May 12: Psalm 107

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May 12: Psalm 107

Adversity and deliverance

Common meter double 86.86 D             Kingsfold, p. 60
Llangloffan, p. 69

Notice that there is a refrain at the end of each of the four descriptions of adversity (the refrain is found in verses 8-9, 15-16, 21-22, 31-32). Try using the tune Forest Green (p. 70) for these refrains, as a way of narrating the story with a common closure to each section.

O praise the Lord, for He is good; His mercies still endure;

Thus say the ransomed of the Lord, from all their foes secure.

He gathered them from out the lands, from north, south, east, and west.

They wandered in the wilderness, no city found to rest.

Their weary soul fainted in them when thirst and hunger pressed

In trouble to the Lord they cried; He saved them from distress.

He made the way before them straight and He became their guide.

That they might to a city go in which they would abide.

(8-9) Let them give thanks unto the Lord for all His kindness shown,

And for His works so wonderful which He to men makes known.

Because the longing soul by Him with food is satisfied;

The hungry soul that looks to Him with goodness is supplied.

Some people in the darkness lived, in death’s shade did abide,

The prisoners of misery with chains of iron tied,

Because against the words of God they in rebellion turned,

And counsel of the One Most High they had despised and spurned.

He therefore humbled them with toil; they fell without redress.

In trouble to the Lord they cried; He saved them from distress.

He brought them out of darkness great and took them from death’s shade;

He broke apart the iron bands which had them helpless made.

(15-16) Let them give thanks unto the Lord for all His kindness shown,

And for His works so wonderful which He to men makes known.

For He the mighty gates of bronze has shattered with a stroke;

He cut the bars of iron off and them asunder broke.

For trespass and iniquity fools were afflicted here.

Their soul abhorred all food; and they to gates of death drew near.

In trouble to the Lord they cried; He saved them from distress;

He sent His word to make them whole and lift from wretchedness.

(21-22) Let them give thanks unto the Lord for all His kindness shown,

And for His works so wonderful which He to men makes known.

And let them offer thanks to Him, the sacrifice of praise;

His works let them declare abroad, in songs their voices raise.

To those who go to sea in ships and on great waters trade,

The works and wonders of the Lord are in the deep displayed.

For His command stirred up the wind that with a tempest blows;

It lifted waters of the sea; great rolling waves arose.

To heaven mounted ships and men, then sank to depths again;

Their souls were melted and were faint with fear and trouble then.

They staggered, reeled, like drunken men; no skill could they express,

In trouble to the Lord they cried; He saved them from distress.

The storm He changed into a calm by His command and will,

And so the waves which raged before now quiet were and still.

Then they were glad, because at rest and quiet was the sea.

He led them to the haven thus where they desired to be.

(31-32) Let them give thanks unto the Lord for all His kindness shown.

And for His works so wonderful which He to men makes known.

Among the people where they meet let them exalt His name.

And where the elders have their seat let them His praise proclaim.

He changes streams to wilderness and springs to thirsty ground,

A fruitful land to salty waste, when peoples’ sins abound.

He turns the desert to a lake, dry land to water springs,

And that they may prepare a home the hungry there He brings.

They plant their vineyards, sow their fields; rich harvest there they grow;

His blessing makes them multiply, their herds no decrease know.

Again they much diminished are and brought to low estate

Through sorrow and adversity and through oppression great.

For He contempt on princes pours; He lets them go astray

And wander in the wilderness where there is not a way.

But He from trouble lifts the poor by setting them on high,

And like a flock in families he makes them multiply.

When this the upright ones observe, they greatly shall rejoice,

And all unrighteousness, ashamed, shall cease to raise its voice.

Is any wise? He’ll heed these things which verses here record,

And he’ll consider well the love and kindness of the Lord.

Psalm 107 describes a series of adversities suffered by God’s servants, along with His continued intervention to deliver them from all such troubles. It is an historical meditation for attaining contemplative wisdom; its final line asks, “Who is wise and will guard these things, and will understand the mercies of the Lord?” The psalm summons us to meditate on what the Lord has done in our midst and on our behalf, “that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Cor. 2:12). Psalm 107 is a call to that profound effort of thought and praise. (Reardon, p. 211-212)

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