“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!” Israel needed to proclaim these important truths regardless of the nation’s immediate circumstances. God is good. His mercy is eternal. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” Even though Israel’s understanding of God needed to based on the foundation of His own Word and not on their experience, there was ample evidence in many lives to support these central statements of faith.
God had heard the cries of His people when they were exiles in far-off lands. He had brought them back from north, south, east, and west. Though they had to wander “in desert wastes,” the Lord listened to their voices and gave them a city to dwell in. “He satisfies the longing soul.”
The people of God found themselves as prisoners of foreign nations because of their persistent disobedience. Yet when they cried to the Almighty for help, He “burst their bonds apart.” It was their privilege to thank the Lord in the assembly of the faithful.
Some of His worshipers suffered bodily affliction because of their sins. Once again, they “cried to the Lord in their trouble.” He granted them healing and deliverance. They needed to “tell of His deeds in songs of joy.”
Still others were making their living on the seas. The God of all nature caused the waves to swell, but when His people remembered Him in their distress, He calmed the winds and the waves and “brought them to their desired haven.” How should they respond to such powerful mercy? They should “extol Him in the congregation of the people.”
These few instances recorded in Psalm 107 were only a very small fraction of the testimonies that the Lord’s ancient people had personally experienced. The trials in their lives had led to greater experiences of faith. Even their difficulties were ordained by the Lord who is always good and whose steadfast love endures forever.
This great God is not only the God of the Jews. He rules over all the nations. Environmental disasters do not surprise Him. It is by His power that kingdoms rise and fall. By His sovereign will a group of people live in peace and prosperity for some time. “When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow,” He may express His displeasure with their acts of rebellion, but “He raises up the needy out of affliction” when they turn to Him.
The greatest evidence of God’s goodness and steadfast mercy has come to us through the cross of Jesus, the Son of God. Our most devastating crisis was not being lost at sea or facing a very debilitating medical condition. We were dead in our trespasses and sins. (Ephesians 2:1) When we came to see our desperate condition, we called upon the Name of the Lord and were saved. What should our response be to such a great salvation? We should gather together and worship the Lord with all who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. We should give thanks to His holy Name forever. “Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.”
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Our Father, You have steadfast love for us through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Are we hungry and in physical need? You have given us food and shelter. Are we trapped in dark prisons of evil men, or bound up in the chains of sin? You have brought the strong man Jesus to break open the prison house and to deliver us into the fresh air of freedom. Are we stuck in sickness and pain? You have granted us help. Are we overwhelmed with fear in the midst of some horrible storm? You have heard our cry. You have calmed the wind and the waves, and we live. Surely You can do all things. You will move heaven and earth for the sake of Your elect. You have given us blessing upon blessing. In love, You discipline us, but You will fill our hearts with hope again. We are persuaded that Your steadfast love will continue forever.