Psalm 106 begins with words of celebrative praise: “Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” The psalmist then begins to recount the faithfulness of the Lord toward His people. He calls the listeners attention back to the Exodus and how the Lord delivered His people from bondage.
In verse 13, the theme changes: “But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold. In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for…”
A few things that deserve our attention:
(1) God is faithful, but we are forgetful. God’s nature does not change. 2 Timothy 2:13 says, that the Lord “remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” God’s character is faithfulness, so He will always respond in that way. But Paul goes on in his letter to Timothy to say, “Keep reminding God’s people of these things” (2 Timothy 2:14). Why? Because we can be just as forgetful as the children of Israel were.
(2) God has a plan, but we are impatient. The Lord’s will is perfect, but He does not operate on the same timetable as we do and He also has a perspective we do not have. When God doesn’t do things the way we want them or doesn’t do things with the timing we desire, we get frustrated and may choose to “jump the gun” and act on our own. Let’s not forget that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). If we believe that He is faithful, then we know we can trust His plan.
(3) God has a desire for us, but we give in to our own desires. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). We tend to settle for less than God’s best for us. We seek to meet our own needs and fulfill our own desires. When we do, we sacrifice God’s best. Like a spoiled child we whine for a cold bologna sandwich when God is busy preparing a feast just for us.
(4) God calls us to righteousness, but we put Him to the test. Paul writes, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). Sadly, we live as if our choices don’t have an impact beyond the immediate gratification we receive. We act as if God doesn’t see us or if He does then He doesn’t care much about it. Although it is true that we will never reach perfection this side of heaven, that fact does not mean we can live as if God will merely roll His eyes at us and chuckle at our goofiness. “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7)
(5) Sometimes God’s greatest judgment is to give us what we want. When we want something and don’t get it, we tend to think God is holding out on us. We may complain that life isn’t fair and even doubt the goodness of God. In reality, giving us what we want can be the absolute worst thing God could do. When we crave things that are contrary to the Lord’s desires for us, we are just asking for trouble. When God says “no” it may be frustrating to us, but His reluctance to let us have our way may simply be His divine protection for us. In Romans 1:24 we read, “Therefore God gave them over…” What a tragic statement! “Okay, it’s not what I want for you. It’s not best for you. But if you are hellbent on going that way despite my warnings, then go… but it won’t be with my blessing.” We need to be awfully careful what we crave especially if those cravings collide with the revealed will of God, because the Lord may just let us have our way.