August 31, 2012

Give Thanks to the Lord

Psalm 107 came to my attention recently. I read through it, and read through it again. As I read through it for the 3rd time a theme begun to jump out. "Give thanks to the Lord." It says that 4 times. I read it again, and realized that each time the people give thanks, it is in response to deliverance. "He delivered them" 4 times.

1. The Lord Delivered Them From Wandering Aimlessly (Psa 107:4-9)
"Some wandered in desert wastes" - Many people wander aimlessly through life. Not knowing where to turn or what to do with their lives. They set out in search of whatever they can find. There is no solid foundation. They believe whatever philosophy or religion feels right at the time. Truth is whatever feels good at the moment. The other day I tried to build a sandcastle at the beach. I knew the tide was still coming in, but I built close to the water anyway. It didn't take long for the waves to begin to destroy my walls. Within 30 minutes there was no trace of my work left.

When we wander aimlessly through life, that is what happens. Everything we think we have built will be destroyed by the first waves of adversity that come crashing in around us.

2. The Lord Delivered Them From Darkness (Psa 107:10-16)
"Some sat in darkness" - Other people just sit, as if blind, in their own ignorance. We allow politicians, comedians, and movie and TV producers to feed our minds. We don't think for ourselves. That's to much work. Read a book? Learn? Have my own opinion? Why would I take the time to do that when I can just get it from the latest sitcom?

The psalmist tells us that those who sat in darkness eventually "bowed their hearts down with hard labor, they fell down, with none to help." We can't let the world think for us. We mustn't just sit back and allow our hearts and minds to be influenced by worldly philosophies. We have to learn to feed ourselves, to think for ourselves, and to make wise decisions based on God's standards given to us in His Word.

3. The Lord Delivered Them From Sin (Psa 107:17-22)
"Some were fools through their sinful ways" - The ways of the world are attractive to our humanity. It's far to easy to get pulled into the sinful things of this world. If we wander aimlessly through life, if we allow the philosophies of the world to control our thinking, we will become as fools through our sinful ways.

It is so important to know and follow the commands God has given to us in His Word. God doesn't create a set of rules to make our life hard. The rules are meant to set us free! We have freedom within the boundaries of God's love for us. That should be exciting for us to know that God cares enough to give us guidelines that are meant to protect us from harm.

4. The Lord Delivered Them From The Pursuit of Worldly Wealth (Psa 107:23-31)
"Some went down to the sea in ships" - The psalmist goes on to describe the sea merchants who trade their goods in the marketplace. The Bible says "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) You can spend your entire life working for wealth. But earthly wealth is fleeting. It can disappear in a vapor over night. Worldly wealth gives us a sense of ownership and entitlement. I worked hard, so I deserve it!

But the Bible teaches that we are to store up our treasures in heaven. "Where your treasure is there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:21) Be careful that you don't get caught up in the lie of worldly wealth.

In each of these 4 examples, we see that the Lord was able to deliver! That's the good news! No matter how helpless you feel, or how hopeless it seems, the Lord will deliver you, if you will let Him! "Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress." God longs to have you join Him, to be a part of His amazing family. Through Jesus Christ we each have the opportunity to be adopted into His family. Are you feeling trapped? Do you feel like you are wandering in the desert? Sitting in darkness? Sining like a fool? Or chasing worldly wealth? Then why not stop right now and cry out to the Lord. He will deliver you, and give you strength and courage to do what's right.

"Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love."

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