By Rony Kozman, Ph.D.
Assistant professor of Biblical Studies, Samford University
THREE REASONS FOR GIVING THANKS
Give thanks because God redeems us. (1–3)
Psalms 104–106 recount Scripture’s story. Israel’s God is the Creator of the world. His works demonstrate His wisdom and power, and the earth should praise Him (Ps. 104).
God made a covenant with Abraham, and He was faithful to His promise, rescuing Abraham’s descendants from Egypt, leading them to the promised land and giving them His laws to keep (Ps. 105). In contrast to God’s faithfulness to His promises and covenants, Israel was unfaithful (Ps. 106).
The consequences of Israel’s transgression of the covenant God made with them at Sinai were that Israel would suffer devastation at the hands of foreign nations and be exiled from the promised land. Psalm 107 lists the various curses that fell upon Israel for breaking the covenant. They were thrust out into the harsh wilderness, which threatened their lives, and some were taken captive and imprisoned.
In Psalm 107, the psalmist thanks God for delivering Israel from exile. He thanks God for His love toward His people, for rescuing the exiled people and for returning them to the promised land. We also thank God for rescuing us from the kingdom of darkness, for forgiving our sins and for gathering us into the kingdom of His Son, Jesus Christ (Col. 1:13).
Give thanks because God leads us. (4–7)
The people of Israel are outside their promised land. We can remember their wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. They are pictured as lacking food and water. They are subject to the harsh climate of the wilderness, and they are without the necessities they would readily find in established towns. They were in deep distress and on the verge of death.
In the depth of their despair and suffering, they appealed to the Lord to rescue them, and He intervened. He led them through the wilderness. He straightened their paths and led them to a town where their hunger and thirst could be satisfied.
Likewise, when we are in despair and see our spiritual poverty apart from God, and when we cry out to God to deliver us, we can know He will straighten our crooked paths of sin and lead us into His kingdom.
Give thanks because God gives us everything good. (8–9)
According to His steadfast love, God rescued Israel. He gave food and drink to the hungry. He liberated the prisoners (vv. 14–16). And He healed their sicknesses (v. 17). All these consequences are the curses of the covenant that fell upon Israel for breaking Sinai’s law.
The ultimate root of Israel’s and humanity’s devastation is that Israel and all the nations “rebelled against the words of God” (v. 11), and all humanity suffers distress because of our iniquities (v. 17).
The Son of God, Jesus Christ, entered a world that was hungry and thirsty, a world that was imprisoned by sin and the spiritual forces of evil. And Jesus saw us in distress.
Through His death and resurrection, He defeated the root of our oppression — sin and death. We look forward to the Day of the Lord, when Jesus returns and finally vanquishes our oppressors. This is the day when we will never again hunger or thirst or be subject to darkness — when the Light, the Bread of Life and the Living Water returns.
As the true Light, Bread of Life and Living Water, Jesus will not only remove our suffering, He will cause us to flourish with abundance when He returns (vv. 33–38).
We can thank God now for His love for us and offer songs of thanksgiving that Jesus has defeated sin and death. We can joyfully anticipate His return to rescue us from all the corruption that sin has worked.