Wednesday of Lent IV – Psalm 107:1-9

1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
    whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
    from the east and from the west,
    from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes,
    finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
    their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
    till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

The psalter is such an interesting book of the Bible. Did you know that the middle verse and middle chapter of the whole Bible are also the shortest chapter of the Bible? Psalm 117 can claim all three of those titles.

The book of Psalms itself is broken into five books, probably a deliberate echo of the five books of Moses. This psalm, Psalm 107, is the opening of book 5. Do you find the opening words familiar? I do, they are the words of the prayer my family speaks after meals. Some use them as a prayer before meals. They occur no less than four times in this final section of the book of Psalms. If you look it up, you will notice that we only get the first section of this rather long psalm. It goes on to imagine other scenarios, all ending the same way. The wandering and lost soul is afflicted in the journey, cries out to God, and God delivers them. Not all of those afflicted are physically traveling, some are in a more spiritually problematic predicament. He ends by telling us that God turns deserts into pools, calms storms, brings down the arrogant, and lifts up the needy.

The final words of the psalm are the punch line of sorts:

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
    let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

This year is giving us lots of reasons to wonder what God is up to. What else can go wrong? But what was true for the psalmist is true for us. The LORD will deliver us from all these afflictions. The people in this psalm cried to the Lord and he delivered them. He led them by a straight way to the city where they belonged. Thank the Lord. He has done good things. He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry with good things. This is wisdom.

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