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Bible: What Does Psalms 104-106 Teach Us About the Sovereignty of God?

Updated on August 21, 2016

The LORD's Creative Power


God: Sovereign or Finite?

Is God Sovereign over His universe, or is He Finite?

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Psalms 104-106: The LORD's Sovereignty/Summary Questions (Book Four)

"Bless the LORD"

The psalm begins as the previous one ended (namely, "Bless the LORD"), indicating that they may belong together.

Before taking the reader on a tour of nature, David extols God's greatness and majesty as its Creator (v. 1).

In the verses following, he shows how completely the LORD was and is in sovereign control of all things, from constructing the heavens and the earth, to using clouds and angels to serve Him (vv. 2-5; cf. Heb. 1:7), to presiding over the Flood and its aftermath (vv. 6-8).

The psalmist points out that God makes sure that the waters fill their proper place (v. 9) and the springs fulfill their intended purpose: to provide for the needs of mankind, beasts, birds, and vegetation (vv. 10-18).

He says that God even uses the sun and the moon to regulate the normal workdays of both man and beast (vv. 19-23).

David stands back in wonder at the wisdom the LORD employed not only to create all things in the earth and sea (vv. 24-26), but also to preserve them—and yes, even to take their life from them (vv. 27-30).

While contemplating this awesome LORD, he promises to dedicate his whole being to a life of praise to Him (vv. 31-35).

The psalm concludes as it began, except for a hallelujah surprise (v. 35b).

[Spending quality time daily meditating upon the wonders of creation and upon the LORD's sovereign goodness in giving them to us can contribute toward transforming our attitude toward life].

Worship and Prayer


Psalm 105

Exhortation to Remember God's Deeds

The author begins with a series of exhortations to God’s chosen ones (the seed of Abraham; the children of Jacob), encouraging them to give thanks, sing, and call upon the LORD; glory in, rejoice and seek Him, His face, and His strength; remember His deeds and words, and make them known to other peoples (vv. 1-6).

[In other words, maintain an active life full of prayer, praise, worship, meditation, and witness.

Fully engage your whole being in these outward expressions; note the psalmist’s emotional involvement].

After emphasizing the LORD's unconditional and eternal land grant covenant with Abraham and its confirmations to Isaac and Jacob (vv. 7-12; cf. Gen 12:1-3), the psalmist provides a record of God's protection and salvation of His anointed through the years (vv. 13-15; see 1 Chronicles 16: 8-22).

[To whom does the Lord refer when He mentions “anointed ones” and “prophets” in verse 15—the patriarchs or the nation?]

From the time of Joseph in Egypt (vv. 16-22), to the exodus under Moses and Aaron, before which historic event He sent the ten plagues (vv. 23-36), to the sojourn in the desert (vv. 37-41), the LORD remembered (that is, took action upon) His covenant and gave them the land (vv. 42-45).

[Reviewing how God has saved us from death—spiritually and physically—and provided for our needs should motivate us to obey His word and praise Him].

John MacArthur--Pastor-Teacher

False Worship


Psalm 106

Exhortation to Give Thanks to the LORD

After exhorting the people to give thanks to the LORD for a two-fold reason (namely, His goodness and His everlasting mercy), the psalmist subsequently confesses that no one can adequately praise God for all He has done (vv. 1-2; cf. 1 Chron. 16:34).

Nevertheless, he regards as happy those who live righteous lives (v. 3).

He himself desires to experience the same covenant grace that the LORD showers upon His people, so that he can then witness and join in their worship of Him (vv. 4-5).

[The psalmist writes as if he is not yet part of the covenant community.

The “salvation” of which he speaks must be a national deliverance “from among the Gentiles” (see 106:47).

Note the threefold blessing that he wishes to receive (v. 5)].

From this desire for national and personal forgiveness during the time he wrote this psalm, the historian under the Spirit's inspiration launches out on a lengthy review of Israel's rebellion and God's salvation recorded in Exodus and Numbers.

The author highlights the incident at the Sea of Reeds (vv. 6-12) and the various times Israel disobeyed in the wilderness, including their lusting for meat (vv. 13-15),

Dathan and Abiram’s envy against Moses and Aaron (vv. 16-18), and the nation’s worship of the golden calf (vv. 19-20; cf. Ex. 32).

He notes that only through Moses' intercession did God choose to spare them (vv. 21-23).

[The writer emphasizes that Israel forgot the LORD and His works (vv. 13, 21)].

The writer also records incidents where Israel sinned grievously:

First, they murmured against God (vv. 24-27);

Second, they worshiped idols at Peor (which Phinehas quelled with his righteous act of jealousy) [vv. 28-31];

Third, they rebelled at the waters of Meribah (where Moses' rash words caused him great loss) [vv. 32-33]; and

Fourth, they neglected to separate themselves from the world, resulting in abominable practices when they entered the Land (vv. 34-39).

Consequently, God's wrath fell, placing the nation into their enemies' power (vv. 40-42).

Verses 43-46 summarize what repeatedly occurred: divine deliverance, national rebellion, Israel’s subjugation to an enemy, God’s covenant mercy. [See the book of Judges].

When he returns to writing about the present, the psalmist requests salvation from the Gentiles (v. 47), and then praises God (v. 48; cf. 1 Chron. 16:35, 36).

[“Book Four” ends with a psalm that rehearses a familiar theme: Israel's rebellion and God's covenant faithfulness (chesed)].


1. What psalm especially encourages the elderly righteous to press on?

2. According to Psalm 93, why can God never see defeat?

3. What event do the psalmists eagerly anticipate?

4. What must be the response of believers to this event when it occurs?

5. What opinion must the believer hold about himself before God?


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