Does God really love me? This is just one of the questions we wrestle with when we go through trials and calamity. Psalm 107 opens with these encouraging words: “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (v. 1). We’ve heard those words before; we may even have sung them on occasion. But how do we know that they are true?
Sometimes the words, “God loves you”, just don’t seem to make sense. They seem so out of place in our trials, or when we feel the weight of our sin. Our trials lie to us: ‘God doesn’t love you;’ our sins whisper: ‘God can’t love you’. Does God really love me?
Turning back to Psalm 107 for a moment, we see that the Psalmist reviews God’s acts of love in the past. This gives him confidence for the future. Let’s look at the Psalm for a moment. It will be much easier for you to follow along if you have your Bible open in front of you. Feel free to pause the podcast while you fetch your Bibles. Ready? Let’s dive in…
He opens with the reminder that “the redeemed of the Lord” should praise God (v. 2-3). Then he reviews God’s love and mercy to four different groups of people. Each new section opens with “some” (v. 4, 10, 17, 23). In each of these sections he describes the circumstances from which God delivered them and then tells them how to respond: “Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men!” (v. 8, 15, 21, 31).
The first group (v. 4-9) are those who wandered in barren places. Chances are these were Israelites in exile, with no place to call their home. But God delivered them and satisfied their longing souls (v. 9).
The second group (v. 10-16) are those who sat in darkness. They had rebelled against God and received the just penalty for their sin, yet God was merciful to them. We are told that God “brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death” (v. 14).
The third group (v. 17-22) are those who suffered for their own folly. They were fools through their sinful ways, and suffering for it. Still God was merciful, and he healed them (v. 20).
The fourth group (v. 23-32) are those who went down to the sea in ships. We aren’t certain if they were exiles, merchants or slaves (the Israelites rarely went to sea on their own), but soon disaster overtook them. Winds and waves tormented them, and they were at their wits’ end (v. 27). God delivered them and quieted the storm.
The last section reflects on how the Lord brings about a reversal of fortunes and delivers his people (v. 33-42). Why would the Lord do that? The final verse tells us: “Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.” (v. 43). God brings about the deliverance of his people because of his great love. Love moves God to lead his people home, to forgive sinners, to restore the foolish and to save those afflicted by nature’s fury. God does these things because God of his steadfast love.
There is one other thing I want to point out in Psalm 107. Maybe you’ve noticed it already. What did God’s people do in their affliction that opened the floodgates of God’s love and mercy? Verse 6: “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble and he delivered them from their distress.” You see the same thing in verse 13, 19 and 28.
How does this apply to us? God’s love is not limited to the worthy – in fact, the only worthy recipient of God’s love is God himself. No, God’s love is extended to the lost, the sinner, the fool and the sufferer if they will but cry out to him. “whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6). This means that we will only cry out to God if we believe that he wants to help – if we have confidence in his love. That is why it is so important to consider the steadfast love of the Lord” (Ps. 107:43).
So, take the time to consider, to meditate on, to think about the love of God. There is no better place to begin your study of his love than the cross of Jesus Christ: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). Let that fuel your prayers, shape your thoughts and calm your fears.
Because of Christ,