Psalm 107

Book Five

Let the Redeemed of the LORD say so (ESV). Thanksgiving to the LORD for His Great Works of Deliverance (NKJV). The LORD Delivers Men from Manifold Troubles (NASB). God Saves from Many Dangers (ICB).

The last verse of Psalm 107 is such a good reminder and possibly sums up the meaning behind this song…

Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the LORD.
Psalm 107:43 NLT

The Old Testament is a story of the children of Israel. If we know nothing of God’s great love and faithfulness it would read as a history book, telling the tale- the ups and downs- of the Israelite people. But the Truth is that the Old Testament is God’s Story of redemption. The story of His love and faithfulness throughout time. A beautiful story of redemption from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, God is faithful.

If we are wise, we will read and study and pray in order to understand this story.

It is, after all, God’s Story.

If we are wise, we will take it to heart. God is faithful.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Has the LORD redeemed you?
Then speak out!
Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.
For he has gathered the exiles from many lands, from east and west, from north and south.
Psalm 107:1-3 NLT

Psalm 107 sings of God’s deliverance. Now, whether that is from slavery in Egypt or the miraculous gathering of scattered Israelites from Babylon, Bible scholars are not certain. But does it really matter “which” time God redeemed us? What matters is that He did. That He does, and He will.

This remarkable psalm praises God’s deliverance in four wonderful pictures . . . The four pictures show that everyone’s story is different, and yet everyone’s story is the same.

Pastor David Guzik,

In Psalm 107, God has redeemed and saved His children. He has gathered them back to Himself. They were scattered and lost from east to west, north to south, but He pulled them together and brought them home. What a beautiful story it is!

The psalmist uses four “pilgrim stories” as metaphors to describe God’s deliverance: weary travelers lost in the wilderness, prisoners in bondage, the sick near death, and mariners on dangerous seas.

Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless.
Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died.
"LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress.
He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live.
Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
Psalm 107:4-9 NLT

God is faithful. Has He redeemed you? Then speak it! Tell others how He found you when you were lost in the wilderness. Tell others how He gave you what you needed when you were thirsty and hungry and near death.

Praise the Lord for His great love.

Not only does the psalmist call the lost to praise because they were found, but he also calls the rest of us to praise the Lord along with them! Do you know someone who was lost and is now found? Praise the Lord for His great love and for the wonderful things He has done for them!

Are you lost right now? Call to the Lord. He will lead you to safety, to a city where you can live. He will draw you home into His arms like this first “pilgrim story.”

Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery.
They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High.
That is why he broke them with hard labor; they fell, and no one was there to help them.
"LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.
He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; he snapped their chains.
Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
For he broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron.
Psalm 107:10-16 NLT

Here is the second “pilgrim story” of prisoners that God set free. Some commentators point out that this can only be in reference to Israel (looking at verse 11) and probably during the time of exile in Babylon.

for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
Psalm 107:11 ESV

My opinion is this story is any of us who find ourselves in the bondage of sin. We read the sad story of prisoners in chains and the wonderful redeeming grace of God the Father, but we know that He has saved us all from an eternity of chains and imprisonment. God set the Israelites free; He called them home. But He also literally broke the chains of sin and death when He sent His Son, Jesus, to die in our place. He snapped the chains of sin and darkness that would have a hold on our souls for all eternity… but no longer.

There are still many who sit in the darkest cell, in the deepest of gloom, in iron chains of misery. Sin has a hold of many hearts. The world is full of evil.

But Jesus broke the chains of sin and darkness with the light of His love, with the love and faithfulness and mercy of the Father.

All it takes is a cry for help. “LORD, help!”

The Lord’s deliverances are of the most complete and triumphant kind, he neither leaves the soul in darkness nor in bonds, nor does he permit the powers of evil again to enthrall the liberated captive. What he does is done for ever. Glory be to his name.

Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
Some were fools; they rebelled and suffered for their sins.
They couldn't stand the thought of food, and they were knocking on death's door.
"LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death.
Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.
Psalm 107:17-22 NLT

The psalmist explains the third “pilgrim story” and how God’s glorious redemption of the ones who were sick and suffering because of choices that they made.

Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities
Psalm 107:17 NIV

Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
Psalm 107:17 NKJV

Some of you were sick because you'd lived a bad life, your bodies feeling the effects of your sin; you couldn't stand the sight of food, so miserable you thought you'd be better off dead.
The Message

The author here is not saying all sickness is caused by sin. What he is saying is that sin leads to sickness, disease, suffering, pain even in our physical bodies. And in this case, when God redeemed His children, He called them out of the sin that caused them physical suffering and into His healing grace.

The people cried out again to their Lord, “LORD, help!” And like the good, good Father that He is, He spoke. God commanded healing with His words. The Word of the Lord is power and healing.

Then the psalmist calls us to praise, let them sacrifice in thanksgiving and sing praises so that all will hear of the wondrous healing power of the Lord.

Some went off to sea in ships, plying the trade routes of the world.
They, too, observed the LORD's power in action, his impressive works on the deepest seas.
He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves.
Their ships were tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror.
They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits' end.
"LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.
He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.
What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor!
Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation and before the leaders of the nation.
Psalm 107:23-32 NLT

The psalmist ends with the fourth “pilgrim story.” Those who do business on the sea have seen the mighty power of God, but the Israelite people were not a seafaring people. They did not seek the open sea as other groups of people have throughout history. However, the psalmist still speaks of redemption upon the sea. He tells of a fierce storm and the calmness after.

He speaks and a mighty wind stirs up the waves of the sea! The sailors reel and stagger aboard their ship. They are afraid and see death coming for them. There is no hope.

But… they pray. They call to God, “LORD, help!”

Prayer is good in a storm. We may pray staggering and reeling, and pray when we are at our wit’s end. God will hear us amid the thunder and answer us out of the storm.

Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892

The Creator calms the storm “into a whisper.” He still the waves with His word. God’s Word brings peace. God’s Word brings back the calm. A good reminder that when life is like a great storm, whether it’s all around us or within our hearts and minds, the answer is in God’s Word. Open His Word. Read His Word. He will give you peace.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

The storm calmed; the waves stilled as God brought His children safely into harbor. What a beautiful picture of God’s faithfulness.

Praise the Lord for His great love. Praise Him for the wondrous works He has done. Tell others. Declare before all the greatness of God. Speak of God’s love before the leaders of nations and the elders of the people.

He changes rivers into deserts, and springs of water into dry, thirsty land.
He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands, because of the wickedness of those who live there.
But he also turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into springs of water.
He brings the hungry to settle there and to build their cities.
They sow their fields, plant their vineyards, and harvest their bumper crops.
How he blesses them!
They raise large families there, and their herds of livestock increase.
Psalm 107:33-38 NLT

God’s judgment upon the wicked, and His provision upon the faithful.

The God who has authority over the stormy seas can also transform creation itself. The transformation can be from good to bad (a fruitful land into barrenness) if the goal is the judgment of the wicked.

Pastor David Guzik,

The same land that is bare and dry, God will transform into all that His children need. When we seek after Him, when we follow His ways, He will provide. God is all that we need. He even uses His creation to provide or to teach and remind.

He turneth the wilderness into a standing water. With another turn of his hand he more than restores that which in judgment he took away.

Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
When they decrease in number and become impoverished through oppression, trouble, and sorrow, the LORD pours contempt on their princes, causing them to wander in trackless wastelands. But he rescues the poor from trouble and increases their families like flocks of sheep. The godly will see these things and be glad, while the wicked are struck silent. Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the LORD.
Psalm 107:39-43 NLT

The righteous shall see it, and rejoice. Divine providence causes joy to God’s true people; they see the hand of the Lord in all things, and delight to study the ways of his justice and of his grace.

Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892

Verse 43 is it… This is God’s Story. His story of redemption and faithfulness throughout time. On every page, God tells the story of His great love.

Let whoever is wise pay attention to these things and consider the LORD's acts of faithful love.
Psalm 107:43 HCSB

Father in heaven, you are good and faithful and merciful. Throughout time, you have provided and loved and cared for your children. Help us to read the stories and understand; help us to see, through it all, the story of your great, great love. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for providing for us. Thank you for watching over us. Amen.

He xoxo

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