It is quite easy to see the makeup of this beautiful Psalm. After a general call to thanksgiving (v 1-3) the poet tells four stories of deliverance by God (v 4-32). It ends with a more general description of God’s providential, caring love (v 33-43). The last verse brings it all home: “If you are really wise, you’ll think this over – it’s time you appreciated God’s deep love” (v 43 – MSG.)
The first story describes how people got lost in the desert, cried out to God and found a way out (v 4-9). This is followed by a story about the darkness, gloom and affliction of imprisonment. Yet again, even after rebellion against God, prayer to God resulted in deliverance (v 10-16). The third story shows that sinful and stubborn lifestyles brought people to the brink of death. Even from this position, their cries to God brought deliverance and healing (v 17-22). The last story takes us to the terrifying experience of the might of a storm at sea. Who will not cry to God in such circumstances? And God heard those cries (v 23-32)!
In each of these stories we find the pattern of earnest prayer to God in the midst of trouble and God’s deliverance. Each time this is followed by a serious call to thank God.
Psalm 107 is clearly an inclusive psalm inviting everyone who might experience any kind of trouble to pray to God and to know: you can depend on God’s love.
In this time of Lent we are reminded of suffering in numerous ways. Whether you experience this yourself of whether you carry the burden with someone else, Psalm 107 comforts you: “consider the steadfast love of the Lord” (v 43 – RSV)!
The story of Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross furthermore reminds us that the faithful love of God means that Jesus identified with our suffering – to the point of a God-forsaken death on the cross.
To think about (or discuss): Can you tell a story of deliverance by God that happened in the context of the HIV pandemic?