Bible Society of South Africa

Absolutely Alive: Cry out to God - 11 July 2024

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

6Then in their trouble they called to the LORD,

and he saved them from their distress.

Psalms 107:6GNBOpen in Bible reader

Our granddaughter was only a baby when she learnt to communicate her needs, and receive help, firstly by sign language to ask for “milk” – and “more” – and later, using words to ask for help. With both parents housebound during Covid, Audie had learnt to talk promptly, and it was endearing to hear her little voice saying, “Help! I need help!” and turning, find her stuck, trying to get down a stair; or perched precariously, trying not to topple from a height.

Psalm 107 is about being able to cry out to God from our deepest need and know that he will respond. Written in celebration of the Israelites’ return from exile in Babylon, it begins joyfully with gratitude: “Give thanks to the LORD for he is good; his love endures forever”; (Psalm 107:1) and throughout, is full of appreciation of all that God has done for them, as they recognise his infinite goodness to them. Throughout this psalm their praise for him resounds like a beautiful refrain.

When they’d been taken away by the Babylonians after Jerusalem had been defeated, and the temple destroyed, they’d suffered bitterly. They wept in exile, “By the rivers of Babylon … when (they) remembered Zion”, (Psalm137:1) and they’d cried out to God for 70 years; but back home again they were overwhelmed with gratitude and awe at his mercy in saving them.

The psalm encompasses the different forms of suffering many Israelites had endured, speaking to the plight of the hungry, thirsty and exhausted wanderers in the desert, lost in a hopeless wasteland – yet God heard and responded: “He led them by a straight way to a city where they could live.” (Psalm 107:7)

Then, addressing the needs of the prisoners sitting, “in darkness and the deepest gloom … suffering in iron chains”, (Psalm 107:10) it addresses people who had, “rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High.” (Psalm 107:11) Although God had, “subjected them to bitter labour”, when they cried out to him in their distress, “He brought them out of darkness … and broke away their chains.” (Psalm 107:14)

To those who had become, “fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction … and drew near the gates of death …(Psalm 107:17-18) He sent forth his word and healed them; … rescued them from the grave”, (Psalm 107:20) when they cried out to him. Their praise for Him was, “thank offerings” and “songs of joy” “telling of his works”. (Psalm 107:22)

The last group addressed is the sailors who saw the might of God in storms they endured, who also, “cried out to the LORD in their trouble”, (Psalm 107:28) because, “in their peril their courage melted away” as “they reeled and staggered”, (Psalm 107:26-27) and “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed”, and He, “guided them to their desired haven”. (Psalm 107:29-30)

Doesn’t this give us hope when we realise that we, too, may recognise ourselves here, and it wasn’t only the Israelites who were rebellious and in need of help? We might be wanderers, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, in need of rescue; or prisoners of addictions needing the chains to be broken; or battling frightening storms that only Jesus can hush. If we’re not in right relationship with God, through Jesus, or we’ve never met him as Saviour, we’re in exile; but he loves us, and will hear our cry and deliver us from our trouble.

“He led them by a straight way… brought them out of darkness … and broke away their chains; sent forth his word and healed them; stilled the storm to a whisper; and guided them to their desired haven”. (Psalm 107:7,14,20,29-30)

Prayer: Father God, thank you for responding to my deepest need. Amen

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