Other studies from this week's reading:
Psalm 107 begins what is labeled in many Bibles as “Book V” of the Psalms. This book—or collection—of Psalms was most likely assembled upon the Israelites return to the land of Israel at the end of their captivity in Babylon. After 70 years of captivity, the return to Israel was a monumental sign of the Lord to those returning, something that is very rare in all of human history. How many times has a nation that was conquered and dispersed found their way back to their original country and re-formed themselves? So it’s no surprise that the very first Psalm in the final book of the Psalms strongly emphasizes “hesed”—the Hebrew word translated in the NASB as “lovingkindness”.
|1Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
2Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the
hand of the adversary
3And gathered from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
Q: How does this introduction to the Psalm fit with the definition of lovingkindness provided above?
A: His love endures for the purpose of redeeming the sinner, of bringing them back to Him spiritually. The redeemed are those who He has never given up on and that have responded spiritually to His gathering them back. It the very picture of the meaning of God’s lovingkindness.
In v.4-32 are 4 teachings of the nature of God’s lovingkindness. Although they vary in length, each is structured in the exact same order: (1) the people’s sin, (2) the people’s cry for a return to God, (3) God’s application of His lovingkindness, and (4) the praise due Him for that lovingkindness. Identify each of these sub-sections and then summarize what they teach about God’s lovingkindness.
|4They wandered in the wilderness in
a desert region;
They did not find a way to an
5They were hungry and thirsty;
Their soul fainted within them.
6Then they cried out to the Lord in
He delivered them out of thei
7He led them also by a straight way,
To go to an inhabited city.
8Let them give thanks to the Lord for
And for His wonders to the sons of
9For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled
with what is good.
Q: What is the first quality of God’s lovingkindness?
A: It endures to satisfy our soul.
Application: The Israelites between Egypt and the Promised Land often grumbled more about their physical circumstances than the spiritual. Do you understand that God often uses physical circumstances to get you to see the need to address the spiritual root causes? Are you or have you ever been in a situation where it took extreme physical circumstances to get you to turn to God? Did He simply erase the circumstances, or were there spiritual steps on your part?
10There were those who dwelt in
Q: What is the second quality of God’s lovingkindness?
A: It endures to set our soul free.
Application: What enslaves you? Is it God’s Word for freedom or a substitute that keeps you in darkness? How can you identify masters to whom you have given authority for an area of your life? [Hint: Those things furthest from adhering to His Word.]
|17Fools, because of their rebelliou
And because of their iniquities, were
18Their soul abhorred all kinds of
And they drew near to the gates of
19Then they cried out to the Lord in
He saved them out of their distresses.
20He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their
21Let them give thanks to the Lord
for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of
22Let them also offer sacrifices of
And tell of His works with joyful
Q: What is the third quality of God’s lovingkindness?
A: It endures to heal our soul.
Application: Have you considered that if you reject even the discussion of God’s Word concerning an area of your life, that this behavior in and of itself identifies a problem area of sin? What should you do for yourself or on the behalf of another with such a condition?
|23Those who go down to the sea in
Who do business on great waters;
24They have seen the works of the Lord,
And His wonders in the deep.
25For He spoke and raised up a stormy
Which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26They rose up to the heavens, they
went down to the depths;
Their soul melted away in their
27They reeled and staggered like a
And were at their wits’ end.
28Then they cried to the Lord in
And He brought them out of their
29He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves of the sea were
30Then they were glad because they
So He guided them to their desired
31Let them give thanks to the Lord for
And for His wonders to the sons of
32Let them extol Him also in the
congregation of the people,
And praise Him at the seat of the
Q: What is the fourth quality of God’s lovingkindness?
A: It endures to put our soul at peace.
Application: Do you—or someone you know—believe that if your time is not spent in another religious pursuit, but merely on earthly needs, that it’s somehow not replacing God? Have you noticed how the more consumed a person gets with obtaining financial security, how often they become more afraid of losing it? Does this result in more or less peace? Have they arrived at the “safe haven” they so desired in the first place?
Q: What are the 4 characteristics of God’s lovingkindness?
Q: What is the main focus of concern of God’s lovingkindness and why?
A: Our soul. It’s redeeming us for all eternity—both this life and the next—not out of momentary circumstances.
|33He changes rivers into a
And springs of water into a thirsty
34A fruitful land into a salt waste,
Because of the wickedness of those
who dwell in it.
35He changes a wilderness into a
pool of water
And a dry land into springs of
36And there He makes the hungry
So that they may establish an
37And sow fields and plant
And gather a fruitful harvest.
38Also He blesses them and they
And He does not let their cattle
Q: What is the difference between God’s works in v.33-34 versus 35-38?
A: He takes away whatever’s necessary to give sinners the opportunity to see from their own circumstances that they need to return to Him (v.33-34), versus responding to those acknowledging their need for Him by supplying every spiritual resource in abundance.
Application: How satiated is your soul right now? For what do you hunger and thirst and desire? What does this teach you about yourself? How will God probably work on those hungers, thirsts, and desires?
|39When they are diminished and
Through oppression, misery and
40He pours contempt upon princes
And makes them wander in a
41But He sets the needy securely on
high away from affliction,
And makes his families like a flock.
42The upright see it and are glad;
But all unrighteousness shuts its
43Who is wise? Let him give heed
to these things,
And consider the lovingkindnesses
of the Lord.
Q: What is the basic message conveyed in v.39-41?
A: Earthly appearances of one’s place and position are not always equal to one’s place in the eyes and estimation of God. Those who appear to have much are in reality wandering in spiritual darkness, while those who often appear to lack earthly goods and title are the most spiritually secure.
Q: What is the response of these two disparate parties according to v.42?
A: “The upright”—those responding to His lovingkindness—realize the reality of the situation and that they are secure eternally even if earthly circumstances are temporarily less than ideal. “Unrighteousness” is dumbfounded by it’s inability to resolve it all on their own through their own means.
Q: What is the solution?
A: To “give heed to these things”—that is, to respond to the Lord by not just acknowledging Him but being obedient to Him.