Because the Lord loves all people and desires that none should perish, He illustrates this in many ways. One such method is through His Word. We see how caring He is and to what lengths He’ll go to bring someone to Him. This may mean a person experiences extreme difficulty and physical or emotional pain before he gets to the point of turning to Him. Psalm 107 brings this to life by describing four instances of people far from God, but then through the hardships of life, realize how much they need Him. These four ways include:
Psalm 107:4-5 depicts the first instance of desperation:
Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
For these, life overwhelmed them before the circumstances were right for them to seek God.
Psalm 107:10-11 shows us people in rebellion:
Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
prisoners in affliction and in irons,
for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
Throughout their life, they had purposefully rejected God. He allowed that rejection to result in physical threat. Only upon the brink of death did they realize how helpless they were without Him.
Psalm 107:17-18 provides a portrait of people in the midst of foolishness:
Some were fools through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
These men and women were going their own way, reveling in their sin, and finally reaching a point where it caught up to them. In the depth of their brokenness, they turned to the Lord.
Psalm 107:26-27 portrays those who feel they don’t need God. They go about their lives in self-sufficiency, engaging in commerce or whatever other activities pleases them in their apathy. They see the glory of the Lord all around but don’t care, but that attitude comes back to bite them.
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men
and were at their wits’ end.
Only when all other options were exhausted, did they know that God was the answer and not that within themselves.
For all four of these descriptions of people far from God and finally coming to Him, there’s a common element that we see in Psalm 107:6,13,19,28:
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble.
This is significant because it foreshadows what Paul says in Romans 10:13:
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
This is one of those deeply profound statements, but when Paul says “everyone”, he means: all, the whole, the totality, whosoever (Strong’s #3956 – pas). This is exactly the message in the psalm.
God wants the world to know that it doesn’t have to do life alone. He is always there and always ready and willing to help. However, what it takes is for someone to be ready for that help. It’s a primary reason that God allows sin to fester in this world. He knows that through that sin, many people will eventually suffer enough to seek redemption through the only Source of life.
I’ve always said that if someone’s life is a soap opera, there’s a good chance he is doing something that takes him away from God. There is typically sin or revolt against God in some manner; just like the four instances in the psalm of desperation, rebellion, foolishness, or apathy that God requires that person to give up or change. Inevitably there is the need for repentance, for without repentance there is no salvation. It’s the absolute key to a deep relationship with God. It’s the reason the first message preached by John the Baptist, Jesus, and Peter was to repent and be saved.
If you, or someone you know, is wallowing in the depths of despair because you are far from God, there is a solution. If you believe; if you trust; if you call upon the Name of the Lord; He will answer.