URC Daily Devotion 28 August 2022

28 August 2022
Psalm 106

It is good to give thanks to you, Lord, 
to remember all you have done;;
then you will remember our praises
when you look on your people with love.

O give thanks to the Lord,
for God’s love endures forever;
O give thanks to the Lord,
for the Lord alone is good.

Our sin si the sin of our forebears:
we have wronged you and have done evil,
like those who once lived under bondage,
paid no need unto all you had done.

Our ancestors scorned all your wonders,
at the Red Sea questioned their God
they fell from their faith in the desert;
there they put you, O Lord, to the test.

Though time after time you would save them,
they in malice dared to defy you;
despite this, you came to their rescue
when you heard all their cries of distress.

O God save us now in your mercy;
bring us back from all that offends you.
Lord, look not alone at our evil,
but remember compassion and love.

Now blest be the Lord, God of Israel,
blest be God both now and forever,
Let nations and people cry, Amen!
Praise the Lord, hallelujah, Amen!

John L. Bell (b. 1949) © 1988 Wild Goose Resource Group, Iona Community, Scotland, GIA Publications
You can hear the tune, New 106th, here https://hymnary.org/media/fetch/155040


This worship Psalm combines elements of thanksgiving, confession, penitence and praise to God. The context is a retelling of Israel’s encounters with God. Repeated failures to accept God’s guidance has led to repeated distress in the life of the nation. It is not simply a failure to remember God’s word, but wilful behaviour on the nation’s part. This is not simply a litany of the failures of past days. The phrase ‘Our sin is the sin of our forebears’; brings the past into the present. Past failings persist in the life of the people today. They have not learned from their mistakes. 

The cry of the Psalmist is to consider all this and remember in penitence God’s goodness and graciousness towards them.  

We learn that God’s graciousness far exceeds the chosen people’s unfaithfulness.  It is celebrated in the repeated refrain of John Bell’s paraphrase of this psalm ‘O give thanks to the Lord, for God’s love endures forever’. Time and again, after recounting repeated failure, the repeated cry of the worshippers’ thanksgiving towards God is echoed. Their God is not a distant God, but one who enters into their lives to rescue them, and forgive them. Their final cry must be one of praise.

We who read or sing this Psalm today are encouraged to do likewise. We in the Church are asked to consider and remember days past and present in penitence. But we are not destined to regret and repeat the mistakes of past days. In the words of Timothy Dudley’s great hymn ‘Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided’: we sing ‘past put behind us, for the future take us. Lord of our lives to live for Christ alone’.


Gracious God
teach and train,
rebuke and inspire us. 
as we seek to follow in the footsteps 
of your Son, our Lord,
Jesus Christ.




Today’s writer

The Rev’d John A Young, retired minister of the National Synod of Scotland and member of Giffnock URC


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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