This morning’s Psalm is a rehearsal of the covenant relationship between God and Israel. It is focused particularly on the times when Israel was rescued from Egypt and on their wanderings in the wilderness.
On the whole it is a rehearsal of failure. Time and again, God provides for Israel, but each time they forget and start to whine. When God sends punishment on them, they turn around, briefly, but soon are back to their old ways. They are like a child who promises do what their parent asks, and then as soon as the parent’s back is turned go back to doing that which they said they weren’t going to do.
Yet through all this, God continues to show mercy. He never allowed them to be destroyed, and perhaps more importantly, never allowed them to destroy themselves. To read the history of the children of Israel is to read a history of a people bent on self-destruction, but a people who were saved from this, time and again, by God’s great mercy.
During our Lenten self-examination, it is good to look for areas where we are self-destructive, in our relationship with God, with others, and with ourselves, and to remember that God is merciful when we seek Him.