Three Reasons for Giving Thanks
The Christian Standard Bible has subheads before each Psalm. The subhead for Psalm 107 is Thanksgiving for God’s Deliverance. The trilogy of Psalms 105–107 set forth the twin themes of praise and thanksgiving.
As there were five books of Moses, the Psalms contain five books. Psalm 107 is the first Psalm of the fifth book of Psalms. In this psalm, the psalmist highlighted God’s faithful, loyal love six times. Throughout the psalm, the psalmist repeated patterns of threatening difficulties, the people of God responding to the difficulty with prayer and God’s gracious response. This passage sets forth three reasons for the people of God to be thankful daily.
I will include in the comments study notes from the Geneva Bible — the first study Bible in English, and the Bible the Pilgrims brought to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Give thanks because God redeems us. (1–3)
Psalm 107:1 sets forth the tenor of the song. The psalmist does not merely advise the redeemed to proclaim (the Geneva Bible says “praise”) the Lord. The opening words command believers to give thanks for two reasons: God is good, and God’s faithful love endures forever. God demonstrated His love and goodness through His redemptive action.
God redeemed His people from the power of the foe — most likely the return of the Hebrews to the Holy Land after the Babylonian captivity. Deliverance from the power of the foe is not a truth limited to any single historical period.
Give thanks because God leads us. (4–7)
Here the psalmist describes four hardships experienced by God’s people. The people of God were directionless — finding no way to a city, experiencing hunger, experiencing thirst and suffering emotional trauma. Their spirits failed within them. In the Pilgrim’s Bible, the explanatory note on the difficulties mentioned in the passage states, “He sheweth that that there is none affliction so grievous, out of which God [will] not deliver His, and also exhorteth them, that are delivered, to be mindful of so great a benefit.”
Being mindful of God’s benefits is the heart of our Thanksgiving celebration. During Thanksgiving we need to “Count Our Blessings” as the title of the hymn reminds us.
Give thanks because God gives us everything good. (8–9)
The psalmist gave thanks and celebrated God’s faithful love and His wondrous works for all humanity. Sadly, many people fail to recognize God’s wondrous works. Our Thanksgiving celebration should be a reminder. Perhaps the hungry Pilgrims found comfort in these words: “For He has satisfied the thirsty and filled the hungry with good things.”
The Pilgrims found Psalm 107 to be a source of strength in the context of challenging circumstances.
Likewise, Psalm 107 is an encouragement to 21st century believers of the importance of heeding God’s command to be thankful.
By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida