Today’s psalms include 107, 116, 118, & 125. I want to focus on Psalm 107 and urge you to read it in its entirety. It is a beautiful and encouraging read. My NASB aptly entitles this psalm, “The Lord Delivers Men from Manifold Troubles.” The last verse gives us pause and tells us we need to read this psalm several times so we can really see what it is God wants us to see: “Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord. (107:43)
The psalm is laid out in sections; in each, we are given a different scenario that has brought trouble and distress, but the answer is always the same. The root cause of trouble is identified in verse 2: “the hand of the adversary.” Who is our adversary, our foe? It is Satan, the devil, who roams the earth like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He is the tempter, the accuser, the one who stirs up our fleshly nature to sin against God, taking every advantage of our weaknesses, with intent to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).
Because of the adversary’s temptations and our own stubborn and rebellious will, the psalmist says we end up in hopeless situations. Finding no way (v. 4); stumbling, with no one to help (v. 12), in darkness, in the shadow of death (v. 14), afflicted (v 17), at our wits’ end (v. 27). Four times the psalmist tells us what to do: “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress.” (v. 6, 13, 19, 28) God acts intentionally and specifically to rescue and save, and four times the psalmist tells us how to respond to His help: “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind.” (v. 8, 15, 21, 31)
See the pattern? We find ourselves in hopeless circumstances because we’ve listened to the wrong counsel…we’ve followed the adversary down a path that’s destroying our lives. The wrong response is to go on in our own wisdom, trying to fix it ourselves. The only thing we need to do is cry out to the Lord. This crying out is not just asking God to fix the situation; it is asking God to fix us! It is a surrender, a giving up. The New Testament calls it repentance, in which we recognize our need and turn away from our sin. God will hear, and He will act. He will respond. Jesus said, “the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37)
The natural response of the person who recognizes God has rescued and saved him will be a heart of thankfulness and a recognition that it was indeed God’s hand. We won’t just chalk it up to coincidence, thankful for a reprieve in our suffering, and go back to our old ways.
Are you wise? Then take heed and ponder the ways that you’ve seen God’s hand in your life. Are you truly thankful? Do you recognize He’s been watching out for you all this time, protecting you from what could have been irreversible and disastrous, even life-ending? Then give Him thanks – the real gratitude of a repentant, surrendered heart. Let him have all of you in response to His everlasting love and goodness.