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Waiting Wisely

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Sermon on Psalm 107


Theme:  We wait on the Lord’s promise to show his unfailing kindness.

Goal:  to encourage believers to look ahead to the new year with waiting expectation.

Need: we often expect God to fulfill his promises in hurry up mode, like we are always in.


Four journeys blessed by God. 

Wisdom tells us, live uprightly and patiently expect the promises of God.


          We often run into hurry up and wait moments.  Hurry.  Hurry.  Hurry.  And then when you get there.  You wait. 

          My choir director from High School always told us about the hurry up and wait.  We would be performing in some concert or some festival competition.  All he would say is, be ready for the hurry up and wait.  What he meant by that was be ready to be rushed to get to the sight reading part of the rehearsal only to be told that you have to wait 15 minutes before the judges are ready to for you.

          What about for the hockey game you are playing in.  Hurry up.  Gotta get the gear on.  And then when you are ready you still have to sit down and wait.

          Hurry up.  Get Already and then wait. 

          As we have rung in this new year, we are going to look at the passage Psalm 107.  If we get into thinking about the situation of the passage and the heart of what God is saying to us, it will help us to look back over the previous year and also look ahead.  In this new year, we get already and we wait on the forever promises of God through Jesus Christ.

          We are going to look at Psalm 107 but before we do, I want you to be like the people back in the Old Testament who would use this Psalm as part of their real life relationship with God. 

          What the Psalm was likely used for was when Israelites had experienced extreme hardship, they were able to come to the temple and give thanks to God that he showed his faithfulness to them.

          And as we read it you will hear four mmain hardships that are mentioned and they all end in glorifying God that the has rescued them.

Read the passage

So we hear that the people of Israel didn’t have a easy life.  God’s people have always known hardship.  But as long as they have known hardship, they have known that God is faithful to his promise to love his people and to do what is, in the end, the best thing for them.

          How long has God been faithful?

          Look at verses 1-3 with me again.

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say this— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, 3 those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.[1]

          The people who had gone through hardship begin at the temple with this passage which is all about thanksgiving.  How long has God’s love endured? 

          A couple of years?  Did it stop and start again?  Perhaps during that hardship, and boy doesn’t it smoetimes feel that way.  Perhaps during that hardship, God stopped being loving and faithful.

          But god deserves our thanks.  We are reminded again that his love endures forever.

          At the turning of our calendars, that word forever takes on more significant meaning as well.  Some of us can remember the turning of the new millennium.  Some of us perhaps remember the turning of the decades from the 50’s to the 60’s.  Funny thing about us humans, we can’t really grasp forever.

          The ancient Mayan people did their best at it.  They started writing down dates starting and they made it quite a ways.  Apparently the New Age Movement calculated the Mayan calendar to run through Dec 21, 2012.  The end of the world.... probably not.  Just the end of an ancient people’s patience for making a calendar.

          But God’s love endures FOREVER it says. 

          That doesn’t just mean it will be here in the future.  That forever.

          God’s love fills every moment through forever. 

          Look back at Psalm 107 with me.  First it tells of God’s love to the person homeless and hungry.  Verses 4-7 saysPsalm 107:4-7 (NIV)
4 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. 5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. 6 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.[2]  And then what does it say they should be doing.... verse 8.  Psalm 107:8 (NIV)
8 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men,[3]

          The people starving hungry and thirsty and homeless can give thanks to God because he gives them a place to call home and be feed.  You can’t help but here the story of Israel in here.  Wandering through the wilderness heading for the promised land.    It makes me think of what God reminds them of in Dueteronomy 8:1-5.  Look at that passage with me.  Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you. [4]

          He gave them the land to settle. They were hungry in the wilderness.  God fed them and brought them to the place they could settle.

          Back to Psalm 107.  Next comes a section for the ones imprisoned. But look at verse 15.  15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men,

          Then it gets into those who have been punished due to sin.  "Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy." (Psalm 107:21-22, NIV) [5]

          And the fourth section is about those who get caught in a storm at sea.  It sound a little bit like the Jonah story.  In this section.  It must have been a familiar type of story where God sends a storm to punish or send a message to someone on the sea.

          But through all of these messages its a Psalm that calls people to look at their life and see the unfailing love of God.  That’s what it is all about.  When we look at 2010 and the things that have happened to us, no matter what it was, God’s unfailing love was there.  No matter how it happened, God has brought us through by his love.

          God’s unfailing love has been shown to us through the past year for which we can give thanks.

          Following this in the passage is even more description of how God has shown his love. 

          But I want to jump to the last part of the chapter which gives us a new mandate.  To be wise and wait.  Look with me at those verse

          "The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths. Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the Lord." (Psalm 107:42-43, NIV) [6]

          The upright see all these things as the work of God in his love.  And do you remember what Luke 2 said about Simeon.  It says he is righteous and devout.  Simeon in his expectation of Jesus was fulfilling the wisdom of this Psalm.  Luke 2: 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,

you now dismissc your servant

in peace.

30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,[7]

          Congregation, here we go, into a new year.  A new year of experiencing God’s unfailing love.  But the challenge for us now is to make this a year where we hurry up and get ourselves ready to see the love of God in the grandest way, in the return of Jesus Christ.  Hurry up, get yourself ready.   Live an upright and holy life.  Be ready this year to see the unfailing love.

          And then wait.  Hurry up and wait and look.  Wait and look.  Be prepared.


[1]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

[2]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

[3]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

[4] The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Dt 8:1-5

[5]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

[6]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

c Or promised, | now dismiss

[7] The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Lk 2:25-30

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