Summary: Demonstrates what Christians are to do when God brings troubles and trials into the lives of their neighbors and associates.
PSALM 107 PART 3
THE PEOPLE OF THE CONGREGATION
I SHALL READ VERSES 32-43.
This section describes true Christians, the people of the congregation who gather regularly in churches to praise the Lord.
5. SAINTS OR SANCTUARY DWELLERS (VERSES 32-43)
32. There are those who lift Him high (once) in the congregation (once) of the people (once), and praise (once) Him in the assembly (once) of the elders (once).
33. He changes rivers into deserts, and springs of water into parched ground,
34. A land of fruit into salt flats because of the wickedness of those who dwell there.
35. He changes deserts into pools of water, and parched earth into springs of water.
36. There he makes the hungry dwell, and they establish a city in which to dwell
37. They sow fields, and plant vineyards, and harvest a fruitful yield.
38. He blesses them, and they multiply greatly, and He does not allow their cattle to decrease.
39. Again (Notice the two cycles.) they are diminished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and trouble.
40. He pours contempt upon princes, and causes them to wander in a trackless wasteland.
41. The poor, however, He lifts up from affliction, and makes his clans like lambs.
42. The upright (first) see, and rejoice, but every iniquitous person shuts his mouth.
43. Whoever is wise will pay attention to these things, and will understand the lovingkindness (mercy, goodness) (2-6) of the Lord.
Notice that in this fifth section there are two cycles in and out of trouble. Notice also that the troubles come because of the sins and errors of others (primarily ungodly political leaders), not because of the sins of the righteous. Notice also that after verse 34 and after verse 40 there is no mention crying out to God as in previous sections. These people do not practice fox-hole religion.
Let me repeat what I said when I first began this series of sermons on Psalm 107.
Do you have friends and relatives who have little time for Jesus Christ? Do you have friends and relatives, both men and women, who think that they are macho, and who think that Christianity is for sissies, and not for macho men and women such as they think they are? Do you have neighbors who, if you invited them to come to Sunday School and church with you Sunday morning, would tell you that Sunday morning is the only morning that they have to sleep in; but they would get up before dawn on a Sunday morning to drive hundreds of miles to go hunting and/or fishing? Do you have friends, neighbors, or relatives, who really see no practical purpose for being a Christian? In their best moments they are just indifferent to the claims of Christ. In their worst moments they might scoff at your religion, calling it pie in the sky when you die. Are you concerned about their salvation? Do you want to see them coming to Christ?
I want to assure you this morning that God is more concerned about their salvation than you are. And throughout the course of the lives of your friends and relatives He has been doing something about it. What He does first is to let them carry on life as usual, to try to cope with life as best they can. Generally speaking, they think that they are managing fairly successfully. As long as they have a good job, good health, and fairly normal, healthy children - they think that they are coping. But then God allows unusual stress to come to their lives, troubles which stretch them beyond the point of coping. And then they often do one of three things. What most non-Christians do under unusual stress is merely to seek some form of medical help. Rather than go also to the Great Physician who treats causes, they often go only to a human physician who sometimes only treats symptoms with pills, which often only aggravate the cause.
If they see the hand of God at all in their trouble, they usually do one of two things. They either become bitter against God, or they cry out to God for help. When they become bitter, God just lets them carry on in their own strength and bitterness for another period, and then he allows them to have more stress. If they cry out to God for help, He answers them, and sends them at least temporary relief; which is often all that they really want. You see, what God is seeking is an eternal covenant relationship, which involves a commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ; and a commitment to love God as a heavenly Father. What they are often seeking is merely temporary relief. More often than not, after the temporary relief has come, they go back to the same old reliance upon self. In other words, they practice what has been called fox-hole religion.