Psalm 107

Those who have no special matter for praise may furnish themselves with matter enough from God’s universal goodness.
All receive the mercies of His providence and are therefore called upon to give thanks.

1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.

4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.

5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.

6 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.

7 And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.

8 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

10 Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;

11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:

12 Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.

13 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.

14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.

15 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

16 For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.

17 Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.

18 Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.

19 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.

20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

21 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;

24 These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.

25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.

27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.

28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.

29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

31 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

32 Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

33 He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground;

34 A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.

35 He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.

36 And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation;

37 And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase.

38 He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.

39 Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.

40 He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way.

41 Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.

42 The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.

43 Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.

Psalm 107:1-16 – “Wonderful Works to the Children of Men”

   In this psalm those who have been redeemed by the gracious interpositions of God are summoned to praise Him for a love which endures through all our rebuffs and backslidings. Note how this refrain breaks out in Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31. The psalmist passes before us a series of pictures, selected from the stories of human suffering which have been repeated in all ages of human history. Travelers who have lost their way, captives, sick men, storm-tossed sailors, are presented in as many panels or pictures. The psalmist says that, whatever our trouble, there is only one way out of it—to cry to God. This is never in vain. There is always the saving help of His right hand; and there is always, therefore, the obligation of praise.
   The first scene is of a caravan in the desert, with depleted water-skins, emptied stores, and exhausted strength. How many have lost their way in life and are in this plight! These details are true not only physically, but spiritually. The second scene is of a prison-house, and the suggestion is that, in all our lives, there are imprisoning circumstances and limitations which compel us to call for help from Him who said, “He hath sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives.” —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 107:17-32 – ​“His Wonders in the Deep”

   Sickness yields the third type of suffering. Emphasis is laid on the cause of the suffering, which in the view of the writer is transgression and sin. We shall be justified, therefore, in confining our view of this section to the pain which is directly traceable to wrong-doing. Men ruin their health by evil courses, and the sinner drags down his punishment with his own hands. The portals of death had already opened to receive the sick men, but before they passed through they cried to Jehovah, and though their voice was feeble, they were heard. May we not make our own application of Psalm 107:20, by referring it to that Word of God through whom God’s love and healing came to sinners in the days of his flesh?
   The storm at sea is the next tableau. We have the sudden gale, the high waves, the ship now on the crest and then in the trough; the terror of the crew; the failure of the helm; the desperation of the sailors; and finally the voice of God above and through the storm. The sudden subsidence of the tempest is a grateful change to the sailors and the crew; and what gladness is theirs when they reach the harbor which they had longed for but had never thought to see again! Such is life, and such will be, by God’s mercy our coming into harbor. “Safe into the haven guide”! —Through the Bible Day by Day


Few lives there are upon whose page sooner or later there is not written the record of a tragedy. It may come in the loss of a friend, or a parent, or a wife or husband, or a child. It may come in the wreck of a fortune or the stranding of a worldly ambition. Some day while pursuing a peaceful voyage the cry will go forth, “Breakers ahead,” and in spite of our vigilance and our prayers the stout ship will founder and we will be cast upon untrodden shores of duty and experience. It is in such emergencies as these that the Christian has resources that the man of the world knows not of. Unlike Crusoe he does not turn his desperate gaze toward the half-sunken ship if perchance he may regain some of its stores. He recalls rather those sweet promises of God which await redemption in the hour of need. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). He remembers that and forthwith in the midst of his extreme peril and helplessness he cries: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. Psalms 121:1-2.

Psalm 107:28

Psalm 107:33-43 – ​The “Lovingkindness of the LORD”

   The measure changes here. From Psalm 107:33 the psalmist drops the refrain and describes, not deliverance from peril or pain, but the sudden alternations wrought by God’s providence. Lands pass from fertility to barrenness, and human lives from prosperity to trouble, and back again. But through all these vicissitudes runs the same loving-kindness, as is clearly discerned by those who have eyes to see and hearts to take heed. How little did Joseph’s brethren realize that behind all the strange experiences they had with his steward, in his house, and in the matter of the cup, a brother’s heart was yearning to reach a moment when all disguise might be laid aside! Similarly we fail to believe that Love is above and through and in all things.
   Life resembles this psalm, so full is it of change and trying experiences. Few enjoy unbroken years of prosperity. We are poured from vessel to vessel, and are forbidden to settle on our lees. Our nests are stirred up to teach us how to fly. For most there is the wilderness, the cell, sickness, and the tossing of the ocean waves. But always believe in the love of God. Do not forget to cry; and when your cry has brought an answer of peace, do not forget to praise. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 107:43—Even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.

​   “The Harvest of a Quiet Eye” is the fascinating title of a fascinating book. When the heart is quiet in God, the eye looks out on the scenes of nature and life around it, and detects everywhere, even where to ordinary men every appearance seems in the contrary direction, the loving-kindness of the Lord. As life advances, and one climbs the hill, one is able to review the path by which life has beer, directed and controlled. We observe with the wisdom which we have obtained by long experience, and we understand God’s reasons for many rebuffs, denials, and bitter disappointments. I believe that we shall one day turn to Him, and say, when we know all, “Thou couldst not have done otherwise. We would not have wished otherwise.”
   Consider the successive vignettes of this psalm. Love broods over the weary caravan that faints in the desert; visits the prison-house with its captives; watches by our beds of pain; notices each lurch of the tempest-driven vessel; brings the weary hosts from the wilderness into the fruitful soil.
   Love is quick to appreciate love. It is natural to a loving heart to find love everywhere. We view all things in hues borrowed from the heart. “He that loveth knoweth God, for God is love; he that loveth not hath not seen Him, neither known Him.” Ask therefore for a baptism unto the love of God—this will make you quick to perceive and understand his loving-kindness, where others miss it. Be patient also to await the end of the Lord. And when still the vision tarries, dare to believe that one day, when you know as you are known, you shall understand the loving-kindness that underlay your darkest experiences. —Our Daily Homily