Reading the Word
Psalm 107:1–9 (ESV)
1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble 3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. 4 Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; 5 hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. 6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 7 He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. 8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 9 For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Understanding and Applying the Word
This psalm is a call to give thanks to God for his salvation. The psalm then tells of the salvation of different groups of people. Verses 4-9 tell us of the first group who are described as “wandering in the desert wastes” and having no city to dwell in. As a result, they are “hungry and thirsty” and their soul faints within them. The people cried to the Lord for help and he delivered them.
It is uncertain what the historical background is for this text. It possibly refers to the wanderings recorded in Numbers following the exodus from Egypt. It may also refer to the return of the exiles from Babylon after captivity. Regardless, it points us to the larger story of Scripture that tell us that God is gathering a people together who will live for eternity in a new heaven and new earth where there is a city for his people: the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21). We are currently living in the wilderness of this sinful world where we hunger and thirst for righteousness, but we are sure that a new world awaits and that our souls will be filled. Let the redeemed give thanks!
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