If you read and love the stories of Jesus in the Gospels, I wonder if a particular event comes to mind when you read these words in Psalm 107?
23 Some went out on the sea in ships;
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
24 They saw the works of the Lord,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
that lifted high the waves.
26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
in their peril their courage melted away.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
they were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
29 He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
32 Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
and praise him in the council of the elders.
Verses 28-29 are the clue. As Longman suggests, these “verses are particularly evocative of Jesus stilling the storm, showing he has the power to calm [not only the environmental elements but also] the forces of chaos in our life”. (# 30)
He is talking about the story as described by Mark as follows:
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:35-41)
I don’t know about you, but I am not one for sailing if I can avoid it, and so have never experience a storm at sea as described by the psalmist and Mark. But, like you, I certainly have experienced the “forces of chaos” in my life at times. These have been in the form of opposition to the message of the Gospel, family illness and other situations that cause distress, temptation that seems too difficult to bear at the time, and even times of doubt wondering why God does not seem to be intervening despite much prayer. Maybe you can identify with one or all of these?
These are the times when the words of Psalm 107 and Mark 4 bring hope and encouragement.
Other encouraging Scriptures are:
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)
Then Paul writes of God’s eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:11-12)
As did the people the psalmist describes in this Psalm who cried out to the Lord in their trouble and experienced God’s deliverance.
The psalmist concludes with the words:
43 Let the one who is wise heed these things
and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.
Let me conclude with a quote from Kidner:
“It is himself that the reader [of this Psalm] is to recognize in the fourfold picture of plight and salvation, and it is the steadfastness of God that he is now to praise with new insight.” (# 29)
May we be found amongst those whom the Lord calls “wise” when He returns. Amen.