September 7th – Les Kovacs Psalm 107
Observe: Psalm 107 celebrates God’s steadfast love for His people. It’s a divine love that endures despite their waywardness, and through which God redeems HIs people.
Verse 1 opens with “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”, and is followed by an invitation for the redeemed to tell the story of how the Lord rescued them from their troubles.
Verses 4-9 lists the lost who wandered the deserts hungry and thirsty, whom the Lord leads to the city via the straight way where He feeds the hungry and satisfies the thirsty.
Verses 10-16 lists the prisoners who sat in darkness because they rebelled against God’s commands, and so they are forced into hard labour and stumble in the dark. God led them out of their darkness and broke the chains that bound them in despair.
Verses 17-22 lists the fools who suffered afflictions because of their rebellious iniquities. God led them out of their distress and healed them with His word.
Verses 23-32 list the victims who suffered and were lost through the actions of others, and they were unable to save themselves. For these people, God clamed the storm and guided them to safe harbour.
In each of these groupings of verses, it is after they people call out to Him for help that God rescues them from their calamities, and the psalmist calls on the people to “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,”
Then, verses 33-38 describe the power and the mercy of God. Because of the people’s wickedness, He turned the rivers into deserts a as He turns deserts and fruitful land into a salt waste. Yet because of His mercy, He turns the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing spring. In these paces the people settled and flourished because of the Lord’s blessings.
Verses 39-42 compares the contempt that God has for unjust rulers, as He humbles them with wandering in a trackless waste, the mercy He has on needy helping them in their afflictions.
It ends with verse 43 warning the wise to heed these things and remember the loving blessings that the Lord can provide.
Interpret: Although this psalm celebrates the steadfast love of the God for His people, and the mercy He faithfully pours out on them, it seems to follow a familiar historical pattern:
Application: The people described in this psalm, and the patterns of their lives, represents all of us to some degree. At various times in our lives, we all fall into one of the categories of sinners listed in the psalm. Sometimes we are the lost, wandering around trying to figure out life on our own, and it feels like whenever opportunity knocks, we’re at the grocery store getting milk. Sometimes we are the rebels because it feels like the easiest way to get out of sticky situation. We tell a little white lie because it’s expedient, and in the end we find that it only made things worse. Sometimes we are the fools, which is probably the easiest to relate to but perhaps the hardest to accept in ourselves. Maybe we ate too much, drank too much, spent too much, and wonder why we have health or financial issues. Perhaps we chased after some unrealistic goal at work and sacrificed our relationships, or even our sanity, and wonder why we feel so much stress. Sometimes we are the victims of the actions of other people. The world is full of evil, and bad things do happen to good people. Drunk drivers. Cheating partners. Online predators. You may wonder why these things are allowed to happen.
For all the trouble we human beings get into, whether of our own making or not, God knows that love is the most important and most powerful force in the world. His love is the most powerful of all, and He wants us to experience it. But to truly experience His deep and genuine love, we had to be given the true freedom to choose it. Through our faith in Him, built from our knowledge and understanding of Him in Scripture, God wants us to deliberately choose it. Genuine love cannot be forced on us, and it cannot be built into our lives so that it simply is. God gave us the choice to love or not to love. He gave us the choice to do evil as well as to do good. The way in which we respond to the circumstances of our life, and the relationships we have with each other, is reflective of our decision to choose and display love in all its splendid variety. When we choose love, we are no longer lost rebels acting like foolish victims - we are Children of God.
The ultimate proof of God’s love for us is the sacrifice He made through Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. This is His gift to us. All we need to do is choose it.
Prayer: Father God, we pray that in all the circumstances of our life, your Holy Spirit working in us would help us to choose love, which you so freely have given us our of your great mercy. In the Holy name of Jesus, Amen.
Song: Awesome God – Rich Mullins
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.