God’s Word for You
Psalm 107:31-38 Salvation Unto Us Has Come (Part 5)
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, April 15, 2022
31 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men.
32 Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
and praise him in the council of the elders.
These words could have concluded the Psalm, but the author has more in mind. The Lord saved his people many times and in many ways, even according to the compass points (that is, all over the known world), but there is even more to say; another salvation for us to sing about. All of these things show us God’s unfailing love, the undeserved love and grace he shows to his undeserving people. And so what is our response? Let them exalt him, praise him. The Psalm writer encourages us to praise God in worship. Naturally we will want to do this in every part of our lives, but there are many benefits to worshiping as a congregation. The music, for one thing, touches more people when they gather than when we worship alone. The effect of our exaltation and praise when it is sung in harmony or with many instruments; the effect of many voices filling a room—these are only a few of the benefits. We thrill to the message of the Savior, the message that we decorate with our harmonies and tunes.
33 He turned rivers into a desert,
flowing springs into thirsty ground,
34 and fruitful land into a salt waste,
because of the wickedness of those who lived there.
The Lord chastises mankind when we sin. He does this to turn us back to him, so that we will see our sin and that we need him. We need him to provide for us, to save us from our sins, and to remain within us so that we don’t keep falling again and again. This is the work of the Triune God in our lives:
The Father created all. He was the one who willed all things to exist. But he still provides for us with plants and fruit for food (Genesis 1:29) and fish, birds and animals as well (Genesis 9:3) with no restrictions (Acts 10:12-13). And God has given us many other things that we dig out of the ground for our benefit: “Man’s hand assaults the filthy rock and lays bare the roots of the mountains. He tunnels through the rock; his eyes see all its treasures” (Job 28:9-10). Man also explores the earth and maps it out to help him subdue it and use it as God has commanded (Genesis 1:28; Job 28:11).
The Son has provided the most important gift, more vital to us than the air we breathe or a place to lay our heads at night. There could be no grace for sinners except by the obedient life and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on our behalf. This is “the grace given you by Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:4).
The Spirit preserves us through the means of grace (the gospel in word and sacraments). God does not merely set us on the right path of faith, but “he will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:8). And we “are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).
Therefore, when our lush fields have dried up and our rivers are turned to bare gulches, we continue to look to God for what we need without doubting his power or wondering whether he has forgotten us. He is the one who says, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people… I have heard them crying out” (Exodus 3:7). If he did that for his people in Egypt, he will not forget us today.
35 He turned the desert into pools of water
and the parched ground into flowing springs;
36 there he brought the hungry to live,
and they founded a city where they could settle.
37 They sowed fields and planted vineyards
that yielded a fruitful harvest;
38 he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased,
and he did not let their herds diminish. (NIV ‘78)
These are blessings God promises in many places (Isaiah 41:18; Psalm 107:4,7; Deuteronomy 20:6, 1:10; Jeremiah 3:16). Notice that the blessings do not stop with the present population, whether of a nation or the whole church, because God says “their numbers greatly increased.” But growing our numbers is not our true or only goal, even in mission work. Our goal is to be faithful and true to his word as we carry it to the world, to be certain that what we say is what he would have us say. The growth of the church is what God himself provides through our labor, sometimes by much, sometimes by a little, “a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:8). But the seed must be God’s seed; God’s word; not man’s opinions.
Meanwhile, the Lord urges us to do good, and not to grow weary of doing good. “For in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.” And “a little with righteousness is better than wealth with wrongdoing” (Tobit 12:8). There might be opposition. There might well be ingratitude and wickedness (Luke 6:35). But God will reap a harvest through our labor, so be devoted to the Scriptures and to faith and to love. “Faith and love toward Jesus Christ,” an ancient pastor wrote, “are the beginning and end of life, for the beginning is faith and the end is love. God is the one who joins the two in unity, and all other excellent things follow along after.” Ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest field.
Pastor Timothy Smith