What is the Meaning of Psalm 107

“Give Thanks for Redemption”

Introduction to the Meaning of Psalm 107

Turn to Psalm 107. I would like to preach a Thanksgiving day message on “Give thanks for redemption.” If you are redeemed, you should be thankful for it!

Psalm 107:6

In my study of Psalm 107, I heard testimony of how the Lord has used it to save a deeply immoral man from his sins and how the Lord brought a Christian leader back to spiritual sanity after severe temptations from health problems and great stress. And I’m sure it’ll be a blessing to us as well..

Let’s first read the first 3 verses…

Psalm 107:1–3 1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary 3 And gathered from the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south..

Psalm 107 is the last of four Psalms that is about Israel’s history. Psalm 104 describes creation. In fact, you could look back at Psalm 104:5–6 He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever. 6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; The waters were standing above the mountains..

This is reminiscent of creation and Noah’s flood. Psalm 105 concerns the history of Israel and Egypt. See if you can tell what Psalm 105:16–17 refers to. “And He called for a famine upon the land; He broke the whole staff of bread. 17 He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.”.

Moses and Aaron in verses 25-26 perform miracles and finally He brings them into the Promised Land in verse 44….

Psalm 105:44 He gave them also the lands of the nations, That they might take possession of the fruit of the peoples’ labor..

Psalm 106 recounts Israel’s sin in Egypt and brings us through the desert and into the Land of Promise. And because of that sin, Psalm 106 says that the Lord threatened to take them out of the land of Israel Psalm 106:27….

Psalm 106:27 And that He would cast their seed among the nations and scatter them in the lands..

And scatter them in the lands He would do! The Assyrian empire conquered Israel in 722 BC and the Babylonians captured Israel in 586 BC. And at that time, 586 BC, they were indeed scattered among the nations..

And that bring us finally to Psalm 107 which describes in portraits how the Lord redeemed them from Babylon and brought them back into their own land..

There are four portraits in this Psalm. Psalm 107 has four portraits of human distress and divine deliverance: Israel under Babylonian rule is first pictured as the wanderer in verses 4-9. Then Israel is pictured as a prisoner in verses 10-16. In verses 17-22, Israel is pictured as being sick and finally in verses 23-32, Israel is pictured as being storm-tossed..

But out of each one, the Lord delivers. So it is as if the psalmist, leaving Babylon and on his way back to Israel, says, “if Israel is pictured as someone who is a wanderer, the Lord has helped him find his way. If Israel is pictured as a prisoner, the Lord has set him free” and so on..

And these are all portraits of the Lord redeeming His people back to the land of Israel from Babylon. And each of these four pictures themselves have four parts to them and we will see that as we go through..

And we’ll apply these as portraits to how God redeems us that we too might give thanks for our redemption in Christ..

First, the Lord leads the wanderer, satisfies the thirsty, fills the hungry (vv.4-9)

In verses 4-9, the Lord leads the wanderer who is thirsty and hungry.

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Psalm 107:4–9 4 They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region; They did not find a way to an inhabited city. 5 They were hungry and thirsty; Their soul fainted within them. 6 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses. 7 He led them also by a straight way, To go to an inhabited city. 8 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! 9 For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good..

This sounds like the wilderness wanderings in the book of Numbers. And the psalmist may have that in mind; however, we start to strain the text if we attempt to find an historical reference to each of these four. For example, what would you do with imprisonment … When was Israel entirely imprisoned? Or should we look to an individual. Is it Samson, Zedekiah, one of the prophets?.

So again, it is best to see these as portraits of the Lord redeeming, delivering his people from their captivity..

End of self

Notice the difficulty they are in and how they are at the end of themselves.

Psalm 107:4–5 4 They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region; They did not find a way to an inhabited city. 5 They were hungry and thirsty; Their soul fainted within them..

Their difficulty is that they are wandering in the desert. They are lost! And if you’re wandering around in the desert, your life is greatly in danger!.

It seems about once a year you can read about somebody who gets lost in a desert in the southwestern US..

ILL: Ed Rosenthal got lost in Joshua Tree National Park in southern California. His story began with what was supposed to be a short hike, a trail of 6.5 kilometers he’d done plenty of times before. Yet he neglected to bring much water, and then he simply got carried away. He took a turn into one canyon, then off into another, miles away from his original course. “I don’t know why I did it,” he said at a press conference afterwards..

Rosenthal ended up in a place he didn’t know, with nothing to drink. He tried his own urine, but couldn’t stand it. He sucked moisture from a plant but found it too tiring. After a few days he gave up, and began writing a will on his hat. He wrote messages to his family, described the type of funeral he would like, and even began a poem. Then he turned to God, prayed for rain, and got it. … He said…“My conclusion is that God is real. Really.” He’d tried signaling with his foil blanket, and lit fires at night with flares. No one came. On the sixth day he was slumped in a canyon, not expecting to last another day. But then, he was spotted by a rescue helicopter. “I’ve never been so happy to see anybody,” he said afterward. A couple of days in the hospital brought him back to health, and also to a decision to give up hiking.[1].

Like Israel, Ed Rosenthal came to the end of himself! He was done, he had no where else to turn!.

Lost, hungry, thirsty…the end of oneself … then comes the cry to the Lord!.

Cry to the Lord

Psalm 107:6–7 6 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble

.And because of that cry…

He delivers

He delivered them out of their distresses. 7 He led them also by a straight way, to go to an inhabited city.

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APP: That is exactly the way it is with sinners today! To the lost wanderer, wandering around in his sin, Jesus is the Way to the Father John 14:6.

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To the spiritually thirsty, Jesus gives the water that shall be a well of water springing up to eternal life, John 4:14. To those who are spiritually hungry, Jesus is the bread of life. John 6:35 35 “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”.

But you must come to the end of yourself and cry out to the Lord to be delivered!.

We Praise

And if that’s you, with the psalmist you can praise the Lord. Psalm 107:8–9 8 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! 9 For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good. .

TRANS: Now, each of the three remaining portraits has the same format: the end of self, the cry to the Lord, the Lord delivers, resulting in praise. Verse 10-16 ..the picture is the Lord releasing the prisoner.

Second, the Lord releases the prisoner (vv. 10-16)

Notice first how the psalmist pictures Israel coming to the end of themselves. .

End of self

Psalm 107:10–12 10 There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, Prisoners in misery and chains, 11 Because they had rebelled against the words of God And spurned the counsel of the Most High. 12 Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; They stumbled and there was none to help..

These are they who are under divine discipline. In darkness and near death, prisoners in misery. Why? Because they rebelled against the words of God. And so verse 12 he humbles their heart and he does so with labor they stumbled and there was none to help..

They did not have anywhere else to turn! They are at the end of themselves!.

ILL: Michael Franzese knows the prison life well. He was born into a life of crime, in Brooklyn, New York; his father was the notorious Colombo Underboss John “Sonny” Franzese..

Michael Franzese grew in the ranks of his mafia peers through creating lucrative money making schemes from the mafia, including extortion, money laundering, intimidation to his most famous scheme: the infamous gasoline-bootlegging racket in the mid-1980’s. He would buy a gas station, not pay gas taxes on it, and close it down just before the IRS came to collect..

He was named one of the biggest money earners the mob had seen since Al Capone. At the age of 35, Fortune Magazine listed him as number 18 on its list of the “Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses,” just 5 behind John Gotti..

In 1984, however, he met Camile Garcia, an evangelical Christian on a film set who would soon become his wife. Franchzese credits his wife for introducing him to the Christian faith..

The next year, 1985, he was indicted on 14 counts of racketeering, extortion, counterfeiting from the gasoline-bootlegging racket and was sentenced to ten years in federal prison but was released from prison after serving 43 months. In December 27, 1991 he was sent back to federal prison for his involvement in tax fraud. During his time in jail, he professed Christ and repented… he said “I gave it all to Jesus. Why? I had no choice! I was desperate.” In jail, he read his Bible backwards and forwards and when he got out of prison, he walked away from the Colombo family, which, if caught, meant certain death. He dodged bullets in order not to go back. He goes everywhere now preaching Jesus..

He founded the Breaking Out Foundation, where he routinely tours across America sharing his new life in Christ to college campuses and churches.[2]

Cry to the Lord

He cried out to the Lord!

Psalm 107:13 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble … and…

He delivers

He saved them out of their distresses.

Psalm 107:14 14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke their bands apart..

And that’s what Jesus is still doing today for those who are living in the prison house of sin.

Galatians 3:22 22 But the Scripture has imprisoned everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe..

All are imprisoned in their sin, but Jesus Christ, who died to pay for sinners’ sin, delivers the prisoner from his sin when he cries to the Lord and trusts in Him! And when he does that, the Lord delivers him….

Romans 8:2 2 … the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death..

APP: But you have to come to the end of yourself and cry out to him for Him to deliver you!.

We praise

Psalm 107:15–16 15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! 16 For He has shattered gates of bronze And cut bars of iron asunder.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee..

TRANS: In verses 17-22, the Lord heals the sick. We of the same format here as well: come to the end of yourself, cry out to the Lord, he delivers, we praise Him!.

Third, The Lord heals the sick (vv.17-22)

Beginning in verse 17, the Lord heals the sick…Notice how the psalmist pictures Israel coming to the end of themselves.

End of self

Psalm 107:17–18 17 Fools, because of their rebellious way, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted. 18 Their soul abhorred all kinds of food, And they drew near to the gates of death..

These people are fools because of their rebellion and sin! And because of their sin, they are afflicted. They are suffering because of their sinful choices. They are loathing and abhorring their food… And are about to die.

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ILL: This reminds me of the story in Numbers chapter 21, you could turn over there. At this point, Israel has escaped Egypt but … because they didn’t trust the Lord to enter the Promised Land, the Lord made them wander in the desert for 40 years.

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In this particular instance, the people have become impatient because of the journey. Verse 5 …

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Numbers 21:5 The people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.” [speaking of the manna]

So verse 6 … 6 The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. 8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” 9 And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

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These people, because of their sin because of their rebellious ways, they were afflicted. They suffered because of their sin… And they had come to the end of themselves, they drew near to the gates of death.

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  1. Cry to the Lord

Psalm 107:19 19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble

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7 … the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.”

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  1. He delivers

    And so what happens? The Lord delivers!

He saved them out of their distresses!

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Psalm 107:20 20 He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.

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APP: And the Lord will deliver you from your sin, but you have to trustingly cry out to Him in your distress! Jesus said…

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John 3:14–15 14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

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Has the serpent of old been “a biting” you lately? Are you tormented by your sin? Not until you are and not until you cry out in your misery will the Lord deliver you out of your distress.

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But when He does, praise will result.

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  1. We praise

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    When you realize your heart is Jeremiah 17:9 9 “…more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick….” and when you cry out to Him, you’ll know Him Psalm 103:3 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases … your disease of sin

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And you’ll know that …

There is balm in Gilead,

To make the wounded whole;

There’s power enough in heaven,

To cure a sin-sick soul.

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Because Jesus as the physician of the soul, calls those who are sick to come and be healed! Come and be healed of your sin and praise God for His redemption!

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Psalm 107:21–22 21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! 22 Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, And tell of His works with joyful singing.

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TRANS: The last portrait is vv.23-32 and Israel is pictured as those who are storm-tossed.

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  1. The Lord rescues the storm-tossed (vv.23-32)

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    1. End of self

      Verses 23-27 pictures how the nation of Israel came to the end of itself.

Psalm 107:23–27 23 Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters; 24 They have seen the works of the Lord, And His wonders in the deep. 25 For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, Which lifted up the waves of the sea. 26 They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; Their soul melted away in their misery. 27 They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wits’ end.

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Those on the vast ocean have seen the works of the LORD, His wonders in the deep oceans and seas. But any seamen would tell you that when a storm arises and begins to lift up the waves on the sea, fear results. Why? Because there is trouble!

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The vast ocean with its wonders along with its storm and waves…the seamen begin to realize how small they really are! With natural forces so strong that display the wisdom and sheer power of God, with them we can come to realize that our lives continue, not by our incredible wisdom, but by God’s permission.[3]

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EXP: Jerusalem, in Isaiah 54:11, underneath Babylonian rule is described as being “storm-tossed.” Isaiah 54:11 11 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted…

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Jerusalem, storm-tossed and not comforted!

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Lamentations 1:1–3 1 How lonely sits the city That was full of people! She has become like a widow Who was once great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces Has become a forced laborer! 2 She weeps bitterly in the night And her tears are on her cheeks; She has none to comfort her Among all her lovers. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; They have become her enemies. 3 Judah has gone into exile under affliction And under harsh servitude; She dwells among the nations, But she has found no rest; All her pursuers have overtaken her In the midst of distress.

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And they are at their wits’ end…they are at the end of their own wisdom! They are at the end of themselves! So what do they do?

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  1. Cry to the Lord

Psalm 107:28 28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

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And? …

  1. He delivers

“And He brought them out of their distresses” of course!

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Psalm 107:29–30 29 He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. 30 Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven.

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And that passage I read earlier, Isaiah 54:11, continues and it reads…

Isaiah 54:11-12 11 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, Behold, I will set your stones in antimony, And your foundations I will lay in sapphires. 12 “Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies, And your gates of crystal, And your entire wall of precious stones.

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TRANS: The Lord delivers! And our response?

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  1. We praise

    Psalm 107:31–32 31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! 32 Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people, And praise Him at the seat of the elders.

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APP: And we can’t help but think of the disciples when they were in the boat with Jesus.

At the end of Mark 4, and you could turn over there…Mark 4 … Jesus says to his disciples verse 35, “let us go over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.” They take a boat that could probably hold about 15 people. And when they were in the middle of the sea of Galilee, there arose a great windstorm that caused the waves to break over into the boat so much that the boat was filling up with water.

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Now, the Sea of Galilee is located in a depression some 700 ft below sea level and is surrounded by hills. Rushes of wind would frequently mix with the right temperatures above of the sea and cause a storm to come upon the lake suddenly. Storms on the sea of Galilee were notorious for being violent and sudden.

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And during this storm, Jesus, likely being exhausted from the ministry of the day, falls asleep! (and as we can see, no doubt, testing their faith). And so the disciples come and wake him up and say, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” Don’t you care that we are about to die?

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Without so much as a yawn, Jesus gets up and rebukes the wind and says to the sea, “Peace, be still” and the winds and the waves sweetly obey His will [LOWER VOLUME] “Peace, peace be still.”

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So the storm ends even more suddenly than it began. And the disciples response to this is that they, verse 41, became very much afraid and they began to wonder what kind of person this is who can command nature and it obeys. You too would have great fear if there was someone in your midst who could command nature and make it obey.

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And you know what? They didn’t drown …! 5:1 They came to the other side of the sea.

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Don’t you remember how it all started? Jesus said v.35, “Let’s go to the other side of the sea.” What? Did you think He was bluffing? What? You heard Him say that…He didn’t say “let’s go into the storm and drown,” that’s not what He said. Why is it that you have no faith? Don’t you believe what He says will happen? “Let’s go to the other side.”

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And they came to the other side of that lake! Have faith in God and fear Him!

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CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Psalm 107

Israel needed deliverance, redemption. In their captivity to Babylon, it’s as if they were wanderers, lost in the desert of sin. Hungry, thirsting, fainting.

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It’s as if they were prisoners, fast bound in sin and nature’s night, and there was none to help. In their captivity, it’s as if they were sick and afflicted because of their sin, drawing near to the gates of death.

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It’s as if they were storm-tossed, so small and insignificant on the wide open sea, at the end of their own wisdom as to what to do. But then they CRIED out to the Lord and the LORD heard them and delivered them out of all their distresses.

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He leads the lost wanderer on the straight and narrow way, satisfying his hungry and thirsty soul. His eye diffuses a quickening ray, and flames the sinners dungeon with light; loosening his chains of sin forever.

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He applies the eternal balm of Gilead to the sin sick soul and gives faith in Jesus and the fear of God to those storm-tossed. Cry out to God and watch Him redeem you forever.

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Psalm 107:21–22 21 And let us give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! 22 Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, And tell of His works with joyful singing.

Psalm 107:43 43 Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things, And consider the lovingkindnesses of the Lord. #505 READ stanzas, focusing on stanza 2.

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Go to Psalms Main Page

Go To Old Testament Books

Go To BibleTrove Home Page

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  1. https://listverse.com/2014/01/16/10-astonishing-desert-survival-tales/

  2. http://smartandrelentless.com/can-you-believe-god-forgives-ex-criminals-six-great-people-who-transformed-their-lives/ ; michaelfranzese.com

  3. Kidner, Psalms.

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