Some people don’t pray because they don’t think that anyone hears them, especially when their troubles linger. It is an act of faith to believe that a loving God does hear our cries. I am a living witness that not only does God hear, but He acts on our behalf. I have the advantage of having been rescued through prayer, and I believe that it is through the testimonies of those like me who know that God hears that hope is created and sustained.
The psalm for this week, Psalm 107, is just such a testimony. The author is not listed, but the exhortations to praise God for His goodness and wonderful works to human beings could be written by anyone who has experienced God’s lovingkindness in the land of the living. This is a long psalm, with 43 verses, so I am going split it into two weeks, examining only verses 1-22 this week, with verses 23-43 studied next week.
Psalm 107: 1-3 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.
The author begins with a frequent declaration that the Lord is good and His love endures forever. The redeemed have a responsibility to tell their stories, to testify, of God’s goodness to them. So, in the next stanzas of this psalm, the author gives examples of God’s answers to the cries of His people.
Psalm 107:4-9 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
Many people have searched for a place to call home, a space where our hearts can be at rest. Due to the challenges that everyone faces in this life, we often experience a hunger and thirst for a place where good things, such as peace, joy, love and hope, abide on a regular basis.
It is in those times that we must cry out to the One who promises in Revelation 7:16-17, “‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”
Psalm 107: 10-16 Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains, because they rebelled against God’s commands and despised the plans of the Most High. So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.
I have known the suffering of depression, a darkness so deep that it seemed that light could not penetrate it so I could be helped. I learned to cry out to God, and interestingly, one of the ways that I learned to combat the darkness is through music. I felt compelled to turn on some rollicking gospel and dance to the Lord. No, rollicking gospel is not an oxymoron.
It is when we are in the dark times of our lives, experiencing seasons of doubt and moments when we wonder if we have any value that we must cry out to the Source of Light, to the one will not leave us or forsake us. Deuteronomy 31:6 states, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” He will bring you out of the darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter2:9).
Psalm 107: 17-22 Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.
We have all sinned! We are all sinners! We rebel against the word of God because of a sin nature that is enmity with the spirit. Yet, it it those very words that bring us healing and hope, if we will be read and study the promises of God. Second Timothy 3:16 states, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
It is through God’s words that we can cry out to Him in prayer, reminding Him of His promises, without creating any rancor on His part. He is faithful to hear and answer prayers, for His words never return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).
The author teaches us that no matter what the situations are in our lives, God is able to hear our cries for help and answer them. And when He has come to our rescue, we should testify to His goodness, praising Him in the sanctuaries and in our homes, and even on the street to total strangers who need to hear our stories as His redeemed ones.
The songwriter, Frankie Laine, wrote in the song, I Believe: I believe above the storm the smallest prayer will still be heard. I believe that someone in the great somewhere hears every word. Every time I hear a new born baby cry, or touch a leaf or see the sky. Then I know why, I believe.
To God be the Glory for the great things He has done for me!