A couple of weeks ago I encountered a psalm that I thought was particularly suited for this season. A song helpful when it came to sheltering in place as it invited me to also shelter in the shadow of the Almighty. This morning I’m hovering over another song that looks particularly suited for this continuing time of quarantine. But not just because it helps me cope with “Stay at Home” directives which have been extended again, but because it actually provides perspective on how to thrive in this crazy, socially distanced way of life. Seems to me, if I’m picking up what the songwriter is laying down, we can thrive through thanksgiving.
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
(Psalm 107:1-3 ESV)
The redeemed of the LORD . . . love that term! Only used twice in my Bible. Those who have been ransomed. Those who have been bought out of bondage with the price paid in full. If anybody has a story to tell, and thanksgiving to give, it’s the redeemed of the LORD. The ransomed of Jehovah!
And that’s what Psalm 107 is, a bunch of stories.
Some of these redeemed were rescued from wondering aimlessly in the desert (107:4-9). So hungry and thirsty for real bread to eat, and living water to drink, that their souls fainted within them. Unable to find any place to land, they eventually cried out to the LORD. And He delivered them. Led them in the way. Brought them to a place where they could settle down. And so, says the songwriter,
Let them thank the LORD for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of man!
(Psalm 107:8 ESV)
And that’s just the first story. It’s followed by the story of those who were prisoners of darkness because they had rebelled against the words of God (107:10-16). In bondage, chained with irons, but determined to go their own way, they were bowed to the ground by the Most High. And with noses to the ground and none to help, they too cried to the LORD. And He delivered them also. Brought them out of darkness. Burst their bonds apart. And they too are encouraged by the songwriter to thank the LORD for His steadfast love and for His wondrous works to the children of men.
Then there’s the story of the fool determined to follow the way of his sinful nature (107:17-22). And eventually the way that seemed so right in his own eyes led him to staring death in the face (Prov. 14:12). And guess what? In his story he too cries out to the LORD in his trouble. And God delivers him, as well, from his distress. And how come? Because of the LORD’s steadfast love and His wondrous works to the children of man. So what to do? Let them thank the LORD!
And then there’s the story of those just going about their daily business (107:23-31). Commuting to work like they’ve always done. Filling their schedules with the sort of things people are wont to fill their schedules with, they were busy . . . really busy . . . just doing life. Sure, out of their peripheral vision “they saw the deeds of the LORD”, but they were too busy, really, to respond. So, God “commanded and raised the stormy wind.” The going got tough. And the tough stuff just kept on going and going. And it got to the point where they “were at their wits’ end.” You know what they did? You guessed it, they cried out to the LORD. And He delivered them. He made the storm be still. He brought them to their desired haven. So whaddya do?
Let them thank the LORD for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of man! Let them extol Him in the congregation of the people, and praise Him in the assembly of the elders.
(Psalm 107:31-32 ESV)
The redeemed of the LORD. We’ve all got our story of redemption. Everyone, a tale to tell of God’s deliverance by His steadfast love in our past, able to evoke songs of praise and thanksgiving in our present. Even if there’s no congregation of the people to join us in our thanksgiving at this current time.
The Redeemer of yesterday’s story, the same redeemer today and forever (Heb. 13:8).
We can noodle on the past, and be empowered for the present.
Even as we shelter in place, we can thrive through thanksgiving.
Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.
(Psalm 107:43 ESV)
By His grace. For His glory.