Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story... Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the LORD, His wonderful deeds in the deep. For He spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and wend down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits end. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew clam, and He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind." (Psalm 101: 1;23-31)
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Today's Psalm is written to the "redeemed of the LORD" - the people who have literally been made new by God. It challenges them - us - to give thanks and praise to the One who deserves it.
The writer motivates us to do so by telling four stories of how God has brought deliverance to His people in the past. The passage above is just one of those stories...
If you want to read the whole chapter, I'd encourage you to do so before we continue! Click here for the link: Psalm 107 (NIV).
In each of the four "stories," you see a very noticeable pattern: People living their lives, getting distracted in a particular way, experiencing much hardship, turmoil and struggle, choosing to once again cry out to the LORD, having God respond with deliverance, and then being called to respond with thanksgiving.
It's a mouth-full, right? ...
Today, I chose to dive into the story of the sea merchants (no pun intended) because it fits well with where many of you may find yourselves - myself included.
It is a story of people working, making a living, staying disciplined, doing what needs to be done, finishing tasks, maybe even going to weekly practices, doing daily chores... (I hope you get the picture).
They are living life right. And the whole time, they "saw the works of the LORD."
But something happens.
In the midst of God working, God stirring, God lifting, and God speaking...reality seems to change and their everyday life on the water gets a little hectic. Notice that it is a scary, yet good hectic - a hectic that God is bringing about, for "He stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves."
You know, I realize more and more that my selfish and sinful flesh does not want God's working.
Because when God works, things stir. When God works, dust is uncovered. When God works, things seem out of place, waters rise, and life feels as if it is crashing in all around us.
And just like the sea merchants - people who should be experts in "riding the waves" - our "courage melts away" when our lives are in "peril."
And most importantly, we do not understand why this is happening. We are just trying to live life right. We are trying to see God at work, yet seemingly "bad" things are rising all around us.
So we falter in our faith. We act like "drunken men" - meaning our actions become loose, our strength turns to compromise, and our thoughts, actions, and words become controlled by irrational emotions.
I want you to pause right now and have some authentic reflection...You and I both know that those paragraphs above describe us at times.
And when we finally reach "our wits end," we loosen our pride just enough to cry out to the LORD for help. And His answer - though communicated differently - is always the same... He stills the storm, hushes the waves, and calms the chaos.
This is the God that we are called to be thankful for today.
It is this reminder - this vivid picture of what He has done - that helps us to not fall back into that habitual pattern.
So wherever you find yourself today, I challenge you to stay thankful for the LORD. Do not miss that the God-working storms and waves are there to strengthen us.
We would love to know - what is your story? It may involve the waves of life or not - but regardless, we would love to hear it! Feel free to comment it in today's Instagram post! You can find it here: Instagram.com/DeclareGlory
As always, have a blessed day.
Greg, Declare Glory