We are exhorted by the Psalmist to give thanks to God, and that those who are redeemed should be singing a refrain of thanksgiving to God (Psalm 107).

Psalm 107:1-3 – Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary, And gathered from the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south.

painting easelIf we are going to be faithful children of God, and live the redeemed life, then we must be characterized by thankfulness and praise to God for what he has done for us by redeeming us from sin and death and hell. It is because of God’s mercy and lovingkindness that our hearts are turned away from self, and toward Him. Psalm 107 reminds us of that fact by painting beautiful word pictures of this so great salvation that is ours, and then encouraging us to give thanks in response.

Both the beginning and end of this psalm remind us that we are to consider the Lord’s lovingkindness and give thanks (v. 1, 43). In between these two calls to remember and consider the everlasting lovingkindness of the Lord, are five very distinct sections. The first four sections provide a picture, or illustration, of God’s mercy as a motivation to give thanks. The final section describes the wise, but often painful way, God’s mercy is shown to us.

All of the these descriptions of God’s work, which are vivid illustrations of His faithful love, are intended to inspire our thanks to God. We know this because the psalm has a refrain that is repeated in between each section. Just like our modern songs have a chorus repeated between each verse, this psalm repeats the refrain…

“…Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men…” (v. 8, 15, 21, 31).

The psalmist tells us we should be armed and ready with thanksgiving and praise on our lips, for the wonderful work God has done in our lives. Let the redeemed of the Lord speak! We have every reason to be thankful, so much so that our mouths should not be able to be silenced.

What are those reasons?

crown of thornsOur reasons to give thanks are rooted in the everlasting lovingkindness of the Lord, and they involve His wonderful works on our behalf. God’s wonderful works on behalf of Israel involved some very specific events (like the exodus, taking the land of Canaan, being restored from captivity in Babylon). We have vague references to these events in this psalm, which are intended to picture for us the various ways that God has delivered all men from sin. He has freed, rescued and restored us spiritually, as surely as He freed, rescued and restored Israel in a national sense. And as we consider God’s redeeming work in our lives, we ought to be prompted, motivated, energized and inspired to praise and thank Him.

So what again is the point of the whole psalm.

We must thoroughly consider the everlasting lovingkindness of the Lord, and give thanks.

In order to help us do just that, through illustration and instruction, the psalmist gives FIVE REASONS the redeemed must give thanks for God’s lovingkindness.

Give thanks because…

1. Your lost and starving soul has been led to a fruitful home (v. 4-9)

The first picture we have, beginning in verse 4, is of a lost and starving caravan of people, needing direction and provision.

Psalm 107:4-5 – They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region; They did not find a way to an inhabited city. 5 They were hungry and thirsty; Their soul fainted within them.

wilderness exodusThat is not a scene unfamiliar to any Hebrew, who has even a basic understanding of their nation’s history. The most obvious example in their own history (and perhaps the reference here) is the wanderings for 40 years after the exodus from Egypt. In that deliverance from Egypt, the Lord provided for them in various ways–the manna from heaven and water from the rock being the most obvious. Of course, the manna from heaven was a picture of the coming “bread of life” (John 7), while the water from the rock was a picture of the “living water” of which Jesus spoke of. Drink of that living water, He told the woman at the well (John 4), and you will never thirst again.

But it also seems that this psalm is intended to be more general than that specific reference. Notice in verse 4 that the wanderers are LOST (v. 4b). That was not really the case in the time of the exodus. Verse 5 says that they were “hungry…thirsty…fainting…” They were lost, starving, parched and ready to collapse from lack of food and water.

This is the condition of every soul of man, apart from Christ.

We are lost, wandering, starving and dying of thirst spiritually. We are like the prodigal son. We are wandering in a far country, and have come to be in great need. We’re starving, and we see the food that the swine are eating, and wish we had even some of that. Remember how the prodigal said, “How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger [NIV – “starving to death”] (Luke 15:17).

Likewise, the image of thirst is often used in Scripture to picture the spiritually dry condition of those who do not know God—wishing there was life and refreshment, but feeling nothing but dryness and lack of life. Many just continue to wander aimlessly through life, spiritually starving and thirsty. Perhaps they try to assuage their hunger and thirst, through religion or good deeds—they try to find purpose and satisfaction in all the wrong places (even jobs, riches, pleasures, toys,…). But the only real and lasting solution to the genuine hunger and thirst of the soul is described in verses 6 and 7.

Psalm 107:6-7 – Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses. 7 He led them also by a straight way, To go to an inhabited city.

starving kidsGod hears the humble cry of the lost, thirsty, starving sinner, who longs to be delivered by God’s mercies. But, in order to be the penitent sinner, rescued from the wilderness, crying out to be fed, and to receive that living water, you have to see and understand your lost, starving, and parched condition.

This is the true spiritual condition of every man. Have you known it? Have you experienced this sad and desperate feeling? The redeemed of the Lord have known it, but they have been delivered from it. They have “cried out to the LORD in their trouble,” and God “delivered them out of their distresses” (107:7). And just like He eventually led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, He leads desperate and penitent sinners into a place of spiritual blessing and provision.

He leads our lost and starving soul to a fruitful home.

How should we respond?

Psalm 107:8-9 – Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! 9 For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.

Hoping in the things of this life leaves us thirsty and starving. Praise God for His wonderful works to the sons of men! It is an expression of His lovingkindness, His faithful, loyal, covenant-keeping love, that He has delivered, and provided salvation for our lost and thirsty souls. Lost, starving and thirsty is one way to picture the soul of man, before it has been delivered by the Lord’s lovingkindness.

Now in verses 10-16, the psalmist provides another picture of the lost estate of every soul. And this illustration, rightly understood, adds another reason the redeemed must give thanks for God’s lovingkindness.

Give thanks because…

2. Your rebellious and imprisoned soul has been rescued from the chains of death (v. 10-16)

In verse 10-16 the psalmist pictures a man who has been imprisoned, and sent to the labor camp by day, and to the prison chamber by night, and who has been worked to the brink of death.

Psalm 107:10-11 – There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, Prisoners in misery and chains, 11 Because they had rebelled against the words of God And spurned the counsel of the Most High.

He leaves no question about what has brought on this incarceration and labor. It is the rebellious heart, it is the criminal condition of the soul. Again, that experience should not be a mystery to any of God’s redeemed. We have come to see, by God’s grace, the rebellion of our hearts. We are lawbreakers by nature. We deserve the divine prison for our crimes.

prison chainsThere are some who literally end up in prison as a result of their lawbreaking and rebellion. Most, however, just live their lives shackled in the prison of consequences. Life is hard, and seems inescapable, like we are chained, because the result of our sin is hardship and despair. We experience sorrow, loss, broken relationships, or perhaps financial hardship. And like a prisoner, we labor under those painful consequences. But the psalmist tells us God has a purpose in them.

Psalm 107:12 – Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; They stumbled and there was none to help.

This psalm reminds us that it’s hard work dealing with the consequences of sin. It is not only exhausting, it seems hopeless, and lonely. But God intends that this prison camp of sin be a humbling experience. He has designed it so that it would expose our guilt and the justice of God in meting out consequences.

But sadly, many who are chained to the prison walls, and laboring in the camps, are doing so with the foolish belief that they are innocent. They have plead “not guilty” and despite the conviction and the sentence, are not backing down from their foolish plea.

labor campWhere are you? Do you see that the rebellion of your own heart has rendered you guilty? If you feel like life is a prison, or you have a fear of the judgment to come (that it will be an eternal prison for you), this psalm provides hope. The guilty are incarcerated, and all those who plead “not guilty” will continue in the labor camp, they will be eternal members of the chain gang of hades. The proud, the so-called “innocents” in prison, won’t be granted any hearings before the parole board.

But those who recognize their guilt, and who cry out for mercy and deliverance, will find it, by the grace of God. Ultimately it is our sin which has chained us up, and God desires to deliver us from our sin.

Psalm 107:13-14 – Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. 14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death And broke their bands apart.

God frees us from the shackles, the chains, of sin. This was the reason Christ came.

Isaiah 61:1 – The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners.

chainsIt is recorded in Luke 4 that Jesus stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth one day, and he was given a scroll containing Isaiah’s prophecies, and he opened it to this passage and read it aloud, and then said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). He has come to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to set prisoners free.

Have you experienced this freedom from the captivity of sin and all its consequences, not only the freedom from guilt, but a newfound freedom from the power of sin itself? Christians have been freed from the prison house of sin (Romans 6:7, 17-18). Is that your experience? Then the psalmist says…

Psalm 107:15-16 – Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! 16 For He has shattered gates of bronze And cut bars of iron asunder.

The bronze gates, and the iron bars, of sin can no longer hold us—they have been torn down by the power and lovingkindness of the Lord Himself.

Your rebellious and imprisoned soul has been rescued from the chains of death (v. 10-16).

Therefore, “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men!”

Remember the goal of this Psalm?

“We must thoroughly consider the everlasting lovingkindness of the Lord, and give thanks.”

In order to help us do just that, through illustration and instruction, the psalmist gives FIVE REASONS the redeemed must give thanks for God’s lovingkindness.

We have looked at the first two. I will save the last three for next week.

In the meantime, consider how “your lost and starving soul has been led to a fruitful home,” and how “your rebellious and imprisoned soul has been rescued from the chains of death.” And then, more importantly, let it inspire thanks and praise to God for His everlasting lovingkindness.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Brian Sayers

Brian has been an elder, and staff pastor, at Christ Community Church since September of 2000. He is a 1998 graduate of The Master's Seminary (M.Div).

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.