Grace For All (Psalm 107) – May 13, 2022 (133-134/365)

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,

for his steadfast love endures forever!

Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,

whom he has redeemed from trouble

and gathered in from the lands,

from the east and from the west,

from the north and from the south.

Psalms 107:1-3

I know I wrote a little about this before but today I’m compelled to dig deeper into Psalm 107. The theme I’m drawing out of this is that God’s grace is for everyone. It’s grace, free for all; or simply, Grace for all.

Indeed, let us give thanks to the Lord. We cannot separate His character from His greatness. God is Creator, and is therefore superior to His creation. I know I keep on saying it and I’ll keep on sharing it – God is the Creator of the sun and the moon; He established the movements of the planets and the stars, and in so doing, He has created time. Psalm 74:17 also adds that it was God who ‘made summer and winter’, which means that in His involvement in creating time, He has also established the seasons… but more importantly, in the same verse it is mentioned that He ‘established all the boundaries of the earth’.

God is absolutely superior in that He MADE time and space, and is therefore beyond time and space. God is great – He is eternal, and He is infinite.

Again, we cannot separate His character from His greatness. And since we have established that He is infinite and eternal, when we say, therefore, that He is good, we are saying that His goodness shares the same quality – Yes, friend, God’s goodness is also infinite, and eternal. And, of course, it’s also to say that His love is infinite and THAT steadfast, and His love is eternal, and therefore endures forever.

And can we stop at that, and just say that He is good, and He loves us? Sure, but God certainly wasn’t content to merely tell us these things. Through Jesus Christ and His finished work, we have a solid picture of exactly HOW good God is, and how much He loves us.

If you’ve spent some time combing through all the drivel I place on this website (I’m not sure why you do, but hey, thank you!), you know that I could write up a storm about that subject – Christ, and His finished work. I could jump into that rabbit hole again, but hey, I actually want to finish this article, so I’ll just say that our good God loves us so much that Christ was born, He lay down His life, He rose from the dead, and He ascended into heaven, all to redeem us from death, and to reconcile us to God, by way of being our Righteousness unto eternal Life.

This is our God, who has redeemed us from sin and death, and has therefore redeemed us from troubles that would certainly doom us to entropy – the complete erasure and annihilation of our entire being. Indeed, let the redeemed of the Lord say so.

As we keep going through Psalm 107, I would have you notice what I call the ‘pattern of redemption’.

Some wandered in desert wastes,

finding no way to a city to dwell in;

hungry and thirsty,

their soul fainted within them.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,

and he delivered them from their distress.

He led them by a straight way

till they reached a city to dwell in.

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,

for his wondrous works to the children of man!

For he satisfies the longing soul,

and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Psalms 107:4-9

As we live in this reality it is no surprise that some of us would find themselves fully depleted. We’d be drained of all resources, clawing at anything to extract the most we could, exerting more effort to sustain ourselves (that is, if any sustenance is to be found), until we would literally shut down.

We could also find ourselves in literal or figurative deserts, in the middle of nowhere with no direction, no validation of our bearings, no indications of if we’re headed in the right direction or if we’re running around in circles.

But take heart, friends. For if we find ourselves drained and lost, surely we could call out to our Creator. Christ has paid a great price for us to run to the throne of grace in time of need, and when we do call, we be sure that, in His infinite wisdom, we would be rescued from our plight. Christ, who is the Way, leads us to safety; Christ, who is both the Bread and Water of life, satisfies our hunger, and quenches our thirst.

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,

for his wondrous works to the children of man!

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,

prisoners in affliction and in irons,

for they had rebelled against the words of God,

and spurned the counsel of the Most High.

So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;

they fell down, with none to help.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,

and he delivered them from their distress.

He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,

and burst their bonds apart.

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,

for his wondrous works to the children of man!

For he shatters the doors of bronze

and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Psalms 107:10-16

If we aren’t lost and drained, some of us may feel condemned, or imprisoned. Confined, if not literally, trapped within the confines of their own minds. Some of us may feel chained. If we aren’t shackled in irons literally, we may be bound by physical or mental sickness, brought upon us by fear and anxiety.

I read the next verses, and I needed a little time to reconcile them with what I believe – with how we see things according to Christ and His finished work. See, this was who all of us were, before we gave the Gospel any sort of consideration. By default – meaning our passive and active modes – we were rebels against the words of God, spurning the counsel of the Most High. In my mind, our default standing with God was that no matter what we did, we fell short of the grace of God.

If the Psalmist shares here that God ‘bowed (our) hearts down with hard labor’ I’m led to believe that this is the same as the Holy Spirit convicting the world of sin, because they do not believe in Christ (refer to John 16) – basically telling us that something was wrong. Paul shares to the Galatians, that if we were to rely on the law (or really, our own performance) to fix what was wrong, we would end up as the Psalmist mentioned – Fallen, with nobody to help us.

But take heart, friends. For the Law was not merely created to show us the futility of our own actions to gain salvation, but it also served as a tutor for us to look to Christ – the Author and Finisher of our faith. See, it’s one of two things to right the wrong – Follow the Law down to the letter (and eventually fall), or believe in Christ.

Yes, Christ, who by His death and resurrection brought us out of darkness into His kingdom of everlasting Light (Romans 5). Christ, the fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah: He is the One who sets the captives free of sin, and the one who liberates those imprisoned by fear and death.

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,

for his wondrous works to the children of man!

Some were fools through their sinful ways,

and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;

they loathed any kind of food,

and they drew near to the gates of death.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,

and he delivered them from their distress.

He sent out his word and healed them,

and delivered them from their destruction.

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,

for his wondrous works to the children of man!

And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,

and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Psalms 107:17-22

It’s easy for us to dig ourselves into holes we couldn’t get out of. And apparently, when it comes to suffering the consequences of our sin, we see here pointed out that of all things, we’d feel unsatisfied – a state of mind that certainly doesn’t help us when we find ourselves afflicted, as in depressed and suffering, to levels of being that close to the end of our physical bodies.

The wages of sin is death. And before Christ, we who knew nothing but to sin were doomed to die. Any efforts we made on our own to dig us out of our holes only left us with more pain and suffering, in the form of a lack of fulfillment and satisfaction – a slow death.

But take heart, friends. For if, by one man’s trespass, many would die, thank God for Jesus Christ, who by His obedience saved much more – including us! Indeed, the God who said ‘it is good’ at the dawn of Creation was the same Savior who spoke and said ‘it is finished’ at the cross – guaranteeing our freedom from sin, and therefore, our freedom from death and destruction!

So let us not wallow in despair for our past, thinking our sins too heavy to bear – Christ has separated us from our sins, and we can move forward, freely!

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,

for his wondrous works to the children of man!

Now there’s actually one more set of verses in the Psalm, but so far, do you see the point here? There’s no shame in us falling into the traps and the problems of this reality – while we exist in this world, surely we will fall into trouble… but in each and every moment that we find ourselves lost, fearful, or condemned, we say, friend, take heart! For as I said for our Mothers, and now for all of us, the Lord has heard all the cries of our hearts, and though we know He responds in full and absolute peace and power, He HAS already responded.

You read that right – our God has responded by way of Christ, whose finished work has left an impact upon each and every one of us who believes, an impact transcending time, and beyond space! He is the Way for those of us who are lost. He is Peace for those who are consumed by fear and anxiety. He is the Freedom of those who still think themselves beyond redemption.

I end with the rest of the Psalm:

He turns rivers into a desert,

springs of water into thirsty ground,

a fruitful land into a salty waste,

because of the evil of its inhabitants.

He turns a desert into pools of water,

a parched land into springs of water.

And there he lets the hungry dwell,

and they establish a city to live in;

they sow fields and plant vineyards

and get a fruitful yield.

By his blessing they multiply greatly,

and he does not let their livestock diminish.

When they are diminished and brought low

through oppression, evil, and sorrow,

he pours contempt on princes

and makes them wander in trackless wastes;

but he raises up the needy out of affliction

and makes their families like flocks.

The upright see it and are glad,

and all wickedness shuts its mouth.

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;

let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

Psalms 107:33-43

Friends, no matter where we stand, no matter what our past is like, no matter what we fear, let us always consider the steadfast love of the Lord. Let us never forget we have Christ, who is grace for ALL.

God bless us all.

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