“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He rescued them from their distress. He led them by the right path to go to a city where they could live. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for all humanity. For He has satisfied the thirsty and filled the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:6-9, HCSB).Psalm 107 contains a powerful message of God’s lovingkindness and deliverance.
The fundamental message of the Psalm is that when people encounter adversity, if they cry out to God for help, He will rescue them from their troubles.
You’ve heard this message before, many times, but the Psalmist’s proclamation of God’s faithful love, His covenant loyalty, His chesed, in this Psalm is so powerful that it warrants further consideration.
The Psalmist begins with a proclamation that we are familiar with: “Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim that He has redeemed them” (or “let the redeemed of the Lord say so”; vs. 2). But then he proceeds to proffer the grounds for sharing the good news of God’s redemption.
The Psalmist first reminds us how God rescued Israel from hunger and thirst during their wilderness wanderings (vs. 6-9, the scripture theme for this meditation).
Next, the psalmist repeats the refrain in verses 6-9 in response to those who have been taken as prisoners and sentenced to hard labor (vs. 13-15).
Then the Psalmist applies this refrain to those who suffer from a debilitating illness as a result of their disobedience and guilt (vs. 19-21).
And finally the psalmist uses the same refrain to recount God’s deliverance for those caught or lost in storms at sea (vs. 28-31).
No matter one’s circumstance or state of mind, because of God’s faithful love, His chesed, He is willing to rescue and deliver us. So this Psalm demonstrates that God’s faithful love is always accompanied by His sovereign action.
God will come to the rescue!
And God’s chesed is directed towards all people; it is available to everyone–all human beings past, present, and future!
Now it’s difficult for me to completely grasp this concept even though it is exquisitely articulated by the Psalmist.
So I have to look at some other references.
Sometimes I get my theology from children’s books! And, if like me you are theologically challenged, then the toddler version of the message of this Psalm may work better for you!
In the classic children’s book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, a father and his four children embark on an adventure to find a bear that includes crossing a high grassy slope, fording a river, sludging through mud, and traversing a snow storm. As the family encounters each obstacle, they chant “We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh, no! We’ve got to go through it!”
So here’s my point.
While God’s chesed is available to everybody in every circumstance they encounter in life, it’s only available by confronting the circumstance, encountering the trouble, and not avoiding it.
If you’re going on a bear hunt, it’s quite likely you’re going to encounter a bear!
And according to this Psalm, if you encounter a bear, God is available to rescue you.
So, when you encounter adversity in life, God is available to rescue you if you will call on Him. But, God’s deliverance isn’t available if you try to avoid the trouble or work around the problems on your own strength.
In other words, for God to rescue and deliver you, you’ve got to go through it!
But remember this: God’s deliverance is not always a matter of transporting you out of your problems (or transporting your problems away from you). God’s deliverance may be a matter of strengthening you to endure your troubles so that you will learn better to depend on Him in all situations in your life.
“In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13, HCSB).