As I have read Psalm 107 the last few days as part of the Restore Me Bible reading plan, I’ve been praying to comprehend all that the passage conveys. I have a tendency to want to skip over repetitive portions of the Psalms, but I long for it to have the opposite effect. Repetition should make me sit up and pay attention. Why does the psalmist repeat the same phrases?
If we think of the psalm as the true song that it is, we can understand that the repeated verses were fashioned like a chorus. The lyrics to hymns or songs are often written with a chorus that is repeated after each verse. The chorus serves as the theme and the verses serve as the stories that support the theme.
The phrase, “Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!” is repeated four times in Psalm 107. But why?
Because the author (most likely Moses) is telling real life stories that contain a common thread. Crazy difficult things had happened. People lived in desert wasteland without food and water. They wandered far off the designated path and got lost. Then they had no place to call home. They made poor choices and wound up in dark places.
Folks got mad at God and even though they knew His love and His word, they turned away from Him. They put themselves in all kinds of prisons. Some went about their business, doing right, and yet they encountered storms of all kinds. Sound a little like your life? Because it sounds EXACTLY like mine. And the lives of the people I know!
But there is another phrase that is repeated in Psalm 107. A second chorus if you will. This one is the REASON to give thanks to the Lord for his love and his works.
“They cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.” Once again, the psalmist repeats a verse 4 times. Verses 6, 13, 19, and 28 all say the same thing.
Oh Friend, I am here to tell you that our God still hears and answers prayer.
I don’t care what kind of wandering you’ve done, no matter how deep the emptiness in your soul, no matter the darkness you’ve encountered or the death you’ve seen take place. Doesn’t matter if you have imprisoned yourself or live in a prison someone else created with you in mind. Neither the height of the waves nor the depths of the pits you’re encountered are too big for our God.
Restore Me Prayer
Thank you for your never-changing love.
You are faithful.
I can’t comprehend all your love and all your works.
But I offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to you.
Let me tell of the depths I’ve faced.
Let me speak of the business that takes place in deep waters.
I’ve witnessed the stories and I’ve witnessed the peace You give.
I’ve stood on the brink of dangerous waves in life
And I’ve watched the plunge into death.
My courage has faded when I fail to remember your strength.
Father, my steps are staggered and I fear I will miss step.
I am at my wit’s end so I cry to you.
Calm the storm.
Hush the waves.
Make the waters quiet and show me the way.
Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for your incredible, matchless love and all that You’ve done in my life.
Thank you that when I cry to you in my distress, You deliver.
Deliver me once again, Father.
My prayer for you is that you believe these words and trust that Psalm 107 is not just a song, but your song.
By His grace,