106. O Praise the LORD, for He Is Good

Text Information
First Line: O praise the LORD, for he is good
Title: O Praise the LORD, for He Is Good
Versifier: Marie J. Post (1985)
Meter: CMD
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Doxologies; Biblical Names & Places: Aaron; Biblical Names & Places: Egypt (4 more...)
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Composer: Lee Hastings Bristol, Jr. (1951)
Meter: CMD
Key: G Major

Text Information:

A penitential prayer recalling Israel's long history of rebellion and God's covenant faithfulness.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-5
st. 2 = vv. 6-12
st. 3 = vv. 13-18
st. 4 = vv. 19-23
st. 5 = vv. 24-31
st. 6 = vv. 32-46
st. 7 = vv. 47-48

Psalm 106 is a kind of twin to Psalm 105; it recalls Israel's history but focuses more on the people's rebellious acts while noting God's faithfulness despite their disobedience.

The psalmist opens with a call to praise the LORD for his goodness and mighty acts and asks for God's covenant mercy upon himself and the people of Israel (st. 1). He goes on to tell of Israel's disobedience against the LORD: already in Egypt they forgot God's miracles (v. 7; st. 2). In the desert they complained against God, and some of the people rose up against Moses (st. 3). At Mount Horeb (Sinai) they made an idol, and if not for Moses' intercession for them, God would have destroyed them (st. 4). Israel rejected God's promise of a "pleasant land," so God determined to scatter them; they worshiped the fertility god Baal, so God sent a plague to destroy them–but relented when Phinehas intervened for the sake of God's glory (st. 5). Israel again angered the LORD at Meribah, and they worshiped idols in the promised land. God gave them up to their enemies, but once again he relented when they cried out for mercy (st. 6). God's faithfulness gives the psalmist hope: in closing he cries, "Save us, a LORD our God, and gather us from the nations" (v. 47; see also vv. 4-5) so that the people may ever have cause to praise and thank the LORD (st. 7; notice the echo of v. 1).

Other psalms recounting Israel's history are 78,105,135, and 136. Marie J. Post (PHH 5) versified Psalm 106 in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
Worship that focuses on Israel's history; stanzas 1 and 7 can form a doxology.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

SEDGWICK, composed by Lee Hastings Bristol, Jr. (b. Brooklyn, NY, 1923; d. Syracuse, NY, 1979), in 1951, was first published in Hymns for Children and Grown-ups (1952) as a setting for the text "My Master Was a Worker" by William G. Tarrant. Bristol co-edited that hymnal with Harold W. Friedell. Virtually a rounded bar form (AA'BA"), SEDGWICK is a well-crafted tune that inspires dynamic congregational singing in parts, but it must not be rushed.

After earning a B.A. degree from Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, Bristol studied organ at Trinity College of Music, London, England, and completed graduate work at the Institute for International Studies, Geneva. From 1948 to 1962 he worked primarily in advertising and public relations for the family business, the Bristol-Myers Company in New York, and then served as president of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey, from 1962 to 1969.

A recipient of eleven honorary degrees, Bristol composed a number of anthems and edited two hymnal supplements, Songs for Liturgy and More Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1972), for the joint commission on church music of the Protestant Episcopal Church. He also published The Lamb and Other Carols (1951) and Hymns for Children and Grown-ups. In 1972 Bristol was honored as a Fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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