Psalm 107 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence
This psalm is the opener to book five, which is the last of the major sections in the Psalter. It picks up on the same themes as Psalms 105 and 106 in book four, which also made this same exhortation: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” But in this psalm the author provides a number of various scenarios in which one ought to give thanks unto the Lord for his goodness and love in the midst of very difficult circumstances, and at the conclusion of each of those scenarios the same call to give thanks is given (vv.8,15,21,31). This call to thanksgiving is not only for the Lord’s ears but also for the ears of our brothers and sisters that we might tell our story of the Lord’s many deliverances to each another and thus encourage each other to trust in the Lord’s goodness and love.
There is a recurring pattern in each of these scenarios: first God’s children are suffering in some particular way usually due to their own sin and foolishness, but then they cry out to the Lord and the Lord hears their prayers. He delivers them in some marvelous way through his goodness and love, and then the exhortation to give thanks unto the Lord is given.
In the first scenario, reminiscent of Israel’s forty years of desert wanderings, the psalmist tells of some wandering in wastelands with nowhere to settle down, no food to eat or water to drink, but they cried out to the Lord and he delivered them. Therefore “let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,” for “he satisfies the thirsty and fill the hungry with good things.”
In the second scenario, which probably speaks of the remnant in Babylon, some were prisoners in dark dungeons because of their rebellion against the Lord’s commands, but when they cried out to the Lord, he delivered them from their chains. Then the same exhortation is given to give thanks this time particularly that the Lord breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.
In the third scenario, the author speaks more generally of Israel’s affliction due to sin and foolishness, how they cried out to the Lord and God delivered them by sending out his word to heal them. Once again they are told to give thanks for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds and tell of his works with songs of joy.
In the fourth scenario, he speaks of some going down to the sea in ships as merchants and traders upon the sea and how the Lord himself stirred up trouble for them through the winds and the waves, but when they cried out to the Lord, he calmed the storm. Again, let them give thanks to the Lord in the assembly of God’s people and praise him in the council of the elders.
Then, beginning in vv.33ff, the psalmist reminds Israel how in a moment the Lord can turn a river into a desert or a desert into pools of water, how he can turn a fruitful land into uninhabitable territory or turn a wasteland into a paradise depending upon his desire to curse or the bless. And his final exhortation is not to give thanks to the Lord but to ponder these great deeds of the Lord that we might know that He is the one who has brought these trials upon us and that He also is the one who can deliver us from these trials when we call upon his name. Therefore, let us trust the Lord in the midst of our trials, cry out to him for help and give thanks to him when he puts on display his marvelous deed and assures us of his goodness and love.