Chapter 107 begins the last division of the Psalms. At each division, we marked the theme. In Psalms 1-41, the theme is man and these opening chapters correspond to Genesis, the first book of the Pentateuch. The next section (42-72) corresponds to Exodus with the theme of deliverance. Book III (73-89) has sanctuary as its theme and is comparable to Leviticus. Book IV (90-106) is about wandering and matches Numbers. Finally, Book V relates to Deuteronomy with the theme of chapters 107-150 being the word of God.
The pinnacle of this section is Psalm 119 which may be considered The Ode to the Word. This is the longest of the psalms with 176 verses of the psalmist’s exuberance for the importance of the word in his life and that of all believers. Today’s reading of the 107th psalm sets the tone for the section as the author describes the source of all problems—“…they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High…” (v.11). Who does not see this as the cause of Adam’s fall? No truer words could be spoken for the causes of evil that have fallen upon our country. As the word of God became less prominent in homes, schools, and government institutions, the influence of righteous morality suffered. Finally, it has come to the place that any candidate for public office that claims guidance from the principles of the Bible, as our founding fathers did, is regarded as a religious buffoon. Political parties distance themselves from the morally upright to garner votes from the godless.
The psalmist catalogs the successes and failures of Israel according to their respect for and obedience to God’s word. When they rebelled against the word, “…he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help…” (v. 12). When they came back to Him, “…he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.” (vv. 13b-14).
While we cannot claim a spiritual revival for America or any promise of preservation for this nation, we can claim God’s promise to the church. Israel is representative of God’s people, and what God’s people need is a revival of the word. In the church, the Bible has gone away just as it has in society in general. Few Christians make it a regular practice to read and study scripture. They would much more readily pick up a fad book of how to with its 7 Steps to God’s Blessings, or 5 Ways to Spiritual Success. Browse the bookstores and see how many formulas there are for peace, happiness, and contentment. Rarely do you see one that says, One Step—Obey God. This is the psalmist’s basic message—“Do not rebel against the words of God.” The command presupposes knowledge of what God’s word says.
In each of our messages with their variety of subjects, each topic always comes back to one issue—what does God’s word say about it? This is always central—what do we know about the word? I must always impress the value of the word. Living for Jesus is nothing more or less than living in His word.
“Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.” (v. 43).
Pastor V. Mark Smith