Summary: Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and He bringeth them out of their distresses. Psalm 107 verse 28.
THE STORM A CALM.
Psalm 107:1. This Psalm, from the outset, is a summons to thanksgiving. The LORD is good, and His mercy everlasting. We are perhaps quick enough to pray, to 'make our requests known unto God' (Philippians 4:6) when we are in trouble: but do we remember to give thanks, not only afterward, when all is resolved, but in faith DURING our struggles?
Psalm 107:2. Then it is a call to testimony: “Let the redeemed of the LORD say,” whom He has redeemed out of the hand of the enemy. Returning exiles, prisoners freed, folks whom He has healed, people who are aware of His deliverance amid the storms of life. All these are represented in Psalm 107:4-32, and they need to tell just how good, and how merciful the LORD has been in their varying situations of life.
Psalm 107:3. He has “gathered them out of the lands,” east, west, north, and south. From all points of the compass He has sought His own, and found them, and brought them home. Perhaps the church buildings are open again, and even if we still may not sing, let us at least share our testimonies and give thanks to the LORD!
Of the four pictures that the Psalmist uses, the one that resonates (vibrates sympathetically) with me the most is the fourth: “They that go down to the sea in ships” (Psalm 107:23). This is not just a seaman’s yarn, but a picture of the storms of life.
We set out in life, hopeful as any mariner. Like sightseers, we are admiring the view. The beauty of God’s Creation. The playing of the dolphins.
Ere long we begin to feel life’s billows. Suddenly, out of the blue, all is chaos! Look at “the waves” (Psalm 107:25)!
The sea billows roll. We are lifted up; we are cast down. Our soul “melts” within us (Psalm 107:26).
We reel back and forth, and stagger like drunkards. We are not drunk. We know not what to do: we are at our “wits' end” (Psalm 107:27).
Perhaps it is only then that we think to “cry out to the LORD” in our trouble. Then, we find, He brings us “out of” our distresses. In other words, we cry out to Him, and He answers favourably (Psalm 107:28; cf. Psalm 107:6; Psalm 107:13; Psalm 107:19).
He makes “the storm a calm” so that the waves are stilled (Psalm 107:29).
Jesus had been preaching and teaching from the deck of a ship (Mark 4:1). After the benediction, and at His command, the disciples (some of whom were fishermen) took Jesus ‘even as He was’ in the ship, and departed for the other side (Mark 4:36).
A great storm arose (Mark 4:37), and even those hardy fishermen were at their “wits' end” (Psalm 107:27). Such storms are not uncommon on this particular inland sea. Surrounded by hills, and lying low in the land, a storm can whip up at hardly a minute’s notice.
The fishermen were in their element, and within familiar waters, but this was one bad storm. All their skill and human resources left them with nothing but frustration and confusion. Yet our God is not a God of confusion, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33).
The ship was ‘already being swamped’ when the disciples woke Jesus (Mark 4:37-38). Fear, disorder, and panic had taken hold upon them, whilst Jesus slept on in calm and peaceful repose. ‘Do you not care?’ asked the disciples.
Jesus was physically exhausted: it is not surprising that He had fallen asleep, on a pillow in the stern (Mark 4:38). This, incidentally, proves that Jesus is truly man. Jesus spoke with the voice and authority of God to still the storm and calm the sea (Mark 4:39).
“Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He brings them to their desired haven” (Psalm 107:30).
Now life is not always smooth sailing. There are the storms of life within us, and storms outside. But there is Another in the ship with us, who has promised, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5).
As we touch the shore, let us “praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men” (Psalm 107:31).
Let us exalt Him also in this great congregation of which we are but a part (Psalm 107:32).
Let us “give thanks to the LORD for He is good: for His mercy endures for ever” (Psalm 107:1).