Danger, Despair, Death & Deliverance

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(สำหรับคำแปลภาษาไทย อ่านได้ที่นี่ครับ Danger, Despair, Death & Deliverance)

One of the books that we have in the book store and I would like to recommend is "War and Grace". This is the story of World War II.

And one story in this book is about one man named Rupert Lonsdale. He was a gentle man. He was a British submarine commander. In final mission, he was sent to a very dangerous zone in Europe. On the way back, the ship struck a mine. The ship was damaged and sunk into the mud under the sea bed. He and his crews could not do anything. All hope seemed lost. All crews were 58. He said to his crews, "We can't do anything and now it is the time to pray." Two of them refused, but 56 of them agreed to pray together. After the prayer, the idea came to his mind, and they could get out of the seabed. The submarine became free.

Psalm 107 is about God who delivers His people from distresses. He is mighty to deliver His people.

The psalmist wants to teach us about the love of God, the covenant love. He begins verse 1.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 107:1 ESV)

And the psalmist ends the psalm with verse 43.

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD. (Psalm 107:43 ESV)

The psalm has to do with the God's covenant love. It is about His faithful, unchanging, unending love.

For 4 times, the psalmist refers to this verse.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. (Psalm 107:8,13,19,28 ESV)

He also says this verse.

Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble (Psalm 107:2 ESV)

Our God is God of covenant love and He is the One who delivers those in distress.

 

There are 4 different scenes and scenarios in this chapter.

1. Scene 1.

4 Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in;
5 hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.
8 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
9 For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (Psalm 107:4-9 ESV)

2. Scene 2.

10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help.
13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart.
15 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron. (Psalm 107:10-16 ESV)

3. Scene 3.

17 Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.
21 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy! (Psalm 107:17-22 ESV)

4. Scene 4.

23 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits' end.
28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. (Psalm 107:23-32 ESV)

 

These are 4 images: desert, prison, sickness, and storm. Each of these men was hopeless. They despaired.

hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. (Psalm 107:5 ESV)

So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help. (Psalm 107:12 ESV)

they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. (Psalm 107:18 ESV)

They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; (Psalm 107:26 ESV)

They had no one to help. They had no one to turn to. These are 4 pictures of hopelessness. And we find the same refrain coming.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. (Psalm 107:8,13,19,28 ESV)

These people were in despair with no hope. They turned to the Lord, and everything changed. Mourning turned to rejoicing. Hope filled the situation.

You may not be in distress now.

Perhaps, you are not a Christian. You may come to the point of life with no hope. You are in despair. You may be finding if there is a God who cares, listens and answers.

Perhaps, you are a Christian who is facing difficulties that seem to beyond your control.

This psalm has something to say to you this day.

We can see 3 deliverances here.

 

1. God Is Able To Deliver Us From Dangers.

Psalm 91 also tells us that God protects his people. It speaks of His sovereign power to save His people. He is sovereign over weather. He is sovereign over our lives. He is able to deliver us from the mist of danger.

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. (Psalm 91:1-6 ESV)

God is able to deliver us from desert and shipwreck.

These are 2 very different circumstances.

1. No water. Some are hungry and thirsty, and others have nowhere to dwell. Both are hopeless. But when they call out to the God, God helps them out from the circumstances. He takes them to the city and feed them.

2. Too much water. They face the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They are in danger from elements. All are alone in the sea. And God cancels the storm, and brings them back safely to the harbor.

These are comforting.

We are in this world that is fallen because of the sin of mankind. The land is under the curse. The whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth. The nature is hostile to humanity. There are earthquakes, tsunami, and volcanoes. The creation is groaning under the curse of sin.

But the Creator has not abandoned his creation. God is still on His throne, and still in control. His hand is upon history. He is able to save and deliver. He transforms circumstances and brings us to the place of safety. He is mighty.

 

These 2 pictures are really compelling. What about the story of the Lord Jesus Christ?

One story is in Mark 4.

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side."
36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.
37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.
38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"
39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?"
41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" (Mark 4:35-41 ESV)

 

28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. (Psalm 107:28-29 ESV)

 

Another story is in Mark 6.

34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.
35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, "This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late.
36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
37 But he answered them, "You give them something to eat." And they said to him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?"
38 And he said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they had found out, they said, "Five, and two fish."
39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass.
40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.
41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all.
42 And they all ate and were satisfied.
43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.
44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. (Mark 6:34-44 ESV)

 

For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (Psalm 107:9 ESV)

 

What exactly is Mark teaching us about the lord Jesus Christ? He can feed the hungry in the desolate place and He can calm the storm. Jesus Christ is the One through whom the creation is made. The Creator is coming to this world in order to redeem it and save it. He is mighty to save and deliver those in distress.

When we are in danger, let’s pray to God. Wherever we go, even when we are facing dangers or facing the people that are hostile to the gospel, let us have confidence in the God of the scripture and thank him for His steadfast love and His power that He can deliver his people from harms.

But let us not make mistake that we won’t face any difficulty in this life. Sometimes, in His wisdom and His providence, the ship does sink.

Our final deliverance from this creation, which is groaning, must wait for a future time. One day there will be new heaven and earth. The world will be perfected and renewed. The deliverance may not be necessarily today, but the day of the Lord in the future.

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:1-4 ESV)

As Christians, we are waiting for deliverance from sin and death forever.

Thank the LORD for his steadfast love when he is delivering us now and for the full and final deliverance to come.

 

2. God Is Able To Deliver Us From Darkness and Despair.

The lord is patient and gracious to those who turn away from him. And the gate is still open for the prodigal son.

10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. (Psalm 107:10-11 ESV)

These people knew God but had turned away from Him. They thought they would find themselves freedom. But instead, they became prisoners. There was none to help. The shadow of death cast over their lives.

If we look back to the previous chapter, psalm 106 says about the faithfulness of God and unfaithfulness of his people form the history of Israel.

40 Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage;
41 he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them. (Psalm 106:40-41 ESV)

They were in the darkness. They were in the shadow of death and were prisoners in the foreign land. And yet, the psalmist ends with the prayer in verse 47.

Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. (Psalm 106:47 ESV)

And in psalm 107, the psalmist begins the psalm with thanksgiving that God had delivered them back to the land. They forfeited the promise of God and ended up in the exile and prison. But in verse 1-2, God brought them back to the promised land and restored the relationship which they had broken.

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble (Psalm 107:1-2 ESV)

This is also the picture of each one of us.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:18-21 ESV)

Many people worship self-created things instead of the Creator. They turn aside from the Most High and His counsel, to our own way and the counsels of people around them. They trade the heaven for hell. They trade the light of the world for the darkness of sin. They trade the freedom of the children of God for the slavery of sin. They trade the eternal life for eternal death. They turn aside from serving Him whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light, to Satan, the vicious taskmaster, who will give us the wages of sin with our death.

10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. (Psalm 107:10-11 ESV)

They have some knowledge of God and turn aside from Him. And darkness is over their lives. And yet, for these, there is hope.

13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. (Psalm 107:13-14)

If you here are enslaved by sin or addiction or bad habits and cannot change, or if you are sitting in the darkness, there is One today who promises the release for the captives in the prison. The Lord Jesus Christ offers to break the bond of sin and death, to free you from Satan, and to bring you to the kingdom of light. The Lord is able to deliver you from danger and darkness.

 

3 The Lord is able to deliver us from enemies

33 He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants.
35 He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in;
37 they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield.
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish.
39 When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
40 he pours contempt on princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks.
42 The upright see it and are glad, and all wickedness shuts its mouth.
43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD. (Psalm 107:33-43 ESV)

The lord turned the situation around.

A few years ago, there was a banner on the side of the buses by the atheists saying, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." In Germany, an atheist put the banner on the buses saying "faithful life needs no faith." And a German Christian who own his private buses put the banner, "but what if there is", and one picture showed that one just drove behind the other bus of the atheist.

This passage shows 2 pictures.

  1. The wicked that are prosper now, but ultimately will fail.
  2. The righteous that may be suffering, in need, and in pressure now, will ultimately be restored and enjoy the blessings of God.

There was one lady in a wedding. When she knew that I worked for a church, she said to me that the reason that she did not believe because she saw that wicked people always seem to be well and righteous people seem to suffer. So I showed her the message of psalm 73 from my iPod touch. People around us might see and thought we were seeing the pictures. But it was a little bible study then. If you have an iPhone, please make use of it.

1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek.
5 They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. (Psalm 73:1-5 ESV)

27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. (Psalm 73:27-28 ESV)

This is what many people are asking. And the messages from many portions in the scripture tell us that we may be tempted to be envious of those who are prospering. We may be in need and persecuted. But we will be satisfied and be blessed, and see the lord face to face. God will vindicate us. God saves his people by grace. But there will be the judgment for those who rebel against God and spurn the counsel of the Most High.

Paul also expressed his experiences in 2 Corinthians 1.

7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.
9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.
11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:7-11 ESV)

Christians who are in the position of despair and danger, when they come to the end of their own resources, wisdom and power, they call on God. They rely on God. They cry out to Him, and He delivers them. And they give Him thanks.

One day we will be vindicated in that last day. We may face difficulties now. We must rely not on ourselves, but on Him.

 

God is God who rescues us from danger. So let us have confidence when we pray to Him.

God is God who rescues us from darkness and shadow of death. Come humbly before him repenting of our sin, and ask Him to set us free from that which enslaves us.

God is God who rescues us from enemies. One day we will be set free completely. He is patient. He has postponed the day of judgment that His enemies may become His friend, and those who hostile to Him may be reconciled to Him.

 

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 ESV)

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 107:1 ESV)

 

(สำหรับคำแปลภาษาไทย อ่านได้ที่นี่ครับ Danger, Despair, Death & Deliverance)

 

Dr. Euan Dodds

Sunday Morning Service, St George's Tron Church

25/09/2011

Summarized by Thirayost Nimmanon

 

NOTE:  If you find a mistake in my note, please contact me directly at ton@followhissteps.com. (For it may be from my own mistake due to my poor English listening skill.)