The Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock over 300 years ago knew nothing of the affluent times which you and I enjoy today in this great country of ours. During that first long winter at Plymouth Colony, seven times as many graves were made for the dead as home for the living. The ship which was to bring food and relief brought 35 more mouths to feed, but not an ounce of provisions. Touching indeed is the picture of William Brewster, rising from a scanty Plymouth dinner, consisting of a plate of clams and a glass of cold water, to thank God “for the abundance of the sea and the treasures hid in the sand.”
The Pilgrims didn’t have much, but they possessed a great gratitude to God. They had a custom of putting 5 kernels of corn upon each empty plate before a dinner of “thanksgiving” was served. Each member of the family would pick up a kernel and tell what they were thankful for. It was to remind them that the first Pilgrims were in such dire straits that their allowance was only 5 kernels of corn per person each day.
Psalm 107 offers blessing to the Lord God because of the wondrous love that God has displayed to him and to others. The motivation for blessing God comes from a heart that is filled with the benefits of God’s loving activity in our lives. As we approach Thanksgiving Day, let’s remember the goodness of God and His faithful love at work in our lives through Jesus.
1. Give thanks to God, for He is working in our lives out of love.
The psalmist portrays God’s steadfast and faithful love that brings goodness flowing from Him to us. His mercy, that love that reaches out to us, never falters and never fails. It is forever flowing from His throne to His people. He loves us absolutely, and therefore He reaches out to us by His love to shower His goodness onto us. That’s the theme of this psalm. See how our God brings goodness into our lives through His love.
2. Give thanks to God, for He has rescued us through Jesus.
The psalmist speaks to the “redeemed of the Lord” (107:2-3). The term “redeemed” points to the act of the kinsman rescuing his relative from slavery. It is the picture of God standing in the path of His people taking responsibility for their future joy. As our Kinsman Redeemer, Christ takes our place on the auction block of sin to give us a future and hope.
3. Give thanks to God, for He satisfies us completely.
The psalmist paints the picture of nomads in the desert who were in danger because of low water and food stores (107:4-9). In their need they cried out to the Lord for deliverance, and “He delivered them out of their distresses” (107:6). He not only gave them food and water, but He directed their steps so that they might find a home (107:7).
Jesus takes us from the land of emptiness and satisfies our soul with His love and goodness. We who have been rescued from the empty land of life in sin have a song of thanksgiving to sing!
4. Give thanks to God, for He has forgiven us.
The picture is one of being placed in a pit, squatting in “misery and iron.” The people rebelled against God and found themselves in prison (107:10-16). In the midst of their shackled lives, they find that they cannot help themselves and that there is no one else who can help them. But when they cried out to the Lord, He heard them and delivered them from the shackled life of rebellion’s consequences. The psalmist describes those who turn their backs to the Lord God, captured in the affliction of their sin (107:17-22). They find themselves heaped in a mess of misery. They can’t eat because they have such unrest. Finally, they plead with Christ for help, and He heals them by His Word.
Sitting in the miry mud of a deep well without any light or hope, Christ enters the darkness as the light of the world and lifts us from our pit into the light of life. Today, we give thanks to God for His forgiving love. In the midst of our sin, He offers us forgiveness. In our sin, we are brought low. In our sin, we waste away physically and spiritually. Yet, when we cry out to God for help, He delivers the healing we need through His forgiving love.
5. Give thanks to God, for He gives us security.
The mariner knows full well the devastation that a storm can bring. In 107:23-32, the chaotic fear of the storm quiets in the presence of God. The psalmist declares that the storm that raged against the seafarers is like the storm that rages against God’s people. The most skilled seaman is unable to calm the storm that rages against him, and he needs help for rescue.
Jesus is the One who calms the storm that rages around us and within us. He guides us to the refuge of His love and heavenly home. We give thanks to God for by His rescuing love, He secures us in His grip!
6. Give thanks to God, for He provides for us.
God takes nature in hand to lead our hearts toward Him (107:35-38). God helps those who are unable to help themselves. God will turn the world upside down to make His love help His people. We give thanks to God, for He has provided for us!
As we gather together with family and friends this season, let’s take time to celebrate God’s great and faithful love to us. With all that he has done, we have reason for gratitude!