Tuesday, December 19, 2023

2023.12.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 107:23–43

Read Psalm 107:23–43

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom does Psalm 107:23 refer? What do they see (Psalm 107:24)? How do wind and waves happen (Psalm 107:25)? How impressive are these (Psalm 107:26a–b)? With what effects upon mere men (Psalm 107:26-27)? To Whom do they cry (Psalm 107:28a)? What does He do (verse 28b)? What new command (cf. Psalm 107:25) does He give (Psalm 107:29, cf. Matthew 8:26; Luke 8:24)? What effect does this now have upon those men (Psalm 107:30a)? How do they see their trip home (verse 30b)? How should men respond to His goodness (Psalm 107:31a)? To His wonderful works to the sons of men (verse 31b)? Where should they give Him this thanks (Psalm 107:32a)? Among whom (verse 32b)? What are the wonderful works in Psalm 107:33-34a? Why does He do this (Psalm 107:34b)? What kind and tender wonderful works does He do (Psalm 107:35-38)? Especially for whom (Psalm 107:39)? What does He do with their oppressors (Psalm 107:40)? What does He do with the oppressed (Psalm 107:41)? How do the righteous respond (Psalm 107:42a)? What must iniquity do (verse 42b)? Who observe the personal working of God in the events of providence (Psalm 107:43a)? What does this enable them to understand (verse 43b)?

What does the Lord display in times of great terror and deliverance? Psalm 107:23–43 prepares us for the opening portion of public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these twenty-one verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that, God is the Redeemer and Deliverer, Who is always acting according to His covenanted love in every moment of history. 

The first half of the Psalm had focused upon God’s wonderful works to the children of men in the context of His delivering Israel. The wisdom of His providence can be seen in how helpless and sinful a people they were. And yet, He powerfully and mercifully delivered them over and over again. God’s wonderful works are seen in all His creation, and all His providence, but particularly in that most special of all providence: His redemption.

The Lord Who commands the storm. Now, in the second half of the Psalm, He turns to another instance that displays His wondrous works in His general providence, and especially in His providential acts of deliverance. On the sea (Psalm 107:23), men see (Psalm 107:24) a hint of His almighty power. And this is especially so when He commands a storm. Notice that the language of command is here in Psalm 107:25, but not in Psalm 107:29

The men see not just wind (Psalm 107:25a) and waves (verse 25b) but YHWH’s works (Psalm 107:24a) YHWH’s wonders (verse 24b). As much as the wind and waves dwarf us, they themselves are dwarfed by the God Who commands them. Truly, if we thought plainly and clearly enough to see His divine nature and power behind every part of creation and every moment of providence, our souls would always “melt” (Psalm 107:26c), and we would always cry out as those undone (Psalm 107:27-28a). When Isaiah was given, by faith and vision, to understand that it is not just the heavens but particularly whole earth (!) that is full of God’s glory (cf. Isaiah 6:3c), he too responded by the realization that he is undone and always before YHWH of hosts (cf. Isaiah 6:5).

The Lord Who is continually in command. So when the Lord gives us to see the greatness that is behind all of His providence in a specific providence like a storm at sea, He opens our eyes to bring us to an end of ourselves. This is why the disciples were more terrified after the calm (cf. Mark 4:41) than they had been in the storm. Christ is YHWH the Creator, the God of providence. He commands not only the stillness (Psalm 107:29) but the storm (Psalm 107:25).  And it is the Creator Himself Who has given Himself to be our righteousness and our atonement!

Providence as a call to worship. All men should give thanks to God for all of His goodness. Israel were not generally a sea-faring people. Even Solomon’s sea trade required a joint effort with a nation who had that expertise. But it is God Who is being good to all men, all the time. The Great Commission is not just a duty upon the church, seeking to make disciples from all nations. The Great Commission is a duty on every last man, woman, and child on earth. They have been shown goodness by God. Let them come into His assembly and praise Him in the company of His elders (Psalm 107:32).

Let men learn to take providence personally. And when they come into events like Psalm 107:33-34, let them at least ask whether such troubles have been occasioned by specific wickedness. Let us take all painful providence as an opportunity to humiliate ourselves before God in repentance. But let us also see all pleasant occurrences, such as in Psalm 107:35-38, as personal (!) and merciful providence from our God.

History as a whole as a call to worship. Those who domineer over others forget that they are before the face of the God Who will pour contempt upon them (Psalm 107:39-40). Let not those who are afflicted forget the final mercy and full mercy that comes upon all who are righteous in Christ (Psalm 107:41-42). This is what wisdom observes in the occurrences of history (Psalm 107:43a): continual expressions (“lovingkindness” is plural in the original) of the covenant, steadfast love of YHWH!

The Lord give you such wisdom, dear reader. The Lord give you to see His personal acts in all of history. The Lord give you to see His covenanted love, continually doing everything to secure its object. And the Lord give you to respond with thanks for His goodness and praise for His wonderful works to the children of Adam (singular in the original, throughout the Psalm)!

What difficulties has the Lord brought you through that were so great that you couldn’t see any hope or help and were made to cry out to Him most urgently and most completely? What was He displaying about all His providence? What was He displaying about every deliverance and every providence? How will you respond to more impressive providence, in order to condition your heart to respond this way to every providence?

Sample prayer:  We praise You, O God of storms and of calm, for displaying to us Your works and Your wonders—and, most of all, for displaying Yourself to us in Your Son, our Lord Jesus. We have cried out to You in the distress of our soul, and You have delivered us, and brought us into the quiet of gladness toward You. You are guiding us home to Yourself. We give thanks to You, Lord, for Your goodness, and for Your wonderful works to the children of men! We come now to exalt You in the assembly of the people, and to praise You in the company of the elders. Truly, we see Your justice and rejoice. Let all sinfulness stop its mouth. Give us the wisdom to observe and understand Your covenant love in Christ, we ask through Him, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP107DE “To Those Who Sail the Sea” and “He Changes Streams” or TPH107A “O Thank the Lord for He Is Good”

No comments:

Post a Comment