From Psalms 106-107
Psalm 107 is an old poem which has been modified and reinterpreted to cater for a new situation. Some think the original was used in the temple for thanksgiving. People would give thanks who had survived some sort of crisis. Four different stories are cited as examples of people who have been redeemed by the LORD. Have you been redeemed by the LORD? Could you add your story to theirs?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Ps 106.1-48; Book Four; Unknown; Save us, O LORD and gather us from among the nations
Ps 107.1-43; Book Five; Unknown; Let the Redeemed of the LORD Say So
Passage and Comments
The psalm begins instructing his listeners on the right response to God and his character. He calls upon the redeemed to reflect upon the LORD and allow their knowledge of his character to change them.
107 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. (Ps 107:1–3)
The psalmists does not specifically address Israel. He addresses ‘the redeemed’. The expression comes from the slave market. They redeemed from slavery by the LORD.
So the psalmist specifically addresses those who have experienced deliverance from slavery and are indebted to the LORD. Understandably the redeemed know the LORD as good and should give thanks to Him.
His scope is broad. The redeemed are gathered from the lands and in all four directions, representing all the earth. The LORD redeems people from everywhere.
The psalm now shares some of the stories of these redeemed. They have the same repeating pattern;
- Some people are in trouble
- They cry out to the LORD for help
- The LORD delivers them from distress
- They are called to give him thanks and to tell others
4 Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in;
5 hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.
8 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
9 For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (Ps 107:4-9)
He saves this first group from wandering in the desert wastes. They were hungry and thirsty.
There are many in the world without a home. Hungry and thirsty. In trouble.
They cried to the LORD in their trouble. The LORD leads them to a city and satisfies them. Perhaps he is speaking about Jericho. Perhaps Jerusalem. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
The main point is the LORD delivered them from their distress and satisfied their souls. He redeemed them.
The psalmist moves on to another group.
10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help.
13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart.
15 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron. (Ps 107:10-16)
These others were in prison about to die. Their punishment was just because they had rebelled against the LORD.
They cried to the LORD in their trouble.
He delivered them from their distress. Freed them from slavery. The psalmist calls them to give thanks to the LORD.
17 Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.
21 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy! (Ps 107:17–22)
This third group also sinned against the LORD. They became fools and their situation worsened. Like the second group, they also were about to die. They cry out to the LORD in their trouble.
The LORD delivers them from distress.
He heals them of their sin and delivers them from those who would kill them. Once again the psalmist call them to give thanks to the LORD. He instructs them to offer sacrifices to the LORD and to go out and evangelise. Tell the world of what he has done for them.
23 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. (Ps 107:23–32)
The first group was wandering in desert places. The second in a prison. Their third surrounded by enemies. The last group is at sea. Four directions, four groups, and four places.
This final group is witness to the LORD’s power over the seas. They are raised up high and lowered down by the power of the waves he commands. They cry to the LORD in their trouble and he answers their prayer. He makes the storm still. Sends them safely to their destination.
They are called to give him thanks and to tell others of what he has done.
The psalmist turns to describe what the LORD does in his creation.
33 He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants.
35 He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in;
37 they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield.
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish.
39 When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
40 he pours contempt on princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks.
42 The upright see it and are glad, and all wickedness shuts its mouth. (Ps 107:33-42)
On one hand He dries the land up because the inhabitants sin against him. On the other he blesses the hungry and the needy with shelter, food and offspring.
The LORD does not like to see people oppressed.
When the righteous look on at what the LORD does they are pleased. The wicked are silenced.
The psalmist concludes, pointing people to the LORD.
43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD. (Ps 107:43)
Story of Israel
The psalm reminds us the people in the Old Testament expect the LORD to work in the everyday. They have a great appreciation for creation and the order of things. They see God working behind the scenes all the time. Bringing justice to bear, caring for those who call out to him, looking out for the needy and the oppressed.
People like the psalmist are constantly reminding the people of what the LORD has done and what he is doing. They have their own form of evangelism. They are instructed to go out among the people and share of what the LORD has done for them.
Story of Jesus
The psalm repeatedly calls people to ‘thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man’. They should do so because the LORD has delivered them out of their distress.
In the gospel Jesus makes a similar point. He recognises the inner motivation of one who is thankful because of the forgiveness she has received.
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.
39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” (Lk 7:36–39)
Not all people understood the profound effect Jesus had on her. Yes she was a sinner. But after meeting Jesus and experiencing his forgiveness she was changed and immensely thankful.
40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”
41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Lk 7:40–50)
They cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love and his wondrous works!
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.