We are usually admonished to praise God in these psalms.  But today the psalmist addressed God directly as a participant in the song of life.  To live for God we have to live with God, illustrating our trust for the world to see.  Like dark matter and dark energy we cannot measure the spiritual realm, but we know that it holds the universe together.  Someone is there for anyone who can see with the eyes of faith.

O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;  And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.  They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.  Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.  Psalm 107:1-5

To speak to God with gratitude acknowledges his participation in the conversation and in our conversion.  Acknowledgement to him and to our world confirms the source of safety to all who know they need to be saved from a spiritual enemy.  Everyone so redeemed still has a journey to reach a promised land, and it is still a hard road.  When I announce that God is my source and destination our fellow travelers know where to find what they are hungering for.

Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.  And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.  Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;  Psalm 107:6-10

Amazingly after all these lessons the people do remember who to turn to for help.  They find the right road through the hard times and arrive at the city of glory.  If people would just give honor and praise to God for the neighbors to learn about him!  He does deliver hope to the needy.  Those neighbors are bound in death by the mistakes that tear their lives apart.  Old fashioned mistakes like fornication and greed fail to build a good life.  Avoidable mistakes bring them disease, divorce, poverty, and prison.

Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:  Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.  Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.  He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.  Psalm 107:11-16

Because they rebelled…the cause is found in their choices.  Although God allowed the consequences they suffered, but only enough to be awakened.  We can all wake up and follow their example.  They cried to the Lord and he saved the people who didn’t deserve to be saved.  There was real pain and despair before that relief came, and we only need to remember to appreciate what God has offered us.  We should tell our neighbors who gives us mercy, grace, and wisdom for safety.  The Lord is good.

Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.  Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.  Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.  He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Psalm 107:17-20

Who is punished?  Those who try to evade the natural laws of God.  Those who refuse to believe that they answer to a real God discover real distress until they hear that God is good.  Then they speak to God and discover mercy.  Israel repeated this cycle endlessly as an example to us.  Don’t we sometimes read the bible and wonder why they never learn?  They are our example for today.

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.  They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;  These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.  For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. Psalm 107:21-25

So, church, it is our job to praise God to our friends so they remember his name.  Giving thanks is a sacrifice for them, a huge effort after actively ignoring him.  Once they start he joins them and inspires their rejoicing.  This pattern is also seen among the men who go to sea as sailors.  They witness the power of his works as the waves sink and rise to tower over them.  I took a canoe past a breakwater in Lake Huron once, and immediately felt the power of the lake pulling me away from the safety of land. I retreated quickly.

They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.  Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.  He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.  Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.  Psalm 107:26-30

Those stormy waves can still overpower the modern super freighters.  The oceans, and even the Great Lakes have broken the backs of steel leviathans.  Those men witness a ship capsizing and rolling like a toy while their legs forget where their balance is at.  These men remember what prayer is for, and God remembers to honor them.  There are many kinds of storms in life, and God is prepared to guard the coasts of your home as well.

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.  He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground;  A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.  He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. Psalm 107:31-35

How can God bring them to the desired haven if no one is operating the lighthouse?  Who will publish a declaration of the safe haven in Jesus name?  God can turn the rivers and seas into a desert.  In Russia the Aral Sea has become a desert as our cover photo shows, but in Israel the desert has been made to bloom as the people of the land return.

And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation;  And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase.  He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.  Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.  He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. Psalm 107:36-40

Where God created the waters he brought the hungry to build their city.  Even today God has planted the Jews in prosperous fields and they are blessed in Israel.  They do still see war and strife, but they will see their way to salvation in his time.  God has no respect for leaders who mislead or abuse their flocks so they are left in confusion.

Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.  The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.  Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD. Psalm 107:41-43

While leaders are lost, their people are delivered from poverty and established their families as his own sheep.  Those who observe the deliverance of the oppressed will celebrate while evil will fall silent in fear.  Wisdom will have the spiritual view of all this and reflect the love that God would want, even as he gives.