What does it say?

Psalm 106 opens with five verses of praise followed by confession of the nation’s sins. Despite the horrific sins confessed, the psalm ends with the hope of salvation and renewed praise of God.

Psalm 107 is a psalm of praise that is comprised of four images. The first image is that of a traveller (4-9), followed by a captive (10-16) and a sick person (17-23). The final figure is a sailor (23-32). The final verses (33-43) speak of God’s unchanging love toward his people.

What does it mean?

Like many psalms, we are uncertain as to the occasion of the composition, but many believe that Psalm 106 commemorates the time when David, shortly after ascending the throne, called for the Ark of the Covenant to be brought to Jerusalem from the home of Obed-edom (1Chr 15) David tried to bring the ark to Jerusalem earlier but failed for not following the proper scriptural procedure (1Chr 13).

David searched the Law and realized that only Levites were authorized to carry the ark on their shoulders using the specially-made poles through the rings on the corners of the ark. David originally made a beautiful new cart and assigned Uzza to drive it, who lost his life in the process. If this psalm was indeed written to commemorate this event, it explains the mixture of praise and confession of sin.

To tag Psalm 107 to a specific event is not easy. Some speculate that it was written upon returning from the Babylonian captivity, and that the gathering of the nations from the surrounding lands (107:3) refers to that.

What we can know is that the theme is straightforward. We often fall into times of trouble by making poor choices, yet God’s love is constant and he rescues us from our trouble. The theme is explored from four viewpoints, as noted above. Though circumstances for each are different, they have in common their cry to God for deliverance, and that he hears and answers.

How will I respond?

What was the last time I remember making a poor choice that led to trouble and complication? Did I cry out to God, or simply try to figure it out? What can I learn from this experience in light of the content of Psalm 107?