Series: Holidays and Special Events / Thanksgiving

Title: Wandering Psalm 107 #thanksgiving


  • 2008-10-04: Atlanta
  • 2008-10-11: Linden
  • 2016-11-19: White Rock Lake


  1. 294: “Power in the Blood”
  2. 286: “Wonderful Words of Life”
  3. 335: “What a Wonderful Savior”

Scripture: Psalm 107:1-3

  1. Introduction
    1. The Thanksgiving season is upon us. How much time do we spend giving thanks to God?
    2. We’re going to examine a psalm that will give us two powerful motivations for thanksgiving.
    3. About Psalm 107
      1. Background of Psalm 107
        1. Probably written for liturgical purposes during one of the annual feasts
        2. Likely written after the return from Babylon
          1. v. 3 suggests a return after being scattered
          2. The author seems to be familiar with Isaiah—v. 16 is nearly the same as Isaiah 45:2
      2. Theme: God’s deliverance
        1. This psalm is a truism, not an absolute. We don’t see God’s deliverance in every case as described in the psalm; rather, it describes how things normally are.
        2. When we don’t see God’s deliverance as described in the psalm, we need to trust that God is still working good, even though we may not see it.
      3. Structure:
        1. Introduction (vv. 1-3)
        2. Four stanzas describing God’s deliverance in specific situations (vv. 4-32); these stanzas are thematically linked as a chiasm:
          1. A: Deliverance from the forces of nature (the desert; vv. 4-9)
            1. B: Deliverance from sin (bondage; vv. 10-16)
            2. B′: Deliverance from sin (illness; vv. 17-22)
          2. A′: Deliverance from the forces of nature (the sea; vv. 23-32)
        3. Two stanzas dealing in a general way with reversals in fortunes (vv. 33-42)
        4. Conclusion (v. 43)
  2. Deliverance from the forces of nature
    1. vv 4-9: The desert
      1. Israel had a history of desert experiences
        1. They had wandered in the desert during the exodus from Egypt
        2. The Promised Land was bordered by desert
        3. Israelite traders would have spent much of their time crossing deserts
      2. No reference is made here to rebellion—their trouble was merely the result of living in an imperfect world
    2. vv. 23-32: The sea
      1. Israelite merchants sailed great distances and were able to observe the sometimes-terrifying vastness of the ocean
      2. Because God at many times demonstrated his control over the sea, it was for Israel a cause of wonder and a sense of security
    3. We too are sometimes caught up in circumstances beyond our control and for which we aren’t responsible
      1. We can call to God in our distress, and He’ll hear us
      2. vv 8, 31 (and the other two intervening stanzas)—a refrain (uncommon, but also found in Ps. 42, 43)–our response to God’s deliverance
  3. Deliverance from sin
    1. vv. 10-16: Bondage
      1. Clearly a reference to foreign bondage
      2. Bondage is also used to refer to rebellion (Isaiah 28:22)
      3. Unlike the previous situations, this trouble is the result of sin
      4. v. 16: “gates of bronze” (NIV): City gates were normally made of wood; this reference pictures the bondage as being the strongest imaginable, yet God breaks it
    2. vv. 17-22: Disease
      1. The sickness in this psalm is the result of sin (sickness with other causes isn’t under consideration here)
      2. Israel had experienced sickness as a result of sin several times:
        1. Quail in the wilderness
        2. Poisonous snakes which lead to the bronze serpent
        3. Miriam’s leprosy
    3. Sometimes our trouble is the result of sin, but these stanzas remind us that God will deliver us from sin if we ask Him to
  4. vv. 33-42: General principles
    1. Discipline
      1. God disciplined His people in times past by sending drought and oppression
      2. Heb 12:5-7—God disciplines us, as well
    2. Restoration
      1. After the people of Israel repented, God restored them; the discipline had served its purpose
      2. Heb 12:11—God’s discipline produces positive results in His children, and God will restore us when we repent
  5. v 43: The summary
    1. Being thankful is wise
    2. 1 Thessalonians 5:18: In everything give thanks (not for everything, but in everything)
  6. Appeal
    1. Are you experiencing a lack of Thanksgiving? Try making a list of things to thank God for.
    2. Is there some sin that is blocking your ability to be thankful? Confess it, forsake it, and thank God for His deliverance.