Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Blessed encouragement from the Psalms...

In my Bible reading not too long ago (I am working my way through a one-year devotional Bible) I read Psalms 107, 108, and 109. What a blessing they were! I have always been impressed, in Psalm 107, by the way God delivered His people from distresses when they cried unto Him. Today I was noticing particularly what He did when He delivered them from the various distresses they were calling to Him from.

"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..." (verses 6-7)

"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." (v. 13-14)

"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." (v.19-20)

"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."

What an encouragement to me today! The last verse, 43, comes to the conclusion: "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD."

In the Treasury of David, Spurgeon noted: "In a thousand ways the lovingkindness of the Lord is shown, and if we will but prudently watch, we shall come to a better understanding of it. To understand the delightful attribute of lovingkindness is an attainment as pleasant as it is profitable."

Spurgeon quotes a man named William Romaine: "[Whoso is wise] observes what is said on this Psalm concerning those things; and he knows it to be true, by his own experience. And therefore the lovingkindness of the Lord here recorded is to him a subject of exceeding great joy, because he has tasted of it. Whoso is wise will bring his knowledge of this Psalm home to his own heart, and he shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord, he shall be able to apply what he understands to his own benefit, and shall therefore be continually praising the Lord for His goodness, and declaring the wonders which He has done for the salvation of men."

For those who prefer their commentary to be in less archaic language, J. Vernon McGee gives a simple illustration about God's lovingkindness. He writes: "A little girl has defined lovingkindness. She said, 'If you ask your mother for a piece of bread and butter, and she gives it to you, that is kindness. But if she puts jam on it without you asking her, that is lovingkindness.' My friend, the lovingkindness of God is lavished upon us who belong to Him."

And of course, four times throughout Psalm 107 (following each instance of God's deliverance of His people) we read, "Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!"

I love what William MacDonald wrote about this Psalm. He says,

"There is a common behavior pattern in the lives of God's people which can be summarized [as follows]:


First of all the people stray from the Lord, walking in disobedience to His Word. Then they suffer the bitter consequences of their backsliding. When they come to themselves, they cry out to the Lord in confession of sin. He then forgives their sin and brings them back into the place of blessing once more. It is the old story of the prodigal son and surely no story is more familiar, more relevant, and true to life.

Two basic facts emerge from the contemplation of this ever-recurring cycle. One is the perpetual proneness of the human heart to wander away from the living God. The other is the seemingly inexhaustible mercy of the Lord in restoring His people when they come to Him in repentance."

I was also greatly encouraged today by some verses from Psalm 108 and 109:

"Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that will tread down our enemies." (Psalm 108:12-13)

"I give myself unto prayer...
"Do Thou for me, O GOD the Lord, for Thy name's sake: because Thy mercy is good, deliver Thou me. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me...
Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to Thy mercy: That they may know that this is Thy hand; that Thou, LORD, hast done it." (Psalm 109:4b,21-22, 26-27)

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