Tuesday, December 12, 2023

2023.12.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 107:1–22

Read Psalm 107:1–22

Questions from the Scripture text: What is the theme of this Psalm (Psalm 107:1a; cf. Psalm 107:8Psalm 107:15Psalm 107:21Psalm 107:31)? How, especially, does He show this goodness (Psalm 107:1b)? What happens to the objects of this steadfast love, and how should they respond (Psalm 107:2a)? From what has He redeemed them (verse 2b)? What has He done with them (Psalm 107:3)? What sort of things did He bring them through (Psalm 107:4-5)? What did they do (Psalm 107:6a)? And how did He respond (Psalm 107:6-7)? What does He do for whom (Psalm 107:9)? Then what was their condition (Psalm 107:10)? Why (Psalm 107:11)? What did the Lord do in response (Psalm 107:12)? Then what did they do (Psalm 107:13a)? And how did the Lord respond (Psalm 107:13-14)? How does Psalm 107:16 describe the Lord’s delivering them? What does Psalm 107:17 say was the cause of all their trouble? How bad did it get (Psalm 107:18)? Then what did they do (Psalm 107:19a)? And how did the Lord respond (verse 19b)? What did He especially use to deliver (Psalm 107:20)? What does Psalm 107:22 add this time?

How does the Lord prepare us to look to Him in distress? Psalm 107:1–22 prepares us for the opening portion of public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these twenty-two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that praising God for His mercy to sinners prepares them to look to Him when they most feel their need of that mercy. 

Psalm 107:1 and Psalm 107:43 give the Psalm its great theme: thanking YHWH for His covenant love (“mercy” in Psalm 107:1 and “lovingkindness” in Psalm 107:43 translate the Hebrew word for covenant/steadfast love). 

In this first half of the Psalm, we have three of the four occurrences of urging men to “give thanks to YHWH for His goodness and His wonderful works to the children of men” (Psalm 107:8Psalm 107:15Psalm 107:21; cf. Psalm 107:31). The fourth will deal with men in general. But in these three, that deal specifically with the Lord’s covenant people, there are several repeated components to these wonderful works.

The Lord’s saving His people. The very first thing for which the redeemed praise YHWH (Psalm 107:2a) is His redemption (verse 2b)—whether it’s gathering them out of the lands (Psalm 107:3), leading them by the right way (Psalm 107:7), bringing them out of bondage (Psalm 107:14), or healing them by His Word (Psalm 107:20).

His people’s repeated distresses. In Psalm 107:4-5, they are forlorn, hungry, thirsty, and desperate. In Psalm 107:10, they are in bondage on the verge of death. In Psalm 107:18 they despair of life to the point of losing interest in food. The Lord’s people in this world go through all manner of trouble.

His people’s crying out to Him. In Psalm 107:6a they cry out to YHWH. And again in Psalm 107:13. And again in Psalm 107:19

His answering them. Each of these cries is attached to his answering (Psalm 107:6b, Psalm 107:13b, Psalm 107:19b). 

Their sin against Him. Psalm 107:11 introduces the theme of their sinning against the Lord: “they rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High.” Psalm 107:17 repeats it: “Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted.” 

It is marvelous enough that the Lord pities His people in their creaturely weakness. But it is a marvel of forgiving grace that He hears us when we cry out from trouble that we have brought upon ourselves by folly and sin. Praise the Lord! We need to hear this, don’t we, gentle reader? For, we have often brought upon ourselves our distress. In such times, it is good for us to have had Scripture drive into our hearts that the Lord has mercy upon sinners like we are.

Let us sing sacrifices of thanksgiving and rejoicing (Psalm 107:22), giving thanks to YHWH for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men! And, with the Spirit driving this home to our hearts by the prayers He has given us to sing, we will come to Him in repentance when His chastenings bring us to an end of ourselves.

What are the worst distresses you have been in? How will you respond in your next one? How does praising the Lord with this Psalm prepare you to do so? What if the distress is your own fault, or has come upon you as a chastening for sin?

Sample prayer:  We give thanks to You, O Lord, for You are good. Your covenant love endures forever. You have redeemed us from trouble—even and especially the consequences of our sin. We cry out to You for help, even help just that we might worship You. Grant unto us to give thanks to You for Your goodness and for Your wonderful works to the children of men! Satisfy our longing souls, and fill our hungry souls with goodness. Send Your Word and help us. Grant unto us to sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving and declare Your works with rejoicing, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP107A “O Thank the LORD for He Is Good” or TPH107A “O Thank the Lord for He Is Good”

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