How you tell a story is everything. Tell a familiar story to children but leave a key moment out and they will call you on it. Leaving something out can make as big of an impact as changing the ending. No story was more familiar to the Jewish people than the Exodus story. That is why the telling of that story in Psalm 105 is so interesting.

If you know the story and are paying attention, you notice the glaring omission. It mentions neither the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai nor the sins of Israel in the Wilderness. The main thing is does is tell the story of Israel from the promise of the land to Abraham to the possession of the land in the time of Joshua. God promises, delivers, protects, and keeps his promises. It is drawing attention to who God is and what he has done, not what Israel did or should do.

So why might the writer of this psalm tell the story in this way? Stephen told his version of the story in the book of Acts to highlight the perennial resistance of the people of God to his messengers. The writer of this psalm, however, is trying to draw our attention to God’s character. Scholars speculate that it was written at a low point in Israel’s history, probably after Jews had returned from the Babylonian captivity to the disappointment of a diminished people and an unimpressive Temple. This psalm was meant to teach and remind the people that the key to their long history was always God and his character, not their failures or their circumstances.

I think it is a great psalm for our day. We are living in a post-Christian nation. Christianity is daily losing the privileged place it once held in our culture. We may come to know more and more Christians who have lost jobs or can’t make as good of a living because of their faithfulness to Christ and adherence to the Christian worldview. Some of this loss of influence is probably our own fault. This psalm reminds us that there are times that you don’t despair about your circumstances and your failure. Of course you repent when necessary; but in those times, you worship God and put your hope in the One who has always been the hope of the people of God.