Psalm 107 celebrates how much we have to be thankful for as God’s redeemed people. We are a people who have been saved out of deep disaster by our faithful God. The depths of disaster are plumbed in this psalm in ways we can only sketch out briefly here. But the psalm gives us four vivid pictures, functioning almost like parables, which describe the depths into which God’s people have plunged themselves.
The first picture is of a wandering people who are lost and homeless (vv. 4–9). It is never a good thing to be lost, but the image here is of people who are so lost that even if they knew where they were, they would have nowhere to go. They cannot stay where they are and live (v. 5), but neither do they have anywhere they belong.
The second picture of disaster is of people who are imprisoned at hard labor and awaiting execution (vv. 10–16). This is not the result of some false conviction; these inmates are all guilty. All that awaits them is execution and death.
The third picture is of those who have made themselves sick (vv. 17–22). This sickness is not the kind that comes to us all through no fault of our own. This sickness is like that experienced by the drug addict who has ruined his health through substance abuse or the alcoholic who has ruined his liver through hard drinking. The sickness pictured here is fatal and will certainly lead to death.
The final picture is of those who are lost at sea during a hurricane or typhoon (vv. 23–32). They are totally at the mercy of the raging wind and waves. The situation is beyond their skill as sailors; their resources and their strength are completely exhausted (vv. 26–27).
All these vivid pictures portray those who are hopelessly lost and powerless to save themselves from the deep disasters into which they have plunged themselves. But about all these lost souls comes one repeated refrain: “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble” (v. 28). Those who are hopeless and powerless in themselves come to realize that their covenant God is their only hope of deliverance. They all put their trust in Him and called on His name and found the same glorious result: “And he delivered them from their distress” (v. 28).
I don’t know what kinds of troubles you might be experiencing now as a Christian. But I know that we all dig our own graves with our sins. Thanks be to God that we have a covenant Lord, Jesus Christ, to whom we can call from the depths of our self-made distress, knowing that He will lift us out and save us. There is no disaster so deep, no situation so hopeless that the Lord will not hear you if you call and will not come and deliver you from all your distress. He can save the lost, the condemned, the sick, and the sinking. We can depend on this because He is good and His steadfast love endures forever. Let us give thanks that this God is our God (v. 1) and meditate on His amazing love always (v. 43).