OK, I’ll admit it up front: there’s a double entendre in Psalm 107:1-3, and I am suggesting using an interpretive road “less traveled” in medotating on these verses and the overall message of the Psalm.
Psalm 107:2 begins with “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…”(NASB) and, unfortunately, that sometimes remains the only verse that is remembered out of the 43 written. I remember the oldish-chorus that cried out about twenty-five years ago, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so….I’m redeemed, I’m redeemed, I’m redeemed!”
I propose that half-verse is only half the message, and possibly the less important half of the point the Psalmist is emphasizing.
The encouragement from Psalm 107 would then read…let those redeemed from the hand of the adversary – give thanks and say that His lovingkindness is everlasting; let those gathered from “the lands,” from “the east and from the west, from the north and from the south” (v. 3) give thanks and say that His lovingkindness is everlasting. That would be proclaiming good news, indeed, praise-evangelism dispersing accolades about God’s character among the nations, tribes and people-groups.
The message being proclaimed would change from His heart having found me, to His heart reaching out to find them…an invitation to meditate on Him and His goodness, as an ongoing testimony…not a history lesson of His provision, long ago.
The God’s Word translation states, “Give thanks to the Lord because He is good, because His mercy endures forever. Let the people the Lord defended repeat these words. They are the people he defended from the power of their enemies…” (Psa 107:1-2)
The Psalmist describes several categories of “distresses” and how God demonstrated His lovingkindness and goodness to involve Himself in their lives and provide deliverance. He acted on behalf of those who were “hungry and thirsty” and had “their soul” faint within them (v. 5); on behalf of those “who dwelt in darkness,” described as “prisoners in misery and chains, because they had rebelled against the words of God” (v. 10-11); on behalf of “fools, because of their rebellious way, and because of their iniquities” (v. 17); on behalf of those whose “soul melted away in their misery…and at their wits’ end” (v. 27, all NASB)
Pretty commonplace situations. The Psalmist declares, “He delivered them out of their destructions…He brought them out of their distresses…He guided them to their desired haven…He blesses them…He sets the needy securely on high away from affliction…” (v. 19, 20, 28, 38, 41, NASB)
Do we know any people in similar situations…or who need havens, blessings, being away from affliction?
If your daily routine is anything like mine…they’re everywhere. The more important question is, do our lives demonstrate only a self-focused redemption…or one that proclaims His everlasting lovingkindness and goodness, extending to them His love and an invitation to enter in.