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Psalm 107:1-9, 43

The book of Psalms is filled with poetry that gives voice to emotions and experiences felt and lived out by the people of Israel. Psalm 107:1-9, 43 is no exception. The Psalmist reminds the people of Israel of God’s faithfulness and love. The people of Israel are also reminded of how God is deliverer and provider. In verse 2 we read, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, those he redeemed from trouble…” God’s very nature is love and He cares for all of humanity and creation. His greatest desire is for all of the earth to be reconciled to him: to be gathered and redeemed.

The Psalmist reminds the people of Israel that there was a time of wandering in their history. This time of wandering in the wilderness defined them. Some say that in verse 7 the words, “inhabited town” refers to the land of Canaan and how God delivered the people of Israel out of the wilderness into the promised land of Canaan. (1)

The Psalmist is reminding and bringing before the people the goodness of God and all he has done for them.

In the 21st century we also need reminded of what God has done for us. He is still good, loving, redeemer, deliverer, and the list goes on. We still fall into the same cycle the people of Israel found themselves in: they forgot what God had done for them.

We too forget what God has done for us. A professor at Stanford, Clifford Ness, wrote, “Some people do have a more positive outlook, but almost everyone remembers negative things more strongly and in more detail.” (2)

Why is it that when we remember we focus on the negative? When my family gathers around the diner table we find ourselves sharing stories from our past. We grew up overseas as missionaries in Moscow, Russia right after the fall of Communism. It was an interesting time in that part of the world and it was extremely corrupt. When we share stories about how we had to pay fines to police officers, jumping through all sorts of legal hoops, being detained and asked about what we were doing in Russia, and having the police called to our home by our neighbors.

Don’t hear me wrong, we have AMAZING and WONDERFUL stories, full of God’s goodness and grace, in our memories from Russia, but around the dinner table we tend to remember the negative: in a joking and jovial manner. So much that one day my husband, who has never been to Russia, said, “from all the stories you all tell, I’m not sure I want to go and visit Russia.”

I think the blame for my husband’s statement falls solely on our family. We don’t always do a good job remembering and telling the stories of God’s goodness and faithfulness.

The people of Israel were so quick to forget the goodness and faithfulness of God after they were delivered from Egypt. Soon after they left Egypt they were back to their old ways of worshipping other gods and even thanking THOSE gods for delivering them from Egypt! Yikes! Lord, have mercy on us when we are so forgetful.

There were times in the history of the church when people would stand and testify to the grace of God working in their lives. I fear we are losing those precious moments. It is important to remember the times when God’s goodness and faithfulness are seen in each other’s lives. It is a reminder to focus on the positive and the moving of God in the world.

The people of Israel were being selective in their remembering. They were focusing on the negative. Instead of remembering that they were no longer s