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Bible Commentaries

Hamilton Smith's Writings

Psalms 107

Verses 1-43

PSALM 107

The nation of Israel viewed as restored to their land, called upon to celebrate the goodness of the Lord, as set forth in the ways of God with the nation particularly, and mankind in general (vv. 8, 15, 21, 31).

(vv. 1-3) The theme of the psalm is the goodness of the Lord, and His enduring mercy. Israel, delivered from the power of the enemy, and regathered from every quarter of the globe, is called upon to celebrate this goodness.

The body of the psalm sets forth the various circumstances in the history of Israel, and mankind, in which the goodness of the Lord has been displayed in His ways with men.

(vv. 4-9) First, man is viewed as a wanderer, seeking to find rest in a wilderness world. All his efforts only end in soul thirst - “Hungry and thirsty; their soul fainted in them.” In the ways of the Lord we are allowed to prove that nothing in all this scene of unrest can satisfy the soul. In the depths of their need men cry to the Lord, to discover that He can lead them by “the right way,” that brings to the rest of God - “a city of habitation.” Thus we discover the goodness of the Lord that “satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

(vv. 10-16) Secondly, men are viewed in their lawlessness, rebelling against the words of God, and despising His counsel. In the former case the soul was unsatisfied; here, through rebellion against God, the spirit comes into darkness, under the sentence of death, and in bondage to the enemy. The heart is crushed and there are none to help. Then, in their distress, men cry to the Lord, to find that in His goodness He delivers them from bondage, that they might praise Him for having brought them into liberty.

(vv. 17-22) Thirdly, because of their folly and transgressions, men may be afflicted in body, so that they draw nigh to death. Then in their distress they cry to the Lord, who sends His healing word to deliver them from destruction, that they might praise the Lord for His goodness, and declare His wonderful works ( Luk_8:38-39 ).

(vv. 23-32) Fourthly, men are put to the test by the circumstances of life. As men have to do with the business of this world, they have to meet the storms of life; they are faced with trouble, and at times are brought to “their wit's end.” Then they cry to the Lord, and find that He can still the storm and bring men to their desired haven, that they may praise the Lord for His goodness, and exalt Him in the assembly of God's people.

Thus we are permitted to see the way God has taken with His people, that, in learning their own frailty, they may discover the goodness of the Lord. Thus God deals with men in soul, spirit, body, and circumstances, in order that they may find their resource in the goodness and enduring mercy of the Lord.

(vv. 33-42) There are, moreover, the general governmental ways of God with the world. On the one hand, God may wither up the prosperity of a land, because of the wickedness of those who dwell therein (vv. 33-34): on the other hand, He can give prosperity in His care for the hungry (vv. 35-38). Nevertheless, man does not alter, if the hungry are filled and increase in worldly possessions, they, in their turn, may oppress and afflict others; hence in the ways of God they are again “diminished and brought low” (v. 39).

God takes up the cause of the oppressed, pouring contempt upon princes, and setting the needy one “on high from affliction.”

Thus the ways of God with man are marked by holiness that is not indifferent to wickedness; mercy that cares for the hungry; righteousness that deals with oppression, and compassion that espouses the cause of the poor. Who can gainsay these ways of God? “The righteous shall see it; and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.”

(v. 43) Such are the ways of God in His goodness and mercy. The wise, who observe these things, will understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 107". "Hamilton Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/psalms-107.html. 1832.