Theme: The Need for Repentance and Thanksgiving
In this week’s lessons, we are reminded of the need to trust the Lord for his deliverance from our struggles, and to praise him for his goodness and mercy.
Scripture: Psalm 107:33-43
Today we conclude our look at the four purposes of the doctrine that even for the righteous, God sends sorrow as well as joy, and hardship as well as material blessing.
3. Calling sinners to repentance. Although the ways of God in this life are not always within our understanding, nevertheless we do discern some important patterns, and one of them is that arrogance, strife, self-love, greed and other forms of wickedness are generally punished, while virtue is frequently rewarded. This enables us to argue that we inhabit a moral universe governed by a moral God and to warn sinners against persisting in behavior that will eventually result in their eternal condemnation by God. This is part of the psalm’s last verse, for it is telling not only the righteous but everyone to wise up and consider how things actually are.
4. Thanksgiving. The final use of this doctrine is that believers should thank God for being what he is and acting as he does. And not only when things are going our way or we have it easy.
The Apostle Paul suffered enormous hardships in his efforts to take the gospel throughout the known Roman world, including an imprisonment at the end of which he was beheaded. But it was this very apostle who wrote, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Phil. 4:12), and who told the Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (vv. 6, 7).
So let’s do it. The psalm tells us to: 1) give thanks; 2) tell others; and 3) “heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD.”
Alexander Duff was an eloquent pastor and missionary pioneer, the first sent to India by the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. On October 14, 1829, he and his wife set out for the Indian subcontinent on a ship called the Lady Holland, and four months later, at midnight on February 13, 1830, the ship ran aground while attempting to navigate the Cape of Good Hope. The pounding surf soon destroyed the ship, washing everything it held away, but miraculously all the passengers and crew made it safely to land.
Nothing remained of their belongings. But as one sailor walked along the shore looking for food and fuel, he came upon two books, a Bible and the Scottish Psalm Book. He found the name of Alexander Duff in both of them, so he brought them to the missionary. Duff had been transporting eight hundred books to India, where he hoped to (and later did) establish a college, but of those eight hundred books only these two remained. In spite of this great loss, Duff at once opened the Bible to Psalm 107 and read it to the other survivors, concluding with the words, “Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD” (v. 43).
Can you do that? I remind you that what matters most in life is not the number or greatness of the perils from which we are delivered, but whether we are actually in the hands of that great and loving God. And what also matters is whether or not we will praise God for being as he is and acting as he does. Psalm 107 does this, and as a result it has been a great blessing to God’s people throughout the ages.
In what sense does this psalm call sinners to repentance?
What is the secret of being content?
List three things the psalm tells us to do.
Reflection: Are you able to thank God in all circumstances?
Application: Give God thanks for one trial you are facing. Tell another believer and pray for God’s eternal vision.