Monday, August 21, 2017
In 1833, the New York Sun began hiring street vendors to sell its daily newspapers on the streets of New York City. The publisher of the Sun, Benjamin Day, ran an advertisement in the help-wanted section, expecting to draw the interest of unemployed people. While he expected to draw in adults with the ad, instead he drew in children, the first of whom was a 10-year-old boy named Bernard Flaherty, who later became a stage comedian. Flaherty became the first newsboy, or newsie, hawking papers to passersby on the streets, declaring that day's news by calling out sensational headlines, such as "Double Distilled Villainy!" or "Cursed Effects of Drunkenness!". Throughout the mid-19th to early 20th century, boys like Flaherty could be heard well into the night crying out, "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!" as they tried to sell every last paper in their possession.
In Psalm 105, the psalmist, like a newsboy, is declaring the news about God's wondrous works. But, unlike a newsboy, his words are not just phrases to sensationalize a news story, but rather the truth about all that God had done for His people. The psalm begins by exhorting those who hear it or read it to proclaim God's wonderful deeds so that all people will know them and to sing God's praises as they tell of all of His wondrous works (Psalm 105:1-2). The psalm then recounts the things that God did for His people, beginning with His promise to Abraham, through to the exodus of His people from their captivity in Egypt, ending with a "hallelujah!" (Psalm 105:45).
God is still at work today. He works in the hearts and lives of believers, showing His mercy and grace in their times of trial and even in good times. When God works in our lives, showing His mighty hand through divine healing, deliverance from the bondage of addictions, restoration of marriages, and the many other provisions He supplies to His children, we should heed the words of Psalm 105 and proclaim what God has done for us, so that others will know of His wondrous works and deeds. Like the newsboys of the past, we should be ready to shout, "Extra! Extra! Hear all about it!"