant, the City of Man will ignore them. But, if they gain numbers and strength, inevitably their enemies will turn on them. Still, all of this is within the sovereign purposes of God. It may be hard to understand it or reconcile it, but verse 25 states clearly that God turned the heart of Pharaoh and his people against the children of Israel. The heart of the king is in the hand of God, and He turns it wherever He wishes (Prov. 21:1). In the Book of Exodus, Moses presents the tension in clear terms. Pharaoh hardened Pharaoh’s heart and God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Two causes work simultaneously. God sovereignly ordains, while man is still morally responsible for his own hardness of heart.

As the psalmist continues with the story, God torments the land of Egypt. For their nationalistic pride, their refusal to worship and serve the true God, and their opposition to the people of God, they received the worst series of plagues any nation has ever encountered in one-time period in human history. He broke the back of Egypt by killing all of the firstborn males in the land. Typically, the firstborn represents the strongest of the offspring, the one with the most potential to carry on the empire in the succeeding generation. No wonder that Egypt was glad to see the people of God leave in the end. 

Verses 39–45. The story of God’s redemptive work in His people concludes with a full review of His provision for them through the wilderness and all the way to the promised land. He delivered His people from Egypt, and then He gave them the cloud, the fire, and food and drink along the way. This prefigures exactly the pattern of our redemption, for God delivers us from the Egypt of our sin, baptizes us in the Red Sea, makes us part of His church, provides us with the spiritual food of the Lord’s Table, and gives us direction and guidance along the way. Paul draws these comparisons in 1 Corinthians 10:2–4 and 16–17, contrasting the communion of the bread and the cup with the manna and water in the wilderness.

This history lesson ends with a word of application and an exhortation to worship. These are two critical elements in the education of a child. First of all, God expects us to integrate our knowledge into life. If knowledge does not proceed to life application, it is worthless to us. The last two verses explain why God went to all the trouble of saving them from Egypt. It was in order that His people might observe His statutes and keep His laws. Likewise, this is God’s intention for His people today. Christ died that we might live for Him (2 Cor. 5:15), that He might purify a peculiar people who are zealous of good works (Titus 2:14), and that we might love Him and keep His commandments (John 14:21, 15:10; 1 John 5:2–3).  

How do we apply this psalm to our lives? 

1. History is about the people of God. What you have studied in this psalm will never be taught in the world history high school classes controlled by the City of Man since unbelievers never want to acknowledge the wickedness of Egypt and the centrality of God’s people in history! But, as you watch world events play out, keep an eye on the church of Jesus Christ, Who is the Son of David and the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant.

2. This story is His Story, but it is also our story! By faith, we identify with this great story of redemption from the Old Testament. By faith we believe that God will provide us with everything we need to make it to the Promised Land, even though we are only about halfway through the wilderness journey ourselves.

3. Nations will be held accountable for the way they treat the people of God. Remember that the people of God are those who fear the true and living God and look to Him for salvation through Christ. Any “secular” nation that persecutes God’s people and refuses to serve the living Christ, the Son of David, the King of kings and Lord of lords, will be destroyed. This even includes nations that have the “blessing” of the United Nations. Let us pray that our nation will serve the living Christ. 

How does this psalm teach us to worship God?  

1. We must not separate worship from the rest of life. There are some who feel uncomfortable with kneeling in the middle of a history class and worshiping the sovereign Lord of history. But this should to happen from time to time when true believers teach history. You will notice in this psalm that there is praise and worship before and after the history lesson. To present God as separate from history is to teach our children the wrong view of history and the wrong view of reality.

2. Worship includes a survey of redemptive history from time to time. This does not mean that worship and preaching is entirely made up of “redemptive history.” A few of the psalms really do cover the history of God’s redemption, and we need to do the same thing from time to time in our worship. 


1. Why should we teach history to our children? 

2. What are the “bookends” for the psalm (how does the psalm begin and end)?

3. Whose idea was it to bring a famine to the land of Egypt? Why did He do it?

4. What does God do with kings who threaten His people? 

5. How would a Christian teach about the feats of Alexander and the pyramids of Egypt? 

6. What did God do for His people, according to this psalm? 

7. Give several examples of Didactic Psalms. 

Family Discussion Questions:  

1. What is the “City of Man,” and how do we relate to it? Do we see God’s hand of protection upon our lives as we walk through this city? 

2. How do you identify with the story of redemption? What has God done for you?