O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
I. Israel went down into Egypt to buy food, and found one of themselves at the head of the government; and from that Divine provision flowed in natural order the whole after-Bible story. A local famine ministered to the scheme of the world's salvation; out of partial evil came universal good. The Gospel feast was remotely spread through the jealousy of Jacob's sons, and in the pressure of the great dearth. The presence of evil in God's world must ever remain an unfathomable mystery. The book of Genesis shows us, indeed, the beginning of evil upon the earth; but it represents evil as already existent, and as being brought into this world by a tempter not of this world. There is thus a chapter before the first chapter of Genesis, which remains unwritten. A lesser mystery than the creation of evil is the sufferance of evil. God, who created it not, permits it, uses it for His own purposes. The darkness which hangs about even the sufferance of evil, both moral and' physical, is in a measure lightened by the remembrance that He who permits evil sees at the selfsame moment, not as a future, but as a present, thing, the good which comes out of it. It was so with the history of Joseph. It was so with the scheme of man's redemption through Christ. And so with the discipline of our daily life. To us the multitude of events which mark the lapse of the years, even in the most uniform lives, appear to come tumbling upon one another, like the waves of the sea. He in whose hand is the soul of every living thing has laid long before the whole train of circumstances by which we are to be tried. The ministering angel was commissioned ere the messenger of Satan was permitted to buffet. Nay more, the increased hope and strength, all those high spiritual graces which are formed in saintly souls by endurance, were present things to the eternal eye, not visions of the future, when He arranged the trial.
II. From this doctrine flow several principles of faith and practice. (1) In the light of these truths, how strongly comes out to view the supernatural character of the commonest events in which we play our part! (2) A keen recognition of these "previsions of God" leads to spiritual repose in the midst of worldly disquiet. God employs evil for His purposes of good. Man may not do evil that good may come. Three great attributes of God account for the difference: (a) His infinite knowledge; (b) His certain control; (c) His perfect holiness.
Bishop Woodford, Sermons on Subjects from the Old Testament, p. 143.
References: Psalm 105:19.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxii., No. 1277. Psalm 105:24.—G. S. Barrett, Old Testament Outlines, p. 140. Psalm 106:4, Psalm 106:5.— Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxv., No. 1454; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 235. Psalm 106:8.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iii., No. 115. Psalm 106:9.—Ibid., vol. ii., No. 72. Psalm 106:13.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 259.
Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.
Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.
He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.
He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.
Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;
And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:
Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:
When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.
When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;
He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;
Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.
He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:
Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.
The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.
He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:
To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.
Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.
He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.
He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.
They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.
He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.
He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.
Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.
He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.
He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.
He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.
He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number,
And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.
He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.
He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.
Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.
He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.
The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.
He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.
For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.
And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:
And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;
That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD.