Psalm 107 describes 4 desperate groups of people.
- People wandering in the desert who are thirsting and hungering until their lives ebb away
- People in iron chains of bondage/labor because they rebelled against God and his counsel
- People who became fools and suffered affliction because of their sins
- People out on a fierce raging ocean, whose courage has melted away
In each situation, when “they cried out to the LORD in their trouble” “He delivered them from their distress” (vs. 6, 13, 19, 28).
- For the parched and hungry wanderers, God led them by a straight way; he satisfied their thirst and filled the hungry with good things (v. 7 & 9)
- For those in bondage, he brought them “out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains” (v. 14)
- For those who were foolish and suffered affliction because of their sin, “God sent forth his word and healed them; and rescued them from the grave” (v. 20)
- For those out on the sea, at their wit’s end, adrift on waves that seem to rise to the heavens and go down to the depths, whose courage had melted, “God stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed” (v. 29); God “guided them to their desired haven” (v. 30)
Have you ever found yourself in a desperate place?
I have. I remember the way it felt to be overweight. I weighed close to 200 pounds. I had an addiction to food. I overcame that addiction through prayer and by God’s help. At my weigh-ins, from 197 down, I wrote over the charted weight loss, the verse from Philippians 4:13, which declared my dependence upon God to help me get out of my desperate situation.
Years later, as I had gained some weight and tried to get it off again, I hit a wall. I couldn’t seem to get myself motivated enough to get back into the discipline I needed to get healthy again. Until I admitted my inability to do this on my own, and asked God for his help, I couldn’t seem to get myself motivated for the long haul and committed to the changes I needed to embrace.
I had maintained my weight loss for over a decade; I had slipped into an attitude that I could somehow do this on my own. I had grown proud and forgot that God had delivered me. I had forgotten to be thankful to God.
As I approached my need to lose weight, only when I admitted my powerlessness over it, and my need for God, did the answers start coming.
I think this is what the Psalmist is referring to here—the joy of dependence upon God, and our need to daily remember it’s not us who has gotten us out of the desperate situations. It is God. Thankfulness is the key to remembering what God has done in our lives and sustaining lifelong changes.
Today, take a long look at the pathway of victories behind you. Remember all the ways God has been faithful to you. Remember his love endures forever and is great (vs. 1-2, vs. 43). Give thanks with joyful songs (v. 22).
Are you facing another desperate situation? He will make a way. He is the same God. But first, you and I must humbly come to the end of ourselves and cry out to God for help.
Prayer: God, I know. I know your ways are mysterious. I confess my pride before you, and lay my life bare before your holy gaze. I lay down my defenses. And I humble myself. I turn from my self-interest, my thinking I can devise my way through. And I turn my empty hands toward you. You are my redeemer. God, help me. Thank you for your enduring and great love for me, and for never giving up on me. In Jesus’s name, Amen.