Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31
In Psalm 107 we witness God rescuing sinners from themselves. Many times in other psalms the author describes God delivering him from his enemies, but here we see God saving the people from themselves.
Four times in this Psalm we read that refrain, “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”
This refrain, this chorus, provides an outline which help us see four ways in which God comes to our rescue.
- They Wandered… He Delivered (4-8)
- They Rebelled… He Saved… (9-15)
- They Transgressed… He Saved… (16-22)
- They Went Down… He Brought Them Out… (23-31)
You may have heard it said that God helps those that help themselves. I disagree. We see the great grace of God demonstrated when He helps those who cannot help themselves.
Some say that you’ve made your bed, now lie in it. You got yourself in trouble, now suffer the consequences. But the Psalmist here shows four ways in which the sinner gets himself in trouble, but our loving, patient Heavenly Father saves them from themselves.
We get in trouble. God comes to our rescue.
1. They Wandered… He Delivered (4-9)
When Israel wandered in the wilderness they had no place to call home, no purpose to live for, no reason to hope.
Hungry and thirsty, not for physical deliverance, but for spiritual deliverance, they cried out to God.
Then God stepped in and He delivered them, made of them a nation, established them as His chosen people with a royal priesthood, and gave them a place to call home and purpose for which to live.
Following the exhortation to praise God there is a further blessing revealed, “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”
2. They Rebelled… He Saved… (9-16)
But then Israel sinned, they rebelled against the God who had done so much for them and His Word which had been given to counsel them. Judgment followed.
When they hit rock bottom and they found no other help, they cried to the Rock which was higher than themselves (Psalm 61:2), and God saved them.
When God saved them He gave them once more the freedom from sin and suffering that they craved, “16 He brought them out of darkness, and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.”
3. They Transgressed… He Saved… (16-22)
Foolish as we all are we all too easily allow sin to conquer us. The enemy extends an invitation to sin, and we consent.
Then the consequences set in. Before I imagine the consequences seen in Judges of an enemy power invading and oppressing. But now it reads more like the torment of a guilty conscience. The sinner here has no appetites for food or for life. They would welcome death if it came.
Then they cry unto the LORD… and He saves them!
Personal sin as the issue here seems to be re-enforced by the mention of bringing sacrifices and thanksgiving in verse 22.
4. They Went Down… He Brought Them Out… (23-31)
Where the three previous sections describe the consequences of personal and national sin, this section reminds us of the troubles we face because we are small, in the grand scheme of the universe we are little.
Against the forces of international economic breakdown, societal anarchy, or weather-related disasters, what can we do?
All the Instragramish-positive-thinking in the world do not help when genuine tragedy strikes.
What can we do?
We cry unto the Lord.
He brings us out of our distresses.
Then we are “glad because” God has given us “quiet” and brings us to our “desired haven”.
In the face of God’s goodness and power truly our shout should be,
“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”