We are learning from Psalm 107 that the Lord’s steadfast love is expressed through His loving discipline. And mercifully so. For if the Lord does not discipline His people, then they would continue dangerously in sin away from Him. But God is too committed to His loved ones to allow them to do that. He will sovereignly act in their lives to bring them to see their desperate need and, therefore, turn to Him for help.
As I mentioned yesterday, the psalmist uses four different life experiences to illustrate God’s covenant faithfulness. Today, let’s briefly consider the first which is found in verses 4-9.
Verse 4 describes this group as “wander[ing] in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty their soul fainted within them.” Their lives were being threatened by the heat of the desert sun and the barrenness of the desert terrain. They had no city walls to protect from ruthless marauders and no community to support their need. They were hungry with no food in sight and thirsty with no water to seek. Thus, “their soul fainted within them.” (It’s amazing how much our inner man (soul) is affected by physical need. The Stoics and Christian Science folks deny reality.) These individuals were in desperate straits, and that’s exactly where God wanted them to be. Why? Verse 6 gives the answer: “Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble and he delivered them from their distress.”
God designed the desperation of their need unto the fainting of their soul to be the means to draw them to Himself. For, He was their greatest need. More than shade, shelter, and security they needed God. More than food and water they needed God. Once they realized this, they turned to Him and in faith cried out and the Lord heard and responded! He “delivered them from distress” and “led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.”
The lesson they learned is found in v. 9, “For, he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”
What about us? First, the Lord still uses our physical needs to keep us humbly dependent upon Him as our faithful Provider. Jesus, taught the disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We are not self-sustaining, and when we begin to think we are, God will act to remind us that we depend on Him.
Secondly, the physical need reminds us of a deeper spiritual need. Without God, we are living aimlessly and futilely. Life feels lonely and empty, and our souls faint within. We desperately long to be satisfied. Psalm 107 reminds us that only God can satisfy. As Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless, until they find their rest in Thee.”
So, are you in need today? Then humbly cry out to the Lord in your trouble. Turn to Him, for in His steadfast love He has turned toward you.
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.