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 This Psalm is thought to have its roots deep in the history of Israel. It is a Psalm that calls on the reader to reflect and remember. We are to remember what God has done for us and we are called to declare it to those around us. 

In fact, four times in this Psalm we find the exact same exhortation to praise and exalt God for what He has done: 

8 Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

  Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31 NLT


Historically we know that God was continually calling the nation of Israel back to Himself. He longed for them to be obedient. He expected them to be obedient and to follow His will. When you read the Old Testament you find out pretty quickly that they were bent on doing their own will more often than not. At one point we know that they were banished to wander in the wilderness for 40 years to teach them a lesson and school them in learning to follow and trust God. 


Did you know that God actually gives them an explanation after the forty years as they prepare to enter the Promised Land? 


Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and occupy the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. 2 Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. 3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:1-3 NLT

When you read a quote from God Himself you should realize the importance of those words! 

In Psalm 107:3 we read these words: For He has gathered the exiles from many lands, from east and west, from north and south. 

Today its my hope that as we go through this Psalm that we remember. For those of us that have been gathered into Gods family we need to pause and remember what God did for us. We should praise Him today and tell our story. 

There may be some here that will identify with those talked about in this Psalm who were not following God but in fact were rejecting Him and His ways. Hopefully the words contained in this scripture will be a source of hope and even a bit of a lifeline for you. 

This Psalm is written in a fascinating and consistent way. It tells of story of four different kinds of prodigals. All of us have run from God in our lives. At some point many of us ran toward God. I wonder which way you are running today. 

We run from God because we often rebel against authority. But God is not just any authority. 

A pattern of rebellion and rescue:

  • Some wandered in the wilderness. . .

4 Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless. 5 Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. 6 Lord, help! they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. 7 He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live.
8 Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
9 For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalm 107:4-9 NLT

The Rebellion: They were described as being:  lost, homeless, hungry and thirsty 

In many cases this was a reality. People have wandered in their pursuit of sin only to find themselves truly on lost and on the street. Many times those that run from God will find themselves physically hungry and thirsty because of their rebellion. 

I believe that today for the most part, I am talking to some folks that are lost spiritually. You can identify with being homeless, hungry and thirsty spiritually speaking. Now watch what happens: 

The Rescue: He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live. . . He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalm 107:7,9 NLT

If you look at these verses right after the word live you see three periods. That's where we find the verse we are learning today. It is repeated four times in this psalm. Before we read it together let me also point out that verse six is also repeated in this Psalm four times: Lord, help! they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress.

8 Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

  Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31 NLT


For those of us that have wandered in the wilderness but found our way back to God lets say it again. 

The Bible tells the story of Absalom. He was the son of King David Israels greatest king. Through a series of circumstances, Absalom began to despise his father and made plans to become king in his fathers place. He surreptitiously sowed seeds of division and rebellion in his fathers kingdom. In the beginning he did things that did not seem to be a danger, but he was winning the hearts of the people of Israel. The day came when he saw an opportunity and openly led a rebellion against his father David in an attempt to take over his kingdom. Davids greatest fear was that Absalom would be destroyed in the battle, which is what eventually happened. When word came that Absalom had been killed, far from being happy about it, the Bible says, The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you O Absalom, my son, my son! (2 Samuel 18:33).

Davids heart was not to destroy his son, but to save his son, even if it meant dying in his place in spite of what Absalom thought. Absalom wanted to be king, and the ironic thing is that David may have eventually made him a king. David was not his enemy, he was his father. He loved him in spite of his rebellion. So it is with God when we rebel against him. It breaks the heart of our Father because he loves us and wants to give us the kingdom. He was willing to die in our place. Our rebellion is foolish and self-destructive.

        • Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom. . .

10 Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery. 11 They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High. 12 That is why he broke them with hard labor; they fell, and no one was there to help them. 13 Lord, help! they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 14 He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; he snapped their chains.
15 Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. 16 For he broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron. Psalm 107:10-16 NLT

The Rebellion: They are described as being: Imprisoned in the iron of misery

Rebelling against the words of God

Scorning the council of the Most High


One doesn't have to use their imagination too much to think about the rebellious behavior as it is described in these verses. What we are talking about here is nothing more than being bound by the chains of addiction. Preachers will go to great lengths sometimes to illustrate a point. 


A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon. Four worms were placed into four separate jars.


The first worm was put into a container of alcohol.
The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke.
The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup.
The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the Minister reported the following results:
The first worm in alcohol - Dead.
The second worm in cigarette smoke - Dead
Third worm in chocolate syrup - Dead
Fourth worm in good clean soil - Alive.

So the Minister asked the congregation What can you learn from this demonstration?  Maxine was sitting in the back, quickly raised her hand and said, "As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you wont have worms!"  That pretty much ended the service

While that's a humorous story the point is that anything that has control of you other than the Lord is going to leave you imprisoned and bound. Some of us have been there and some of us in this room today are there right now. Like the other story, these who were in sitting in darkness and deepest gloom cried out in their trouble and he saved them from their distress! 


The Rescue: He led them from their darkness and deepest gloom; He snapped their chains. . . For He broke down their prison gates of bronze; He cut apart their bars of iron.  Psalm 107:14,16 NLT


Again let us recite our verse together. This is for those who have been delivered and may it also serve as a promise to those of you still bound in chains. 


8 Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

  Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31 NLT

        • Some were fools. . .

17 Some were fools; they rebelled and suffered for their sins.18 They couldn't stand the thought of food, and they were knocking on deaths door. 19 Lord, help! they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 20 He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. 21 Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. 22 Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts. Psalm 107:17-22 NLT

We have no idea of course what the scenario is here but one thing is for sure it is an accurate portrayal of someone at deaths door. For those of us that have walked with someone during the last days or even weeks of their life, very often food is the last thing they want. 

The Rebellion They are described as being: Rebellious

Suffering for their sins

Couldn't stand the thought of food

Knocking at deaths door 

There are some folks who feel like they are dying and in some cases they might be. In our spiritual lives we can get to the place that we are on the verge of death.

Once again, verse 19 says, Lord, help! They cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.

The Rescue: He sent out His word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death   Psalm 107: 20 NLT


When I read these words, I am made to wonder who is sitting here today that needs to hear them. Who is hear that needs to hear Gods word and be healed and be snatched from the door of death. 


8 Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

  Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31 NLT

         • Some went off to sea in ships. . .

23 Some went off to sea in ships, plying the trade routes of the world. 24 They, too, observed the Lords power in action, his impressive works on the deepest seas. 25 He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves. 26 Their ships were tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits end. 28 Lord, help! they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 29 He calmed the storm to a whisper
and stilled the waves. 30 What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor!
31 Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
32 Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation and before the leaders of the nation.

                                                                                                                  Psalm 107:23-32 NLT


The Rebellion: They are described as: Observing the Lords power in action

Cringed in terror

At their wits end


Some went off the sea in ships! The suggestion here is that people sometimes run from God. Sometimes they even run and disguise it as work. But God found them and displayed His power in the power of nature. While I believe that church is really important, God doesnt need church to get to people.  Jonah found that out in the Old Testament. He ran from God and woke up in the belly of a great fish. He was swallowed whole! I thing he had quite a church service in the belly of a fish. Let me take some verses from Psalm 139: 


I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, 10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. 11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night 12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. Psalm 139:7-12  NLT


The Rescue: He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as He brought them safely into harbor! Psalm 107:29-30 NLT


8 Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

  Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31 NLT


Now lets finish this psalm by looking at the last section of verses: 


A presentation and revelation of God


33 He changes rivers into deserts, and springs of water into dry, thirsty land.
34 He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands, because of the wickedness of those who live there.


35 But he also turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into springs of water. 36 He brings the hungry to settle there and to build their cities.37 They sow their fields, plant their vineyards, and harvest their bumper crops.
 38 How he blesses them! They raise large families there, and their herds of livestock increase.

Psalm 107: 35-38 NLT


A promise about the redemption of God 


39 When they decrease in number and become impoverished through oppression, trouble, and sorrow, 40 the Lord pours contempt on their princes, causing them to wander in trackless wastelands.


41 But he rescues the poor from trouble, and increases their families like flocks of sheep.  42 The godly will see these things and be glad, while the wicked are struck silent.
43 Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord. Psalm 107:41-43 NLT



Let me assure you today that God has you in mind. He know exactly where you are. He knows how far you have run and how far you need to run back to Him. 


Video testimony: Richard Ellis was a pastors kid, raised around church but at 20 he found himself wanting to end it all. For ten years he worked in the business world successfully but he was miserable. In his own words when asked who helped him find God it was a man named Charles Townsend, 


I would not be sitting here if it were not for him and when I met him I thought, God, you gotta be kidding! I was raised around these evangelistic types with big hair, suits and all this stuff. Claude was just a simple guy from the hills of Mississippi. No hair, warts, messed up teeth and I was like, Are you kidding me? This wasn't at all what I was expecting. I was at a point where I was so desperate for some help and for some answers that I said okay


8 Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

  Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31 NLT