I Don't Care Who You Are-That's Good News!
I am .
This message is for the wanderer. Are you wandering without purpose? Is your soul thirsty for something more? Are you trying to satisfy a spiritual hunger? Would you like direction and purpose, would you like your spiritual thirst quenched? If so the Lord has good news for you this morning.
This message is also for those that are in bondage. Does something have a grip on your life? Does it feel like you are chained to sin? Are you in bondage to a guilt, or anger? Would you like to be free? Would like for those chains to be broken? If so the Lord has good news for you this morning.
This message is also for the rebels. Those that follow their own wisdom. Those who think they know what is best. Has following your own decisions led to poor choices, and now you wished you had wisdom to follow? If you are a rebel the Lord has good news for you this morning.
This message is also for the self-sufficient. Those who are convinced that they can do it on there own. Is that you? Have you found that sometimes there are things out of your grasp, things you can you nothing about? Would like some assurance today that everything is going to be all right? Are you ready to place your trust in someone other than yourself? If so, the Lord has some good news for you today.
Which one are you? Are you a wanderer? Are you in bondage, or a rebel? Self-sufficient? Perhaps a little of all of them? Before we begin, let me start with a word of prayer.
What are you thankful for?
Who are you thankful to?
What are you thankful for? Most of us here have a lot to thankful for. Who are you thankful to? This seems obvious, but let me explain.
When things are going well for us, we have plenty of things to thankful for. We usually express it very easily. However, and I’m not faulting anyone, it is just this way with people, when things are good our thankfulness tends to be on the surface. If things are going well for a period of time, you may be thankful for food, or your job and your family, and that is fine. But who are you thankful to?
Now it may be assumed we are thankful to God. However, sometimes deep in your mind, and you may not even be fully aware of it, but what is way down in your thinking is you know my hard work built this house. My talent earned the money that paid for the Television. And you are thankful, but the thankfulness only goes so deep. Ultimately, you can be just thankful that things are going well, and it is directed personally toward any one specific person, You are just thankful.
Now if that same person goes through hard times, like a job loss, or an illness, they may look at things differently. Maybe, now you are praying your way through a tragedy, a real rough spot. Now, when you come to thanksgiving, things look a little different. You have a greater appreciation of what you have. Even the little things bring you a great sense of gratitude. And you can give thanks specifically to God above for hearing your prayer, and carrying you that difficult time. Your thankfulness is so much deeper.
When you have not had a job for a while, even a bad job is pretty good. You now more clearly see how God had his hand in your life, now you are thank to a person-specifically-the Lord. For His hand in the process of you getting a job.
It was like that for the pilgrims. The pilgrims, were desperately seeking religious freedom. They left everything they knew and packed up their whole lives, and set out in search of a place they could worship God in freedom, and peace. We don’t give too much though about this, but remember they sailed across the ocean in a wooden sailboat. No modern conveniences. People died. And they landed here, in the Northeast in winter. Imagine, that for a second. We have gortex, and snowblowers insulated houses, cars and we complain about winter. They landed here without any of that. Just surviving was an accomplishment.
After the first summer here, in the harvest of 1621, they gave thanks. Now imagine their thankfulness. Now, they had that deep thankfulness I was talking about. They gave thanks to God. They gave thanks to God, that they survived. They gave thanks to God that they had a harvest at all, now matter how bleak it was, and it wasn’t great by the way.
Part of their deep thankfulness, was their knowledge of today’s passage of scripture, Psalm 107. The commander of the group, William Bradford referenced Psalm 107 in his summary of their achievement.
WIlliam Bradford wrote-
May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: “Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and he heard their voice and looked on their adversity,.… “Let them therefore praise the Lord, because he is good: and his mercies endure forever.” “Yes, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, shew how he hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord his loving kindness and his wonderful works before the sons of men.”
The Pilgrim’s had this deep sense of gratitude toward God, because he recused them from something. He saved them from religious persecution, He saved them from perils at sea, from the winter. God acted in their history and they praised him for it.
Thanks or Thanksgiving from a biblical perspective is tied to praise. It is a giving of praise, to God for His works in human history. That can even be our personal history.-For instance- you get a job, and you praise God, or honor God, in some way, maybe in prayer, maybe in worship, whatever way you, express your love to God because in some fashion he acted in your life and you got the job.
That is what Psalm 107, Psalm 107 is this prayer, of praise, to God for his works in human history. Verses 1-3 of the Psalm start out as a call to Praise God.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Give thanks, or Praise the Lord. Why? because He is good. He is good. That is part of His character, it what makes God, God, He is good, And his lovingkindness, endures forever. God is not sometimes loving He has everlasting faithfulness. It is who God is. It is part of his character.
Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
It is not everyone who is to offer the thanks to God. It is the redeemed of the Lord that are to thank God. The redeemed are those that Have seen God act in their history. Those are the redeemed of the Lord. Those who have been redeemed from the hand of the foe, or the adversary or the enemy. The people that are to offer thanks or praise to God are those who know that God, a good God, a God of everlasting loyal love, has acted in their history to redeem them from the enemy or adversary or Satan.
Now the thing about the redeemed, is that they too were once wanderers. The redeemed were once in bondage, they were rebels and they were self-sufficient. And sometimes even the redeemed need reminding, of where they came from, so that when things of the world are going well they are reminded of God’s acts in their history to bring them back to their place of deep thanksgiving.
So the Psalmists takes the Psalm and gives us four sections. A section for the wanderer, one for the one in bondage, one for the rebel and one for the self sufficient, and after each section he concludes with a call to give thanks.
Verses 4- 9 Wanderer
Verses 10-16 Bondage
Verses 17-22 Rebel
Verses 23-32 Self sufficient
Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.
The Psalmist is talking about the time Israel was wandering in the desert. They were physically hungry and thirsty. They did not know where they were going God would only show them day by day where they were to go. The wanderers are people who are spiritually searching. Searching for something, anything, like direction and meaning. What is my life all about? In their soul is a hunger and thirst. The problem is that God has not been part of their history yet.
There is good news for those that wander and are hungry and thirsty. They Jesus can become part of their story.
Jesus said, Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. The wanderer is blessed because when they find Jesus, the way the truth and the life, they will be filled. Jesus also said, I am the Bread of life, come to me and you will never be hungry. Jesus is the living water, and He said when you come to me you will never be thirsty.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
The good news for the wanderer is what you are searching for is Jesus. He is the only one that will satisfy you deep spiritual thirst and your hunger for direction and purpose. His has a purpose for you. It is for you to follow Him. His purpose is not just a taste of spiritual food. Not just a wetting of the lips of your spiritual thirst. No when Jesus says you will be filled it is filled to over flowing.
So how? How do the wanders find Jesus? the Psalmist tells us in this next and repeating verse.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
They cried out to the Lord, and he delivered them. They cried out to Him and he stepped into their story. He made them part of the redeemed. Romans 10:13 says “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
And if you are prone to wander He who began a good work in you will see it thorough to completion in Christ Jesus, You have the Holy Spirit. the Holy Spirit guides you directs and keeps you from wandering. Turn and wander no longer.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
Maybe, that is not you, the wanderer. Maybe you are more like the one bondage.
The one in Bondage.
In the next section the Psalmist recalls is when Israel was held captive by their enemies. Israel was in slavery to a foreign country.
Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains, because they rebelled against God’s commands and despised the plans of the Most High. So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
Israel went through a time in her history when she rebelled against God, so God let her be carried off. He allowed invaders to take them away. They were in chains, and enslaved to the new kingdom. While that was then, and while that was Israel’s history God uses that imagery as a picture of our sin. Those that are not the redeemed are in darkness-utter darkness. Isaiah 9:2-The people walking in darkness.
In Romans 6, the apostle Paul calls the unredeemed slaves to sin. The unredeemed are in darkness, they are in bondage to the enemy. Slaves to things like anger, hatred, lust greed. These things have a hold on them. They are like sin addicts, and they can’t get free themselves.
In the next verse the Psalmist reminds them how they got free.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.
Again-All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. The people walking in darkness, have now seen a great light. Jesus came for those in bondage. He broke the chains of sin. As it says in Romans 6:18
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Jesus through the cross, by dying for your sins, when you call on him in your distress. In your desperation from your trouble and distress, he will set you free from the bondage of the enemy. He will redeem you He will buy you back.
And again, when you are part of the redeemed, when God works in your history, to purchase you out of bondage-you give him praise-You thank them-verse 15
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.
Maybe for you it doesn’t feel so much like bondage but perhaps you have your own idea about God. Maybe, some of the things in the Bible you say aren’t for me, you have your own ideas. Then Maybe you are a rebel.
Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death.
The Psalmist is talking about the fool. In the Old Testament God’s wisdom, or God’s word is contrasted with the fool. The fool is the one who ignores God’s ways, and seeks after their own pleasure they are the rebel. The rebel hears what God says, but then says, I don’t think He doesn’t want me to happy. They are self-indulgent to the point of destruction. Here the Psalmist seems to say that they are suffering from physical infirmities that God has allowed.
God turns the rebels or fools over to their own desires. Paul talks about this again in Romans chapter 1 verses 24-25 and Galatians 6:7-8.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
But once the rebel is tired of living to please their flesh. Tired of reaping what they sow. But looking for a new life, they too can find relief in Jesus.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Jesus came and not only did he die on the cross for our sins, but he was resurrected to a new life. He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit, to speak to us through His word, and help us lead a life no longer foolish and in rebellion. Jesus is the word of God made flesh. Jesus said come follow me. Turn from your rebellious ways and follow Him.
So then the rebellious become the redeemed and they thank the Lord.
He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Perhaps none of those describe you. Perhaps you are the self-sufficient.
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 went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end.
The Psalmist uses the imagery of the sea and those that go out in merchant ships only to find out that ultimately they have no control over the sea whatsoever. God controls the wind and the waves, God controls the storms. They go out in their own power, but they find out they have no real power after all. The Psalmist writes- they staggered like drunkards, and they were at their wits end. They had no where to turn.
The pilgrims probably knew this passage. Crossing the Atlantic in 1620 on a wooden boat, they knew God was in control. Striking out to a new land would leave everything up to God.
The problem with the self-sufficient is that at some point they realize there are things that even the best can’t plan for. There are things that even highest of achievers can’t overcome. There are natural disasters, and economic downturns, fires, cancer. There is always something outside of their control. And when that disaster hits, the self-sufficient are left staggering, reeling they are at their wits end unless....
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.
And all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Jesus is in control of the natural. Jesus has overcome the wind and the waves. He knows all the un-forseen circumstances you may face and he will walk through them with you. He may not remove them, but he will walk through them. There was a time when Jesus demonstrated this to the disciples.
He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed,
They cried out to him, and he climbed in the boat with them. If you are self-sufficient, Rely instead on Jesus. Jesus alone pays the price of our sins. Ephesians 2:8–9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Then the self-sufficient too become the redeemed, and thank the Lord.
They were glad when it grew calm, 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. Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.
So today, this thanksgiving, to all those that wander, to those in bondage, to the rebels and the self-sufficient, cry out to the Lord Jesus Christ in your distress, become the redeemed, and
Give thank to the Lord for He is good: His love endures forever.
Cry out to the Lord become the redeemed, and Give Thanks to the Lord for He is good; his love endured forever.