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Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22 1
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.

17 Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. 18 They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. 19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 20 He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. 21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. 22Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.

clip_image078Background

Psalm 107 is a hymn inviting those who have been rescued by God to give praise (Psalm 107:1-3). Four archetypal (representing or constituting an original type after which other similar things are patterned) divine rescues are described, each ending in thanksgiving: from the sterile desert (Psalm 107:4-9), from imprisonment in gloom (Psalm 107:10-16), from mortal illness (Psalm 107:17-22), and from the angry sea (Psalm 107:23-32). The number four connotes totality, all the possible varieties of rescue. The same saving activity of God is shown in Israel’s history (Psalm 107:33-41); whenever the people were endangered God rescued them. The last verses invite people to ponder the persistent saving acts of God (Psalm 107:42-43).

God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18-19, which the psalm sees as the destruction of the wicked inhabitants of Canaan to prepare the way for Israel (Psalm 107:33-34). God then led Israel through the desert to give them a fertile land (Psalm 107:35-38) and protected them from every danger (Psalm 107:39-41).

Biblical Truths

(Verses 107:1-3) God’s people should thank Him because He is good and His loyal love endures forever. Those whom He has redeemed should be especially grateful for His liberating work for them and should publicly testify to His salvation.

(Verses 107:17-22) When God’s people were sick because of their sins and they cried out to Him, He restored them to health (cf. Matt. 9:1-8). The reference to God’s Word having a part in their healing (v. 20) shows that spiritual nourishment plays a vital part in physical restoration (cf. Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4; James 5:14-16). Such salvation should move God’s people to make sacrifices to express their gratitude and to tell other people about the Lord’s goodness.

Items for Discussion

  • What is it about human nature that brings us to God for help when we are in trouble but lets us forget God when things are great?
  • Is this a learned trait or genetic?
  • Is this wrong?
  • How do we guard against this tendency?
  • What do you think is the significance of verse 22?

 

John 14:27
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Background 2

The final verses of chapter 14 seem to be full of Jesus’ awareness that his time with the disciples was rapidly running out. The shortness of the time causes Jesus to return to the function of the paraclete in verse 26. The word paraclete in Greek is composed of two roots that would mean “one called to your side.” It was used to describe a person who stood up with another who was on trial or under pressure. It was not a lawyer in the sense that we now think of lawyers or advocates; the paraclete didn’t speak to the judge, s/he spoke with the person on trial encouraging and helping them through it.

The paraclete will teach the disciples all things and will remind them of Jesus’ words. The two actions of the Holy Spirit are not different. By reminding us of what Jesus’ said the Spirit teaches all things. The Holy Spirit is not in the business of revealing new truth. Jesus is the truth. The Holy Spirit’s work is to interpret the truth of Christ in the new circumstances that come our way. After all, verse 26 says that the paraclete comes in Jesus’ name – reflecting his character and authentically representing him. This teaching of the Holy Spirit enabled Jesus to leave his disciples in the confidence that the work he had begun in them would be completed.

Verse 27 also reflects the shortness of time. The gift of peace was a common expression of farewell in the Biblical world. In fact, the Hebrew word for peace, shalom, was used for both greeting and parting. In the parting the giving of peace functioned as blessing did in the Old Testament world. Jesus’ gift of peace was not a promise of the cessation of war or conflict. That peace will only come when the age to come begun with Jesus is ushered onto earth in its fullness. Jesus’ peace is well-being. Even in the midst of conflict and persecution the peace of Christ can guard us (see Philippians 4:7). When one is focused on the Father’s will and is supremely confident that His will be done one can live through any circumstances with a sense of well-being. The world offers no such peace. The gift of peace is the real reason that we need not be troubled and verse 27 repeats the command of verse 1, “Stop letting your hearts be troubled.”

Biblical Truths 3

Peace I leave with you. This was a common form of benediction among the Jews. See Barnes “Matthew 10:13”. It is the invocation of the blessings of peace and happiness. In this place it was, however, much more than a mere form or an empty wish. It came from Him who had power to make peace and to confer it on all, Ephesians 2:15. It refers here particularly to the consolations which he gave to his disciples in view of his approaching death. He had exhorted them not to be troubled (John 14:1), and he had stated reasons why they should not be. He explained to them why he was about to leave them; he promised them that he would return; he assured them that the Holy Ghost would come to comfort, teach, and guide them. By all these truths and promises he provided for their peace in the time of his approaching departure. But the expression refers also, doubtless, to the peace which is given to all who love the Savior. They are by nature enmity against God, Romans 7:7. Their minds are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt, Isaiah 57:20. They were at war with conscience, with the law and perfections of God, and with all the truths of religion. Their state after conversion is described as a state of peace. They are reconciled to God; they acquiesce in all his claims; and they have a joy which the world knows not in the word, the promises, the law, and the perfections of God, in the plan of salvation, and in the hopes of eternal life. See Romans 1:7; 5:1; 8:6; 14:7; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 2:17; 6:15; Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15.

My peace. Such as I only can impart. The peculiar peace which My religion is fitted to impart.

  1. Not as the world.
  2. Not as the objects which men commonly pursue– pleasure, fame, wealth. They leave care, anxiety, remorse. They do not meet the desires of the immortal mind, and they are incapable of affording that peace which the soul needs.
  3. Not as the men of the world give. They salute you with empty and flattering words, but their professed friendship is often feigned and has no sincerity. You cannot be sure that they are sincere, but I am.
  4. Not as systems of philosophy and false religion give. They profess to give peace, but it is not real. It does not still the voice of conscience; it does not take away sin; it does not reconcile the soul to God.

My peace is such as meets all the wants of the soul, silences the alarms of conscience, is fixed and sure amid all external changes, and will abide in the hour of death and for ever. How desirable, in a world of anxiety and care, to possess this peace! and how should all who have it not, seek that which the world can neither give nor take away!

Neither let it be afraid. Of any pain, persecutions, or trials. You have a Friend who will never leave you; a peace that shall always attend you. See John 14:1.

Items for Discussion

  • What “problem” does the coming of Christ present to the world?
  • How does it happen?
  • What function will the paraclete play according to these focus verses?
  • What role must the believer also fill?
  • In what ways can we join the Holy Spirit in bearing witness?

Discussion Challenge

  • Is the world’s hatred toward Christians increasing or decreasing?
  • What should our response be?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. Roger Hahn
  3. Albert Barnes Notes
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