Where do you find joy, peace, contentment, and security? How are we to give thanks in the midst of difficult circumstances? Psalm 107, a psalm of thanksgiving, has some encouragement for us.
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A LITTLE BACKGROUND…
Context Clues: Imagery, metaphors, repeated words/phrases/ideas
Psalm 107 is a psalm of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving psalms are written in light of a personal or national crisis and are distinguished as the individual psalm of thanksgiving or a community psalm of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving psalms have two essential components, (1) the psalmist’s report of his crisis and (2) a statement or declaration that the crisis has passed and his deliverance is an accomplished fact.
A psalm of thanksgiving might include the following elements in its structure:
- Introduction – a call to give thanks, with an intention to worship, a reason for worship, or why worship is appropriate
- Report of crisis – records the nature of the crisis faced
- Deliverance – deliverance is stated as an accomplished fact
- Conclusion – an intent to praise God, a statement of God’s faithfulness
PAUSE TO READ AND REFLECT…
Take a moment to read through Psalm 107. Look for the components of a psalm of praise along with the imagery the psalmist uses to describe the situation.
Psalm 107 is a response to Psalm 106. For the purpose of context, it’s always helpful to read the psalms prior to and following the one you are studying. They do not always follow one another in any chronological order, but at times they will help inform the psalm you are studying, as in the case of Psalm 107.
- Psalm 107:1-3
- Psalm 107:4-9
- Psalm 107:10-16
- Psalm 107:17-22
- Psalm 107:23-32
- Psalm 107:33-43
Introduction 107:1-3 – Call to praise God and for those “redeemed” or “gathered” to tell their story!
We see four parallel rescues that God performs and there is a pattern in each of these:
- They present their distressful situation
- They cry out to the Lord in their trouble
- God delivers them from their distress
- A repeated phrase to give thanks to God
- An attribute of God related to their need in that particular situation
This Psalm is not the story of four different people groups, BUT four vivid, poetic ways of telling the one story of return from exile.
First section 107:4-32:
107:4-9 – lost in desert/wasteland – their appetites forever unfulfilled until they experience God’s unfailing love
107:10-16 – in prison/bondage – their terrible feelings of being trapped in a dark, sinful world; enslaved to forces from which they can’t escape until experience God’s unfailing love.
107:17-22 – suffering from disease (sin) – they are weak in a sick (sinful) world, losing their appetites and will to live until God rescues and heals them by His spoken Word and brings them out of the grave, delivers them from destruction
107:23-32 – storms/chaos of life in fallen world – the wild waves of the chaos of the world engulf them. Only the sovereign, covenant God, Yahweh, can still the storm and brings them home.
Each of these poetic expressions describes the initial experience of Israel being brought out of Egypt and then they evoke the wonder of being gathered back from exile in Babylon. BUT they find their ultimate fulfillment in Christ Jesus.
Second section 107:33-43:
107:33-42 – Covenant keeping God bringing his people…
- into judgment (33-34)
- into salvation (35-38)
- into discipline (39-40)
- and finally into joy (41-42)
107:33-42 – praises God for his power and his ability to reverse an existing situation…
- Positive to desolate
- Desolate to fruitful
- Raises the low and brings down the exalted
107:43 – all this one should heed and consider if wise.
Psalm 107 ends with the exhortation, “whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.”
LET’S APPLY IT…
The unchanging, unfailing love of the Father leads us through the ups and downs of life. His love is unchanging even as our experience varies from day to day and year to year in this world. BUT the last word will be that the upright will rejoice in the great rescue while the wicked face judgment, again echoing Psalm 1.
An attitude of gratitude and praise should mark our days. When we consider God’s covenant name, Yahweh, we are reminded that He is abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. He is full of grace and mercy. He is the all-sufficient, eternal, almighty Lord of all. He will reveal Himself in amazing ways and fill our lives with joy and awe when we take time to pause and consider who He is in the created world and in writing our story. Begin to cultivate a habit of praise and thanksgiving in all circumstances knowing as the psalmist records in Psalm 107 that God will hear and answer in time of crisis. His answer may not always be what we desire or expected, but it is always good and right. And most importantly He answers with Himself—His presence in our moments of life.
Jesus leads us out of exile to the new heaven and new earth awaiting us someday. While we wait, we reflect upon and rejoicing in His unfailing love and faithfulness knowing how the story ends one day when Christ returns. And we tell others our story of God’s unfailing love and faithfulness. We praise and give thanks as seen in the repeated refrain of this psalm of praise. Interestingly, the Hebrew language does not have a word for giving thanks, rather it is seen as part of praise—the result of praising God is gratitude expressed. Praise and give thanks to the Lord today for what He has done, is doing, and will do in your life!
What would be your Psalm 107? Write your story of how God has worked in your life and your express your gratitude for who He is and all His wondrous works. Remember, God rescues from despair for joy!
Rejoicing in Jesus!
©2020 Susan Cady, susancady.com, Dig In Bible Study