Psalm 107 and Nehemiah 2
It is Monday and time for another Psalm!
The past few weeks we have read about praising God; God’s acts as Creator; His continuing redemptive acts in the world’s history; human sin and today – Giving Thanks.
Verses 1-3 This is the third week in a row we are called specifically to ‘Give thanks to the Lord!’ The redeemed of the Lord are to say so, because He has redeemed His own from trouble. (Praise to God for the redemption we receive because of His Son, Jesus Christ!)
Verses 4-43 break into four sections and it is very good study how the Israelites ‘wandered away’, because we do the same. Below are the four ‘wanderings’:
1. Verse 4 – Some wandered into desert wastes and their souls fainted within them. Their sin took them to the wilderness with no city to be found. They had no safe place to dwell.
2. Verse 10 – Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death – prisoners in affliction and irons because of their rebellion. They became slaves.
3. Verse 17 – Some were fools because they refused to face the reality that the Lord is God and they too faced affliction – this one seems to be a physical malady.
4. Verse 23-25 – Some were on troubled seas – storms and waves buffeted them.
As we read the verses following each wandering, we see how God rescues His people from each situation when they cry out to Him. That is why we are to give thanks. He is our rescue and redemption. Some examples of His rescue in these verses are:
He leads His own to a safe place to dwell. He satisfies the longing and hungry soul with good things. He delivers His followers from darkness, shatters prison bars and frees the captives. He heals the maladies. He calms the winds and waves. He controls all things. He punishes and blesses His people.
Verse 43 says ‘Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things, let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord’.
It is good to humbly remember where we had ‘wandered’ from God and were rescued when we turned back to Him. We need to give thanks for His rescue. It is also good to consider where we are right now and honestly cry out to Him to redeem us from the present sin in our life. And if one thinks they are without sin, they are deceived and in sin. Let us turn quickly to Him so we do not wander far into a dangerous, dark place.
This is a beautiful chapter of God’s love for Nehemiah and for the Hebrews.
Verses 1-8 – Nehemiah is in Persia and is heartsick when he hears of the condition of Jerusalem. King Artaxerxes see this in the face of his cupbearer. The King has compassion on Nehemiah and sends him to Judah, gives him letters and access to the supplies he needs to rebuild the wall. Nehemiah says in verse 8 ‘the good hand of my God was upon me.’
The ‘letters’ are very important, as were the letters in Ezra. Written words stopped and started the work on the temple. A letter gave Ezra the authority to carry out reforms (Ezra 7:25-26). Letters are an effective instrument used by God to accomplish His redemptive purpose. Consider there was a period of silence from God for approximately 400 years from the last old testament prophet to John the Baptist. The people of God were governed exclusively by the written word.
Verses 9-20 – Nehemiah secretly inspects Jerusalem’s walls and sees the shambles they were in. The city had laid in ruin for almost 150 years. He has God’s plan for rebuilding the wall and the King’s letter. Nehemiah knew God’s hand was upon him. The leaders of Judah joined wholeheartedly with Nehemiah and they prepared to begin the rebuilding. Nehemiah stood strong in God against the Arab opponents and in chapter 3 the work begins.
We see God’s rescue and redemption in Psalm 107 and it is vividly obvious in Nehemiah as we see God at work – enabling the work on the wall to begin as He had promised in the past. I am so thankful for the Redeeming King of Kings we serve and we give thanks to the Lord for He is good – His steadfast love endures forever – Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! —- Mary Mauderer