In the opinion of many commentators the most beautiful, most poetic and certainly the most stirring section of Psalm 107 is the part that describes the peril of God's people while at sea (vv. 23-32). Although it was not, it might have been written as a description of that difficult sixty-five day late-fall crossing of the turbulent North Atlantic by the Pilgrim fathers and their families. A person needs to have been on the ocean in a great storm to appreciate how accurate those frightening words from verses 23-32 are.

As we read in yesterday's study, we have been slaves to sin, but by his atoning death we have been forever liberated. Can we not each say that we have “rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High,” as the psalmist does in verse 11, and that God “brought [us] out of the darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away [our] chains," as he does in verse 14? Shouldn't we thank God for that deliverance? The refrain says (with appropriate variation from verses 8, 9), “Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.”

Yesterday we looked at the example of homelessness as the first peril described in this psalm. In our congregation at Tenth Presbyterian Church we have many people who have been homeless but who have cried out to the Lord and been given homes to live in. They are thankful for their homes. But how about yourself? Even if you have never been homeless and have always had a home, should you not be even more grateful than those who have only been given homes recently?

Charles Spurgeon wrote that the theme of the psalm is “thanksgiving and the motives for it.”1 That is well said, for thanksgiving is the note struck in the opening verses (vv. 1-3) as well as in the refrain of verses 8-9, 15-16, 21-22 and 31-32.

It may seem strange to anyone who knows anything about the English Puritans to speak of Psalm 107 as “The Pilgrims' Psalm,” not because they did not know, frequently read and greatly cherish it, but because, being people of the Book, they loved and cherished the other psalms, too. In fact, they cherished the entire Bible.