Summer of Psalms: Ministry of Thankfulness

BIG IDEA: There are only about a dozen or so Psalms of Thanksgiving throughout the book of Psalms, and Psalm 107 is a special one because it goes over four different scenarios from which we often need rescuing, and it concludes by telling us why it’s important to have a lifestyle of thanksgiving: the wise person is a thankful person.

SERIES: Summer of Psalms – In many ways, the Psalms are at the heart of Scripture, but we often disregard them. Let’s reclaim the wonder of the Psalms! Let’s reclaim this God breathed collection of 150 poems of the people of God sung aloud for thousands of years by the Hebrew people, inspiring and teaching generation after generation of Jewish children to communicate with Yahweh the one true God. Written prophets, poets, reflecting upon life with God between the Time of King David and the exile to Babylon, collected and organized for us by Spirit led scribes so that all people might have access to them, memorized and used for God’s people, including Jesus and his followers as “THE” vital connecting point for the hurting, praising, suffering, confused, joyful considerers. We must reclaim the Psalms if we want to learn to pray, to live, to connect with God.

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 107
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.

4 Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;
5 hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way
till they reached a city to dwell in.
8 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
9 For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
they fell down, with none to help.
13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
and burst their bonds apart.
15 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze
and cuts in two the bars of iron.

17 Some were fools through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from their destruction.
21 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the great waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the LORD,
his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men
and were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

33 He turns rivers into a desert,
springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste,
because of the evil of its inhabitants.
35 He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry dwell,
and they establish a city to live in;
37 they sow fields and plant vineyards
and get a fruitful yield.
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly,
and he does not let their livestock diminish.

39 When they are diminished and brought low
through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
40 he pours contempt on princes
and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction
and makes their families like flocks.
42 The upright see it and are glad,
and all wickedness shuts its mouth.

43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

KEY CONSIDERATIONS

  • Scenario #1 (v. 4-9): People who are wandering in a desert without food or drink. When they cry out to God, he leads them to a city wherein they find sustenance.
    • Us: We all wander in the world, looking to fill our satisfactions and desires with the world, but it never works, and we end up unsatisfied. When we cry out to God, he delivers us from our wandering and satisfies us.
    • New Testament: 1 Peter 2:24-25, “24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
  • Scenario #2 (v. 10-16): God’s People were following him, but then rebelled against his word. In that rebellion, they felt God’s discipline, and in that discipline, they cried out to God, and he delivers them. This tells us that God is all-powerful and able to save.
    • Us: This is part of every Christian story. Before we found Christ, we were all lost and in rebellion from God. But when we cried out to him, in his might, he set us free from the bondage of sin.
    • New Testament: This is exactly why Jesus came to earth, to set us free, and we see that in Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…”
  • Scenario #3 (v. 17-22): A group of people who, in their wandering from God, experience sin and its consequences. And when they cried out to God, he delivers them from the consequences of their sins. He heals them.
    • Us: This is a picture of how God heals us from our sin, but not just our sin, but also the consequences of our sin, so long as we cry out to him. God’s healing is not just reserved for our spirituality; he wants to save our physicality, as well. God is interested in redeeming all of us so that we are new and whole in him. Be thankful that God heals his people.
    • New Testament: Mark 2:3-12, “3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” …. He said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
  • Scenario #4 (v. 23-32): A group of merchants were at sea, and a storm came that caused them to fear for their lives. They were at their “wit’s end,” meaning that they had run out of wisdom.
    • Us: What do you do when you feel you are in a situation where you feel like you have run out of wisdom, or where you don’t feel that you have any wisdom? Cry out to God, and he will give you wisdom, and he will rescue you from the storm. Thank God for the circumstances that require us to cry out to him for wisdom.
  • Conclusion: Why should we be thankful? (v. 35-43): Here all of the people who have been redeemed and delivered are together in a city. But they still face oppression from those in power. But God comes into the situation and rescues them from their enemies, enemies who themselves have failed to live out of thankfulness.
    • Without thankfulness we become arrogant, self-centered, and we begin to think that we’re just fine all on our own. That we got where we are on our own
    • With thankfulness, our hearts remain in right relationship with the giver of all gifts, God.
    • Covetousness: We are constantly dwelling on what we don’t have. That’s covetousness. Thankfulness directly fights covetousness in our lives. When we engage thankfulness, we change the line of reasoning. We’re focused on what we do have, and what God has given us.
    • A lifestyle of thankfulness is more than stubborn positivity or forcing us to think good thoughts. It keeps us from arrogance and covetousness. It guards us from, and is ultimately victorious over, the darkest parts of our humanity. That’s why it’s tied to wisdom.

Want to study this topic more?

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