Previously, we began to study Ephesians 2. We noted, in the words of John Stott, that Paul moves in v. 4 from plumbing the depths of pessimism about man to rising to the heights of optimism about what God has done.1 Martyn Lloyd-Jones sums up the opening words of v. 4—“But God”—very well when he writes, “These two words, in some ways, are the essence of the gospel.”2 I agree. The gospel is the good news of what God has done for believing sinners in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. But we need to digest the really bad news before we can truly appreciate the amazingly great news of the gospel. As Tim Keller is fond of saying, “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”3 And this love is what Paul refers to as God being “rich in mercy” (v. 4) and what the author of Psalm 107 refers to as “steadfast love,” “goodness” or “lovingkindness.” Both writers emphasise that, though we are undeserving sinners, yet God in His “steadfast love” rescued us. “But God,” indeed!
Though Psalm 107 was written long before Ephesians 2, nevertheless it celebrates the same Lord who, long before either of these chapters was written, was “rich in mercy” toward His people. In this study, we are going to study Psalm 107 with the goal of revelling in the “steadfast love” (mercy, lovingkindness) of God.
The big idea of this passage is God’s steadfast love as displayed in the salvation of His people: the riches of His mercy in the redemption of His people. We see this big idea in several places by the use of the Hebrew word chesed, which is translated as “mercy” (v. 1) and “goodness” in vv. 8, 15, 21, 31. In v. 43 it is translated as “lovingkindness.”
We see this big idea in the opening verse, which introduces what will be a common refrain: “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men” (vv. 8, 15, 21, 31). This exclamation flows from the experience of being in dire straits, then crying out to God and experiencing His saving response (vv. 6, 13, 19, 28). We will delve deeper into this later, but as we begin our study it is important for us to keep before us the reality of the power of God in salvation and His power for transformation. We might put it this way: God is powerful to fully save (vv. 4–32) because God is absolutely sovereign (vv. 33–42). This is precisely what we need to be persuaded of. In fact, as we have been learning in Ephesians, this is precisely the burden that Paul carries for those to whom he writes (Ephesians 1:17–23).
God, who is rich in mercy, is powerful to save; He is powerful to deliver and to transform. God’s steadfast love is the guarantee of our salvation. And as the writer tells us, we are wise if we give this due attention (v. 43).
Psalm 107 is psalm in the fifth and final book of the Psalter. Its author is unknown, though it was evidently written on the occasion of the return from the exile (see v. 3). The Psalm itself does not recount the exile, though that event, and the return of the exiles, conjures up reminders of God’s kindness to them in days gone by. Specifically, it reminds them to rejoice in God’s merciful kindness in rescuing them (“redeemed”) time and again in the direst of circumstances.
The writer identifies four examples of God’s people being delivered from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high. Like Ephesians 2, the writer moves from bad news to really good news. We need this. I recently had an experience just like this. I woke early in the morning under heavy conviction, thinking, “Woe is me!” But then God graciously reminded me, “But God!”
In this 107th psalm we have a song of praise to God for His “goodness,” for His “lovingkindness” (vv. 1, 43). These concepts bracket the psalm.
It is a fairly easy psalm to outline, and can be broadly divided into four sections:
- The Expectation of the Redeemed, vv. 1–3
- The Experience of the Redeemed, vv. 4–32
- The Explanation for the Redeemed, vv. 33–42
- The Exhortation to the Redeemed, v. 43
It opens with an expectation of the redeemed (vv. 1–3). Those who have experienced God’s redemption/deliverance are to “say so.” They are to “give thanks to the LORD” because He is good; and this goodness is revealed in the redemption/deliverance that He provides out of His steadfast love.
This expectation is universal; that is, “from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south” (v. 3).
The largest portion of the psalm then provides illustrations of those who have experienced God’s merciful redemption/deliverance (vv. 4–32). That is, vv. 4–32 produce the reasons why the redeemed are to “say so.” There are four examples provided.
In each case there is a repetition of some themes—and even verbatim repetition. Note that a particular calamity is experienced in each of these sections, and the responses, both of the troubled and of God, is the same. That is, “they cried out to the LORD in their trouble” with the result that “He delivered them from their distresses” (vv. 6, 13, 19, 28).
But connected to these examples is an exclamation, one that is also repeated four times: “Oh, that men would give thanks [praise] to the LORD for His goodness [steadfast love], and for His wonderful works to the children of men” (vv. 8, 15, 21, 31). It is as if the psalmist desires to expand the choir. He wants the readers to join in the celebration because these are representative examples of what God does for all who belong to Him. This is a very important point.
Though there is little doubt that each of these four examples speaks to particular historical examples of God redeeming His people, they nevertheless are representative of what God similarly does for all who are recipients of His covenantal love.
The psalm then provides the explanation for why—or, rather—how God is able to do the above (vv. 33–42): because God is sovereign. God succeeds in doing the otherwise impossible because He is sovereign. God can save because He is sovereign; God is sovereign and therefore we can be saved. Yes, we are sinners, “but God!”
The psalm closes with an exhortation to all who will hear: Give due consideration to the steadfast love of the Lord (v. 43). And as you do, then cry out to Him for deliverance.
So, again, what is the big idea of this psalm? It is that God is covenantally faithful to His people in all circumstances of life. From age to age, God’s people can face the challenges that come our way (and let’s think community), resting in the assurance that we can cry out to the Lord, knowing that in His way, in His time, and for His glory, He will deliver us. In the words of Ephesians 2, when life looks hopeless, let the Christian respond with, “But God!”
The Expectation of the Redeemed
The psalmist opens with the expectation of the redeemed:
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, and gathered out of the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
We should establish a principle early on that Christianity is about being delivered. Our faith presupposes that we are in trouble and that we need God to deliver us. This is implicit in the redemption terminology. In fact, we will never fulfil our expected response of thanksgiving to God if we do not appreciate the predicament from which He alone has delivered us.
If we are too “healthy” in our personal assessment, we will not be amazed by God’s steadfast love. As Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:3–4).
The community of faith needs this mindset. Don’t forget where you have come from. Without wanting to unnecessarily unsettle those who should be settled, it must be said that perhaps some may have forgotten because, in fact, there has been no redemption to be remembered. In other words, do you know that you have been delivered. Do you know that you have been saved? If not, you cannot be a member of this choir.
But of course, as we contemplate God’s great salvation, we will “say so.” In the words of the psalmist, it is expected that we will heed his instruction to “give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Indeed, “let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.”
God’s chesed is the promise of His eternal faithfulness to His people because His mercy is forever. Our sins do not cut us off from our sovereign and saving God precisely because He is “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4). Therefore, the psalmist passionately plead for a passionate response: “Give thanks (praise) to the LORD, for He is good—always!”
The Experience of the Redeemed
The largest segment of the psalm (vv. 4–32) is taken with the experience of the redeemed. The psalmist portrays this experience in a fourfold manner, and each of these pictures serves as to show us God’s active and steadfast covenantal love. Each of these experiences shares the same desperate cry for salvation. It is important for us to see that, in each case, there is a cry of desperation for salvation. And in each case, the Lord mercifully responds with salvation.
In each case, His people are facing disaster, even death and destruction. And in each case, they cry out for salvation and the Lord provides it. And there are some interesting parallels with the salvation of our souls. Though all who are outside of Christ are dead in trespasses and sins, in which they walk (Ephesians 2:1–2a), this “death-walk” may externally look different. That is, not all who are spiritually dead are as bad in action as others. Not all are rapists or murders or drug addicts or drunks or thugs or pornographers. Nevertheless, everyone who is dead in their sins is in need of deliverance, and in each case their only hope is God. We all need to be made alive, though the unique predicament of our spiritual death will appear different.
God Satisfies the Soul
First, the psalmist tells us that God satisfies the soul. He restores the wandering and the homeless.
They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses. And He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city for a dwelling place. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.
Humans enter this world with a “God-shaped vacuum,” which can only be filled by and with God. As Augustine put it, “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.” Or as the prophet put it, we are all like sheep who have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). We enter the world wandering and wondering if we will ever find our place and purpose. We are homeless because we are not holy. This is what this stanza pictures.
Those who are now in the covenantal choir were at one time homeless wanderers who faced massive difficulties. Yet they cried to the Lord and He heard them and “delivered them out of their distress.”
This probably is speaking of some historical event in which some individuals found themselves quite literally homeless. They were without shelter, without security and without roots. They wandered from city to city like the Syrian refugees of our day; seeking a place of safety, shelter and security, yet facing closed door after closed door. The passport control would just not let them through. They found themselves rejected and scorned, and without food and water. They were desperate.
I recently read the account of a Syrian family who, for the last two months, has been living in a small room at an airport in Moscow. Passport control will not allow them into the country, but they will not return home, and so, nowhere to go, they have been living in utter desperation at the airport. That is the picture before us here.
We can imagine in this case “their soul faint[ing] in them.” What can they do? Only one thing: “They cried out to the LORD in their trouble.” Man proved to be of no help and of little hope. Their own efforts had come to naught. They were at the end of their rope and could even muster the energy to tie a knot and hang on. So they let go and found themselves being caught by the Lord, who “delivered them out of their distress.”
The result is that they were educated into the reality that God “satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Yes, indeed, God satisfies the soul. But we can only know this after our souls are hungry.
And this points us to Jesus. It is when we know that we are hungry that we look to Jesus to be filled. It is when we know that we are thirsty that we turn to Him for drink. It is when we know we are burdened that we look to Jesus for relief. “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
Those who will experience the “but God” of the gospel must first pass through the experience of an empty soul; we must experience the very real sense of homelessness and thus of hopelessness (Ephesians 2:11–12).
If you sense that you are wandering aimlessly, that you are homeless, be encouraged. That is good news. If you feel at home in the world, then you cannot be saved.
Perhaps you wonder, “How do I know if I am dead in trespasses and sins?” The answer is really quite simple: Examine your appetite. Are you satisfied?
The fact is, many who live outside of Christ are quite self-satisfied. Many—multitudes—get along quite fine without God. Don’t be fooled. But when you sense that you cannot, then you are nearing the goal of this psalm: You are coming near to the experience of God’s steadfast love.
God Shatters the Strongholds
Verses 10–16 shows us that God shatters strongholds:
Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, bound in affliction and irons—because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the Most High, therefore He brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their chains in pieces. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He has broken the gates of bronze, and cut the bars of iron in two.
God releases captives. Humans are captive to sin, self and Satan (Ephesians 2:1–3). Our only hope is the Lord. We see this pictured here in this stanza. The Lord shatters the shackles of sin.
This description fits Israel’s history at almost any period. But if this is a postexilic psalm, then it would apply to their history of rejecting God’s sabbatical laws and His laws against idolatry. The result was that God sent them into captivity.
The consequences were sitting in darkness, under the shadow of death. They were chained behind gates of bronze and bars of iron. They were held captive, quite literally, by their sins. So it is with those who are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins.
Our rebellion has produced ruin and misery. Slavery has resulted from our sinfulness. And because we have continued to rebel against the words of God and to despise the counsel of the Most High, the chains wrap tighter and tighter and the captivity worsens. As much as we seek to free ourselves from the authority of God, we find ourselves that much more enslaved.
Someone has said that insanity can be defined as doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. So it is with the insanity of rebellion against God. Rebellion will never produce freedom.
Think about the various addictions of our time: drink, drugs, sex, pornography, materialism. Addicts repeat these sins, always finding only temporary release, yet they continue in them, each time thinking that the same sin will produce lasting freedom. It is insane!
We can be tempted to identify with our sinful culture, yet we find only emptiness resulting. Living with a Frank Sinatra, I-did-it-my-way, mindset results in the same folly of empty living that marked his life—and, sadly, probably his eternity—of captivity to sin, self and Satan.
But thanks be to God that these captives in our psalm stopped resisting the merciless chains and rather repented of their sins, thereby experiencing the mercy of the God who put them in these chains of chastening. The result was that, when they cried out in their distress, the Lord saved them! And note their resulting exclamation, if I may paraphrase: “Oh that all would see that there only hope is in the Lord, and that He does hear the cry of the repentant and saves them because He is merciful. His lovingkindness breaks the chains and sets the captive free!”
And again, this points us to the Lord Jesus Christ. Hear His words, according to Matthew:
Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
Are you dead? Are you enslaved? Then stop fighting against God’s death penalty and cry to Him for life. He is merciful. Jesus will save! God delights in storming the stronghold of sin and self and Satan to set His people free. In fact, this is the very purpose for which Jesus came. Don’t be like Abner, who died as a fool (2 Samuel 3:33). Rather, be wise, bow the knee, and kiss the Son as He sets you free.
God Saves the Sick
Third, according to vv. 17–22, God saves the sick. He rescues the afflicted.
Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted. Their soul abhorred all manner of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.
All people enter this world spiritually unfit, to say the least. The Bible uses different metaphors in an attempt to give an exhaustive description of man lost in sin. One of those is that of sickness. Isaiah records, “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it. But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up or soothed with ointment” (Isaiah 1:5–6). It is an ugly but apt description of those who live as fools (i.e. those who live apart from submission to God). His only hope is in the great Physician (Mark 2:17). This passage picture such a situation.
Whatever this looked like, the writer speaks of those who lived as though they had no accountability to God (the biblical definition of a fool) and the consequences were disastrously destructive. In fact, they nearly died (v. 18). Their appetite was diseased; they nearly starved to death. So it is with those who refuse Jesus Christ. They have destructive appetites, and though they may look physically fit, nevertheless they are spiritually starving and the second death—eternity apart from God in hell—is damningly closer than they realise. In fact, many live completely oblivious to this until it is too late.
If you want to know whether or not you are spiritually dead, then simply assess your appetite. Do you hunger and hanker for the things of God? Is the Word of God your bread and meat? Is obeying God your food? It was for Jesus (John 4:34). Is corporate worship a laborious chore, which is merely a box to tick to keep the elders at bay? Do you hunger for the Communion Table? Does God enter your thoughts affectionately, Monday through Saturday? Do you love God’s people, or are they a nuisance? If you have no appetite for the things of God, and no love for His people, may He alarm and awaken you. And if He does—if He is in the process of doing so—then cry out to Him. Plead with Him to deliver you from your damned distress. And He will!
The Lord sends His Word—the gospel—to “heal” us. When we cry out to Him, He sends the health-giving gospel into our hearts. And, of course, the gospel is God’s healing balm because the gospel is centred on the person and work of the great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ. But you need to acknowledge that you are sick before you will ever be healed. Jesus said so. He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Mark 2:17).
As Jesus made abundantly clear, He came for those who know that they are sick. He is the great Physician for those who are aware that their appetite for God is in need of transformation. Is this you? Then cry out, knowing that you will heard. This is the cry of faith to which God loves to savingly respond.
So, what is the expectation of those who cry out for such healing and health? We might put it another way: What is the evidence that we have been healed? Verse 22 leaves us in no doubt, “Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.”
Those whom God saves will offer up their (now healthy) bodies as living sacrifices.” In fact, this is their “reasonable service” (Romans 12:1–2).
When Jesus saves the sick, in response to their pleas for deliverance, then life becomes worth the living. For the love of Christ is what true life is all about. When you have been healed, you will want to declare this amazing work of God. You will desire to tell others how you were, but that God has made you new.
God Stills the Storm
The fourth truth that the psalmist portrays, in vv. 23–32, is that God stills the storm. He provides rest for the weary.
Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, and praise Him in the company of the elders.
The person who is lost in sin faces the same difficulties that those who are saved do. But there is, of course, a difference. Christians are not controlled by his circumstances (or, at least, should not be). Rather we trust the one who is in control of our circumstances.
But in addition to the storms of life, the ultimate storm faced by anyone is the wrath of God. In fact, physical storms remind us of God’s wrath. And anyone who contemplates God’s wrath will be alarmed. But, by God’s grace, they will find themselves crying out for deliverance. This stanza assures us that they (we, you) will be heard.
It is interesting that Israel has never been known as a nation with a navy. Historically, the Jewish people have had an aversion to the sea (which is why the book of Revelation mentions the waters in such a terrifying way). Perhaps one reason is due to the horrendously terrifying storms that often arise on the Sea of Galilee.
So, when the writer spoke of those who are storm-tossed, it was one of the most terrifying pictures that he could paint. And yet, when these terrified sailors cried out to God to deliver them from their distress, He heard and delivered them from their distress. The Lord mercifully made the seas quiet as He guided them to their desired haven. (On a historical note, when the Pilgrims arrived in America in 1620, they sang this psalm once they landed. They praised God for bringing them safely through some terrifying storms.)
God, because of His steadfast love, will often use storms to get the attention of those whom He intends to save. He does so with such storms as broken relationships, financial and/or physical storms, and any host of other frightening challenges. He does so to bring us to the end of ourselves; to bring us to the point where we realise that, unless He does something, we will surely perish.
The Saviour and our Storms
Once again, this psalm points us to the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who is very God of very God, who both sends and stills the storms. The Gospels provide us with several illustrations of this truth. Take, for example, the story recorded in Mark 4:
On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
The fiercest storm of which we need to be aware is the storm of God’s wrath. And we must give thanks to God that Jesus saves us from this wrath.
I would argue that this awareness is the ultimate indicator that you know that you are spiritually dead and in need of the riches of God’s mercy. In other words, you will only be able to hopefully say, “But God” after you are alarmed by, “Oh God.” His wrath awakens us to our need for His mercy and grace.
But when this occurs, be assured that He will hear your cry and deliver you. When He does, the psalmist tells us, we will “exalt Him also in the assembly of the people.” Those whom God delivers join with others who have been delivered in worship. There are no exceptions. Those delivered from the eternally terrifying storm of God’s wrath gather with others to celebrate the calming of that wrath by the Lord Jesus Christ. As we consider Him, and as we contemplate what He has done for us by suffering in our place, we have all the motivation that we need to gather to worship and exult our God who delivers.
If you need to be “guilted” to gather, then you probably need the gospel!
The Explanation for the Redeemed
The psalmist next provides an explanation for the redeemed:
He turns rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; a fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of those who dwell in it. He turns a wilderness into pools of water, and dry land into watersprings. There He makes the hungry dwell, that they may establish a city for a dwelling place, and sow fields and plant vineyards, that they may yield a fruitful harvest. He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly; and He does not let their cattle decrease. When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, affliction and sorrow, He pours contempt on princes, and causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way; yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction, and makes their families like a flock. The righteous see it and rejoice, and all iniquity stops its mouth.
The salvation of sinners—this “but God” source of the Christian life—involves both deliverance and transformation. In New Testament language, we might say that it involves justification, sanctification and glorification. Those whom God delivers from His wrath are also transformed “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). He transforms sinners into saints. And God is able to do all of this because He is sovereign. This seems to be the point, or at least the picture, provided in this closing section of the psalm. Because God is sovereign, we can rest in His ability to truly deliver us, to truly and fully save us from our sins.
Note that the writer speaks of God’s ability to turn “rivers into a wilderness” and to turn “a wilderness into pools of water.” This is provided as evidence that God can do anything He chooses! Circumstances are merely that: They may change, according to what God purposes. And if He can do this, then He can certainly save His people from their sins and their situations.
Remembering that this is a psalm celebrating deliverance from exile, we can see that the writer is referencing God’s chastening hand in bringing their prosperity to naught in judgement (vv. 33–34) and then reversing this and turning adversity into prosperity (vv. 35–38). He can do this because He is sovereign; He is in control of everything. God’s people can take comfort in the fact that God will fully redeem His people. We will be glorified, and this world will one day be fully redeemed and glorified (Ephesians 1:14; 4:30; Romans 8:18–23).
But further, when all seems to be lost, when the world around us seems to be prospering in its defiance of the God who saves, then the church is to take encouragement that God is powerful to send a great reversal (vv. 39–42).
These four illustrations point to this. God is sovereign. We need this conviction. We need the conviction that God’s sovereignty is more powerful than sin’s presence. This is why Paul’s “but God” is so important. The most hopeless of situations that confront us need to be confronted with “but God!” Psalm 107 reveals that God is to be trusted. God is to be called upon. God delivers. Let’s live like it. Let’s believe like it. Let’s pray like it. Let’s proclaim the gospel like it. Let’s persevere like it. And as we do so, then the righteous among this world will see it and rejoice, knowing that one day all iniquity will “stop its mouth” (v. 42).
The Exhortation to the Redeemed
The psalm closes with an important exhortation: “Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness of the LORD” (v. 43).
Having considered the sovereign and salvific nature of God’s steadfast love, the implication, as revealed throughout this psalm, is that we will cry out to Him in our distress.
As we experience, either personally or in the lives of another, a soul that is starving, strongholds that are strangling, spiritual sickness that seems cureless, and storms that seem insurmountable, let us attend to this psalm, considering the steadfast love our sovereign God. As we do so, we will find faith-fuelled encouragement that those who cry out to Him will be delivered. God will satisfy our soul; He will shatter the strongholds; and He will save the sick as He stills the storm of His wrath.
The conclusion invites us—calls us—to examine whether or not we belong to Him. Do you? Have you cried out to Him, been delivered, and then given Him the thanks that is His due?
Let us all join together with our lips and with our lives, exclaiming, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”