PSALM 107 - Thanksgiving for the LORD's Loving-Kindness.
Thanksgiving for the "loving-kindness" {HB=chesed} of the LORD is the theme of this Psalm, where this word appears six times, translated as: mercy (v.1), goodness (v.8,15,21,31), and loving-kindness (v.43).
The psalm divides into five sections. Each of the first four sections contains:
In these four sections, "the redeemed of the LORD, say so," giving testimony to the LORD's grace and power to redeem.
The redeemed are moved...
Outline of Psalm 107
  1. Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Diverse Difficulties...
    1. Exiles in a strange land... v.1-9
    2. Prisoners in darkness... v.10-16
    3. Fools with no appetite for food... v.17-22
    4. Seafarers on troubled seas... v23-32
  2. Hope for those Living in a Cursed Land... v.33-43
1. O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good:
for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say [so],
whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
3 And gathered them out of the lands,
from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.
4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way;
they found no city to dwell in.
5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.
6 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble,
[and] he delivered them out of their distresses.
7 And he led them forth by the right way,
that they might go to a city of habitation.
8 Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness,
and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!
9 For he satisfieth the longing soul,
and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
The redeemed of the LORD... whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.
  • Who are the redeemed of the LORD?
    This psalm describes the wideness of God's mercy, for it encompasses all races and every corner of the earth (v.2,3). It includes...
    • The exiles returning from Israel's captivities. Isa 43:5,6
    • The saved from every nation, including believing Jews and Gentiles. Luk 13:29; Rev 5:9
  • How did the LORD redeem His people?
    The psalm describes His overruling of human oppressors, and His control over the powers of nature. But the word 'redeem' (twice in v.2) is HB=ga'al, which typically refers to the work of the 'kinsman redeemer' who buys his blood-relative out of trouble. The hand of our enemy (Satan) was defeated in the death of our Redeemer, who became our kinsman, to die for our sins (Joh 12:31-33; Heb 2:14).
  • The troubles which men experience are allowed (or sent) by the Lord, to cause us to see our need for Redemption (as depicted in the following testimonies of the redeemed).
Testimony "A" - The exiles- brought home... (v.1-9)
The Crisis (v.2-5) - Several applications come to mind:
  1. Israel, in dispersion, in need of regathering. Eze 34:6,12; Rev 12:6
  2. Individual Gentiles, lost, without direction, without hope. Eph 2:11-13
  3. Persecuted believers (Jews & Gentiles), cast out by the world. Heb 11:38
Their Condition: hungry and thirsty. (v.5)
  • In which category are you? For what do you hunger and thirst?
Their Cry... His mercy (v.6,7)
Their Praise for Deliverance (v.8,9)
10. Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
[being] bound in affliction and iron;
11 Because they rebelled against the words of God,
and contemned the counsel of the most High:
12 Therefore he brought down their heart with labour;
they fell down, and [there was] none to help.
13 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble,
[and] he saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
and brake their bands in sunder.
15 Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness,
and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!
16 For he hath broken the gates of brass,
and cut the bars of iron in sunder.
Testimony "B" - The prisoners in darkness- brought into the Kingdom of Light... (v.10-16)
The Crisis - inescapable bondage under darkness and death (v.10)
  • The cause of bondage: God's judgment for man's rebellion against His Word. (v.11,12)
  • The delusion of rebellion: Men rebel because they want freedom from God's restraints.
    But true freedom is found only in submission to Him. John 8:33-36
Their Cry... His mercy: v.13,14 (cp. the cry of blind Bartimaeus, Mark 10:46-52)
Their Praise for Deliverance (v.14-16)...
     The two testimonies, above, serve to illustrate God's "Amazing Grace":
  • v.1-9 -    "I once was lost, but now am found..."
  • v.10-16 - "...was blind, but now I see..."
    [Excerpts from hymn 'Amazing Grace' by John Newton]
Are you in bondage to sin and death? There is freedom in Christ. Heb 2:14,15
17. Fools because of their transgression,
and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.
18 Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat
{ie., food};
and they draw near unto the gates of death.
19 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble,
[and] he saveth them out of their distresses.
20 He sent his word, and healed them,
and delivered [them] from their destructions.
21 Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness,
and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!
22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and declare his works with rejoicing
{ie., in joyful song}.
Testimony "C" - Fools with no appetite for food- healed by the Word... (v.17-22)
The Crisis - Fools bring trouble upon themselves... (v.17,18; Psa 14:1)
  • The word 'fool' {HB='eviyl} refers to those who neither appreciate nor apply sound counsel (eg., Prov 1:7; 15:5; 16:22). This characteristic is common to all races and eras.
  • 'Fools' may be well educated, and highly regarded, by the world, for their wisdom. A person, who knows but disregards God's Word, is a fool. 1Cor 1:18-25; 2Pet 3:3-7
  • Some fools become wise, as God mercifully allows sickness to teach them the fear of death. v.18; eg., Job 33:19-22; Psa 9:13; Isa 38:10
Their Cry... His Mercy... (v.19,20)
Their Praise for Deliverance (v.21,22).
Have you brought sorrow on yourself through your own foolish rejection of God's good things?
23. They that go down to the sea in ships,
that do business in great waters;
24 These see the works of the LORD,
and his wonders in the deep.
25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind,
which lifteth up the waves thereof.
26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths:
their soul is melted because of trouble.
27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,
and are at their wits' end
{lit., all their wisdom is swallowed up}.
28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble,
and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
29 He maketh the storm a calm,
so that the waves thereof are still.
30 Then are they glad because they be quiet;
so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
31 Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness,
and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!
32 Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
Testimony "D" - Seafarers on troubled seas- find quietness and peace... (v.23-32)
This stanza calls to mind The Navy hymn:
     "O hear us when we cry to Thee, for those in peril on the sea."
The Crisis (v.23-27) -
  • Men go to sea for various reasons (v.23):
    1. The disciples went to sea, at the Lord's command (Luk 8:22).
    2. Jonah went to sea, in rebellion to the Lord's command (Jonah ch.1).
    3. The captain and crew, on Jonah's ship, went to sea to earn a living.
    4. The prince of Tyre went to sea in arrogant self-exaltation for material gain and power (Eze 28:1-8).
  • God commands the storm to rise, to show "His wonders" (v.24-27)
    1. To make Himself known to His disciples.
    2. To chastise and correct Jonah.
    3. To reveal Himself as the true and living God, to the unsaved crew on Jonah's ship.
    4. To sink a godless ship of state (eg., Tyre, Eze 27:26,27).
      This also applies to the future empire of the Antichrist, Babylon the Great (Rev 18:7-11,15-18).
Their cry... His mercy (v.28,29)-
  • By His power, He calms troubled seas and unsettles human hearts.
    1. The change in Jonah (Jonah 1:17; 2:1-10; 3:1-3).
    2. The effect on Jonah's companions (Jonah 1:4-5,15-16).
    3. The experience of the disciples (observe the following points, in Mark 4:35-41)...
      • their "business" was at His direction.
      • the great storm was at His discretion.
      • their cry of desparation imagined His dereliction.
      • the great calm was at His dictation.
        When Jesus spoke "Peace, be still" to the storm, the disciples, no longer fearful of drowning, were in fear of Him.
Their praise for Deliverance (v.30-32) -
  • Those, who cry unto Him, know His peace, and He brings them into their desired haven (v.7).
  • Those, who continue in their self-confident arrogance, go down with the broken ship (Eze 27:27).
Are you are your wit's end, having lost control of life and fearing the end, which you see coming?
Consider the following:
The fifth and final section of this psalm differs from the first four.
Here, we do not hear the testimony of those who cried unto the Lord and were delivered from their distresses. Instead, this section traces the LORD's dealings with a people who once knew His blessing, but who turned from Him to their own ways, and experienced His chastening.
But even in such a time and place, there are those who know His blessing.
33. He turneth rivers into a wilderness {ie., desert},
and the watersprings into dry ground;
34 A fruitful land into barrenness,
for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.
35 He turneth the wilderness
{ie., desert} into a standing water,
and dry ground into watersprings.
36 And there he maketh the hungry to dwell,
that they may prepare a city for habitation;
37 And sow the fields, and plant vineyards,
which may yield fruits of increase.
38 He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly;
and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.
39 Again, they are minished and brought low
through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.
40 He poureth contempt upon princes,
and causeth them to wander in the wilderness,
[where there is] no way.
41 Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction,
and maketh [him] families like a flock.
42 The righteous shall see [it], and rejoice:
and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.
43 Whoso [is] wise, and will observe these [things],
even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.
There is hope for those living in a cursed land (v.33-43)
for the LORD preserves His little flock (v.41; eg., the remnant of Israel, Jer 31:8,10; true believers who are not conformed to the ungodliness of the world, Luk 12:32).
A land, once blessed, brought to barrenness and poverty by God's judgment... (v.33-39)
There is no definite "cry for deliverance" in this section. Instead, there is a cycle, beginning with God's judgment of a formerly fruitful land (v.33,34), followed by His restoration and blessing of that land and its inhabitants (v.35-38). Who are these blessed people? Those who returned in repentance to the LORD, hungering and thirsting for righteousness (cp. v.36 with v.1-9).
     But, sadly, the cycle begins again, as a new generation declines into apostasy and wickedness, bringing God's judgment upon themselves (v.39,40)...
     Such has been the pattern of Israel's history... and also of our country (U.S.A.)...
  • How often the LORD has warned us, while withholding the judgment we deserved!
    Our currency still proclaims "In God we trust," and our politicians close their speeches with "God bless America." We give Him lip service. But our hearts are far from Him. Even now, with judgment looming, rather than turning to Him in repentance, we continue to pursue our own way which leads to destruction.
  • We are being diminished (v.39), through...
    • ...oppression {HB='otser, closure, restraint, barrenness}...
      As we approach the deadend which we have chosen, our economy is collapsing under crushing debt, our liberties are being constricted, our worldwide political and military influence is narrowing.
    • ...affliction {HB=ra', evil, wickedness}
      Unpleasant times are ahead. But we have brought them upon ourselves by our moral bankruptcy: in the sacrifice of unborn children on the altar of convenience, in schools which promote sexual deviancy, in universities which rob our children of the faith of their fathers, in entertainment which glorifies perversion and exports it to the rest of the world.
    • ...sorrow {HB=yagon, grief}
      Should we not mourn, as our nation, which was previously prosperous and powerful under God's blessing, becomes a wasteland under His judgment? Are we not like those in Jerusalem, who refused to heed God's Word, until grief overtook them? (eg., Lam 1:1,2)
  • Our leaders are wandering in divided confusion (v.40, cp. v.4)...
    looking to their own wisdom... attempting to shore up the financial system... attempting to unite the governments and religions of the world... to head off the desolation and destruction that they see coming. Yet, they wander, in willful blindness... not willing to turn to the LORD, the God of the Bible, who alone can save. In time past, our respectable 'elders' {ie., senators} were like those in v.32. But today, most are contemptible in the LORD's sight (v.40).
         The confusion of leadership is not limited to government. It extends also to our churches. Having forgotten the Lord's commission, 'Christians' are throwing themselves into the work of saving the ecology, promoting diversity, and unifying all "people of faith" 'for the common good.' In doing so, they deny the Lord that bought them, and deny His power to purify the sinner. They hope to bring peace on earth, through their own wisdom and political maneuvering.
         But there can be no lasting peace apart from the Prince of Peace.
Yet, while our nation falls deeper into apostasy and comes increasingly under judgment, the LORD knows those who belong to Him (2Tim 2:19; 2Pet 2:9). Because they trust Him, He will shepherd His people through all difficulties, and bring them to His home (v.6-9), their desired haven (v.30).
This is the experience of "the redeemed of the LORD" who give thanks for His boundless mercy, and who are charged with telling others of His redeeming power. (v.1,2)
"Again they are... brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow..." v.39
Even the cycle of blessing... decline... and judgment... even "these things" are of the LORD's lovingkindness (v.43), because in times of trouble, some ("the wise," Prov 9:10) will understand their error and His mercies and turn to Him, when they hear what God has done for you.

This Concludes the study in Psalm 107.
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