The Abrahamic Covenant in Psalm 105

October 26, 2015 — Leave a comment

In previous blog posts I have emphasized the Abrahamic Covenant’s role in GenesisGalatians, and the overall message of the Bible. However, it was not until recently that one of my twitter followers made me aware that the Abrahamic Covenant is also mentioned in Psalm 105. Here’s a brief look at Psalm 105 and its connection to the Abrahamic Covenant. 

The Abrahamic Covenant in Psalm 105

Photo Credit: Sweet Publishing

I. THE PURPOSE AND ARGUMENT OF PSALM 105

A. Purpose 

Psalm 105 wants believers to know that the LORD is great and just through the promises he made with Israel and how he kept those promises to Israel.

B. Argument

Psalm 105 testifies that the Lord is great (v. 1), that he should be thanked (v. 1), that we should sing praises to him (v. 2), worship him (v. 2), and most of all remember the wonders and miracles he has done (v. 5) because his justice is seen throughout the land (v. 7). Furthermore, Psalm 105 also testifies that the Lord is just because he stands by his covenant (v. 8). That covenant was God saying to Israel, “I will give you the land of Canaan as your special possession” (v. 11). That covenant was made to Abraham and Isaac (v. 9), confirmed to Jacob (v. 10), and then made to the people as a never ending covenant (v. 10). That covenant was promised when Israel was small in number (v. 12) wandering from nation to nation (v. 13), yet God still protected them (vv. 14-15).

God’s greatness and justice can be seen in the things he did to orchestrate and keep the covenant. God sent Joseph to Egypt (v. 17) and after a while Joseph was put in charge of Pharaoh’s household and possessions (v. 21). The Lord then multiplied the Israelites (v. 24) to the point that the Egyptians turned against the Israelites (v. 25). God sent Moses and Aaron (v. 26) performing signs and wonders (v. 27) such as darkness (v. 28), water turned into blood (v. 29), frog multiplication (v. 30), flies and gnats swarmed across Egypt (v. 30), hail instead of rain (v. 32), locusts (v. 34).

Finally, the Lord remembered Israel. Most of all the Lord remembered his promise to Abraham (v. 42) so he brought them out of Egypt (v. 43) giving them the lands of pagan nations and harvesting crops that the Israelites did not harvest (v. 44). What was the purpose of all of this? All that that happened so that the Israelites would follow the Lord’s decrees and obey his instructions (v. 45).

II. HOW PSALM 105 FITS INTO THE MESSAGE OF THE BIBLE

The Abrahamic Covenant was introduced in Gen 12:1-3 when God told Abraham to take his family from Ur and to go to the land which the Lord would show to him. In Gen 13:14-17 God told Abraham that he would give the entire land to Abraham (cf. Pss 105:11). In Gen 15:18-20 God made the covenant to be unconditional and unilateral (cf. Pss 105:8). Then in Gen 17:2-8 the covenant was reaffirmed. Psalm 105 also matches Moses’ Song of Deliverance where Moses said that the Lord is powerful (Exod 15:6), great (Exod 15:7), and that the Lord shows unfailing love (Exod 15:13).

Later after Moses, the Israelites attempted to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant by taking the land of Canaan yet they failed for two reasons. One, is that it was the Lord who drove out the people living in the land of Canaan (Josh 24:18). Two, is because of Achan’s sin (Josh 7:16-26) and Israel’s treaty with the Gibeonites (Josh 9:3-36). Due to these two elements God did not allow Israel to take the entire land (Josh 13:1; 15:63).

The focus of Psalm 105 on the Abrahamic Covenant can be traced throughout the Bible from its beginning in Gen 12:1-3 to it being reaffirmed to David in 2 Sam 7:12-16. Later in the Bible, Matthew started his Gospel with the genealogy of Abraham (Matt 1:2) and traced Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all of which were mentioned in Pss 105. In the gospel of Luke, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob also are in the Luke’s genealogy (Luke 3:34).

As a culmination of the Bible’s focus on the Abrahamic Covenant Paul reminds believers what was meant by “seed” in the Abrahamic Covenant. In Galatians Paul tells believers that God gave the promises to Abraham and “his child” not “his children,” therefore that “child” is Christ (Gal 3:16). Christ is that ultimate seed as part of the Abrahamic Covenant and the history of Israel as seen in Psalm 105 ultimately points to Christ.

III. HOW TO APPLY PSALM 105 TO YOUR LIFE

A. 4 Principles from Psalm 105

1. The Lord is Great!

Psalm 105 emphasizes that the Lord is great because he has done wonderful deeds (v. 2) and he is strong (v. 4). Most of all, the Lord is great because he chose the children of Abraham to be his people (v. 6).

2. The Lord is Just!

Psalm 105 shows that the Lord is just because he stands by his covenant which he made to a thousand generations (v. 8). The Lord did not let anyone oppress the Israelites when they were few in number (vv. 12-14). He guided and protected his people when there was a famine in Canaan (vv. 16-17). He guided and protected his people when it was time to leave Egypt (vv. 26, 37-39).

3. God Wants Obedience

The writer of Psalm 105 ends this long psalm of 45 verses with an emphasis that the Lord wants obedience, “All this happened [regarding God’s promises to Abraham and Israel] so they would follow his decrees and obey his instructions. Praise the LORD!” (v. 45). With that final emphasis to this Psalm it is clear that the Lord wants obedience from his people.

4. The Old Testament Is Historical and Literal

Psalm 105 references eight historical people (Abraham and Jacob in v. 6, Abraham and Isaac in v. 9, Abraham in v. 42, Jacob in vv. 10, 23, Joseph in vv. 17, 19, 21, Pharaoh in v. 20, Moses in v. 26, Aaron in v. 26, Ham in v. 27 and two lands (Canaan in vv. 11, 13, 16, Egypt in vv. 17, 23, 28, 31, 37-38, 43). Psalm 105 provides a reminder for believers that the Old Testament is talking about real people in a real word.

B. 2 Sunday School Activities

1. Where is the Abrahamic Covenant in the Bible?

My Sunday School class has talked about the Abrahamic Covenant several times and I have shown them how it is woven throughout the entire Bible. I will ask them where the Abrahamic Covenant is in the Bible and how that covenant was reinterpreted based on God’s progressive revelation.

2. How did the Law and Abrahamic Covenant work together in the Bible?

In my Sunday School class I will ask the students how the Mosaic Law and Abrahamic Covenant worked together. Did the Mosaic Law cancel the Abrahamic Covenant? I will encourage them to use Galatians 3 to explain their answers.

C. My Personal Application of Psalm 105

Psalm 105 reminded me of God’s promise on and for my marriage. God has brought me a fantastic wife which I’ve been married to for three years. Through God’s providence of bringing our lives together it is clear that he decreed that I love my wife and stay committed to her for the rest of my life. While there might be difficult circumstances I need to remember that God has made a plan for us to be together and because of that I need focus on staying faithful to God’s will. In spite of what might happen or how I feel about my wife and our marriage, I need to stay obedient God decrees and stay committed to the promise he has led me make to my wife.

Christopher L. Scott

Posts Twitter Facebook Google+

Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I also may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."