Psalm 106 (Psalms on the Trail)


“Then they refused the pleasant land and would not believe your promise.

They grumbled in their tents and would not obey the voice of the Lord.”

Psalm 106: 24-25

This seal was not paying a whit of attention to my approaching husband holding a camera. Its home is the sea, but at the moment it was stubbornly claiming the rock which had been warmed by the day’s sun.  Not until Rick was almost on top of it did the seal slide off of the wet stone into the strait of water separating Vancouver Island from little Quadra Island where Rick and I spent a week on my first sabbatical.  We stayed in a lodge run by the native peoples of British Columbia.  Along with eagles and minks, our lodge overlooked the shores of sea waters filled with beautiful pink and purple starfish.  I have heard news reports that the latter are now almost gone because of warming waters and pollution.

Psalm 106

So what does all this have to do with Psalm 106?  The seal’s stubbornness was in ignoring my husband’s approach (which fortunately for the seal was purely benevolent and not dangerous).  The downfall of the starfish was humankind’s ignorance of what damage they were causing to a delicate ecosystem.  But lest I point fingers at the seal, I know the seal’s lethargy: there were many mornings on the AT when I would rather have stayed motionless in my tent than arouse my aching body to go through yet another day of hiking.  And lest I point fingers at the supposed villains of pollution, there have been many opportunities when I, one human among many, could have made a positive difference for the environment and behaved in such a way as not to damage it further.  It is as much my responsibility as anyone’s that I may never see these pink and purple beauties again.

Once more, what does this have to do with Psalm 106?

I confess that I do not want to believe that if I were to live with less stuff and consume less energy and do without certain conveniences–it would be enough.  I confess that I do not believe God’s promise that less is more than enough, even though Jesus taught and lived that truth.  I confess that I grumble in my own house about not running the shower as long as I want.  I confess that I don’t obey the Lord’s invitation to believe in living simply. I confess it, even though I have been out on the trail and seen how so much is at stake!

The connection with Psalm 106 is that, in spite of the many things the people had seen God do over and over, the psalmist confesses that they consistently forget or persistently choose not to remember in order to do what they think is more important at any given moment.  To me that confession sounds humiliatingly familiar.


1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?

2. Or read all of Psalm 106 and see where these verses fit in.  

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that is a window of this verse’s meaning for you.

Tomorrow’s psalm will be Psalm 107.

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting a daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.


  1. What magnificent creatures.