Monday, September 12, 2016

Observe What God Does To Be Wise

Psalm 107:1-43

“O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 107:1)

The theme of this psalm is that men ought to praise the Lord because he is always merciful, willing to give another chance when people are willing to acknowledge and make an effort to correct their sin. 

“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.  They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.  Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.  Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.  And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Ps 107:9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:2-9)

God’s people ought to share how richly God has blessed them.  For four hundred years, Israel had been slaves in Egypt, abused and oppressed.  Ultimately there was an effort at genocide, with Pharaoh ordering that all male babies were to be killed, when efforts to work them to death failed.  Some had scattered into Libya, Ethiopia, Midian and Palestine in efforts to escape persecution, but were reunited under Moses leadership.  They spent forty years in the wilderness with no permanent home , living on Manna and the different waterholes they came to.  When they finally turned to the Lord, he brought them into the land of Canaan where he set out to bring them forty years before.   He had supplied everything they ever wanted.  They ought to praise the Lord for it.

“Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High: Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.  Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.  He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.” Psalm 107:10-16)

Israel had gone into slavery repeatedly during the period of the Judges because they would not obey God’s law, and thought his laws were too strict or unfair.  God caused them to be taken as slaves and forced to work for their enemies, and no one tried to set them free.  When they sought the Lord’s help he set them free.  They ought to thank God for repeatedly rescuing them and destroying their enemies. 

“Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.  Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.  Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.  He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. “ (Psalm 107:17-22)

Fools do not learn from their mistakes and keep doing the same things, with the result that the experience the same problems repeatedly.  They constantly complain no matter how much they have and keep doing the things that almost destroyed them before.   God responds even to the prayers of such people when they ask for help.  Thirteen times in the book of Judges alone, God answered Israel’s prayers and freed them from oppression by other nations, because his mercy endures forever.  They ought to be thankful God never gave up on them. 

“They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.  For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.  They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end.  Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.  He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.  Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.” (Psalm 107:23-32)

Societies with am well developed infra structure are often unaware of how God’s power affects them.  They count on the government and infrastructure to Sailors, especially those in smaller ships, experience God’s power on an almost daily basis.   A storm can arise at any time, and directly affects what they do.  Huge waves raise them high in the air then bury them under a wall of water, threatening death at any moment.  They soon understand they have little or no control over what happens.  As a result they pray for God’s help, and he delivers them, so that they are no longer in fear.   Unfortunately many do not take the trouble to thank God when the danger is past.  How much better if they would share his blessings with others.

“He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.  He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.  And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation; And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase.  He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.  Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.  He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way.  Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.  The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.” (Psalm 107:33-42)

People who live in cities take little notice of the things God does every day.  They notice if the river supplying water goes dry or the wells stop pumping, or crop failure causes them to be unable to obtain food as a result of their wickedness.   That same God turns a desert into a pond and causes springs and seeps in dry land so that the hungry people flock to the area to plant and harvest crops where nothing grew formerly.  Other times he causes them to go bankrupt or lose their land due to political manipulations.  People lose respect for their political and business leaders, because they seem to make decisions with as little sense of what they are doing as a child lost in the desert, with no path to follow.  At the same time people who are considered intellectually and financially inferior are not greatly affected by the problems of the wealthy and powerful. 

“Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.” (Psalm 107:43)

If a person is smart enough to look at what is going on, he can see how God blesses those who do right, and understand the value of serving God.  Foolish people ignore such things and blame problems on other things.  For example, they blame floods, droughts and weather extremes on Global warming resulting from burning fossil fuels, rather than on God’s power.  

1 comment:

  1. So true, Donald -- many are oblivious to God's control over all. Unbelievers deny His works and even believers often fail to be thankful. Oh, that men would praise God for His great and wonderful works!
    Thanks for the great post and God bless,