Devotional Word for Thursday, April 16, 2020
I’m still thinking about Psalm 107. I’m thinking about North and South, East and West. I’m thinking about all the ways we humans can get disoriented, can get lost, can be on our way to perdition. In other words, be under the control of the Deceiver. Let me read verses 2 and 3 of Psalm 107 again: Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary, And gathered from the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south.
Did you notice the redeemed are redeemed “from the hand of the adversary”? That’s the devil. He’s the adversary and he’s all over the place. That’s why the redeemed are from every point of the compass. But notice that God’s redemption reaches to every point of the compass! That’s good to know. What might those points of the compass be? Psalm 107 lists four types of persons redeemed by God. I don’t think that’s an exhaustive list, but I do think it’s a representative list. Let’s consider them:
The first group is comprised of those who wandered in the wilderness in a desert region; they did not find a way to an inhabited city. [Psalm 107:4] These are secularists, worldly folk who don’t know there is a compass, or that there are true directions to follow. When God delivers them, He leads them by a straight way to go to an inhabited city. [v. 7] When they discover the compass and its accurate points, boom, they are led to where they need to go.
The second group depicts those who dwelt in darkness . . . prisoners in chains . . . they had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High. [vv. 10-11] These folk know there is a compass, but they insist on making their own compass with their own directional points. They are God-denying atheists. The devil has them in bondage. When God delivers them, He brings them out of darkness and . . . breaks their bonds apart. [v. 14] When they come back to the true compass, boom, they find true freedom!
The third group is described as fools . . . rebellious . . . afflicted . . . [who] abhorred all kinds of food. [vv. 17-18] These would be those who want to establish their own good works, self-righteous Pharisees. They engage in self-disciplinary actions that don’t lead them to God; just the opposite, to the Adversary. When God delivers them, He sends His word and heals them . . . from their destructions. [v. 20] The true compass shows them where true righteousness lies: with God’s Word! They learn what is pleasing to God: telling of His works with joyful singing. [v. 22]
The fourth group shows those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters. [v.23] These are materialists. They want to buy and sell and make lots of money. When God sends stormy seas, they reel and stagger . . . and are at their wits’ end. [v. 27] When God delivers them, He causes the storm to be still . . . and guides them to their desired haven. [vv. 29-30] When the true compass directs their ship, the storms still, and a true haven of rest is reached.
So, four types of people: the Lost Secularist; the God-denying Atheist; the Self-Righteous Pharisee; and the Greedy Materialist. Such folk are found in the East, West, North, and South. And God is able to deliver all of them! When He brings them to the end of their selves, all do the same thing: Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. Verses 6, 13, 19, and 28 say the same thing. Isn’t that great! We need to remember God’s saving/delivering power. We need to tell others about it as well, inviting folk in the midst of their troubles to cry out to God. He can deliver them.
One other aspect is the same with each of the four groups: how they should respond to God’s deliverance. It’s this: Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! That exactly what verses 8, 15, 21, and 31 state. You and I need to hear and heed that encouragement as well. Let’s always remember to thank the Lord for His goodness towards us, the wonderful ways He works in our lives.
Let us pray: O Lord God, You are gracious and kind to the human race. Thank You for bringing us to the end of ourselves so that we call out to You. Thank You for hearing our prayers and delivering us. Thank You for the wonders You have worked and still work in our lives. Help us call out to You on behalf of those who do not yet know Your delivering power. We ask this in the name of Him who is our Great Deliverer, even Jesus Christ, our Savior and the Lord of all. Amen.