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The Working of the Lord

“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction; they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep. For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits’ end. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants. He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in; they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield. By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish. When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow, he pours contempt on princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes; but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks. The upright see it and are glad, and all wickedness shuts its mouth. Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.” ~Psalm 107

The way of the Lord in dealing with his people…this is Psalm 107. I have particularly loved this song for a while now, ever since I actually understood it — it is so rich and deep and full! So, come with me and consider the steadfast love of the Lord!

The “supernatural” working of the Lord in the lives of each of his people is here on grand display. Of course, it isn’t really “supernatural” or somehow “unnatural” that God works so immediately in the lives of each child of his. That is just a way of thinking we have acquired, by osmosis, if you will, from the culture in which we have been raised. Scripture, on the other hand, teaches us that it is perfectly natural, normal, and usual, that the hand of the Lord is at work immediately in and throughout our lives. I think that perhaps that is one reason why Psalm 107 so catches my heart — for it is, as it were, a record of my own experiences being a child of God.

The steadfast love of the Lord is on display throughout this song — and is even explicitly the purpose of its composition, according to the last verse: “Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.”

There are roughly about six sections here, four of them opening with “Some”: “Some wandered in desert wastes. etc.”; “Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, etc.”; “Some were fools through their sinful ways, etc.”; “Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the the great waters, etc.” Surely, every one of us has been in at least one, if not all, of these same circumstances (or ones very like them) and have been delivered by the mighty working of our God, as described by the Psalmist here.

It is the common experience of the saints to know what it is to be hungry and thirsty for righteousness, is it not? For us to know what it is to sit in the sorrow of afflictions? To learn that the paths of the transgressor are hard? To be overcome by events? And, in all of these situations, to be saved out of them by the working of the Lord in his providence and his kind application of his Word to us by the Spirit?

Here is the hand of the Lord revealed, here is his steadfast love demonstrated, here is the root and ground of all our praises!

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and blessing!”  ~Revelation 5:12

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