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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

November 18 2023

In the Darkness and Shadow of Death

Psalm 107:10-16

10 Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, Bound in affliction and irons--

11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, And despised the counsel of the Most High,

12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labor; They fell down, and there was none to help.

13 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses.

14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, And broke their chains in pieces.

15 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

16 For He has broken the gates of bronze, And cut the bars of iron in two.

I am going to repeat my introduction to Psalm 107 for the next several days. It was written by an anonymous psalmist who was inspired by God to pen this great psalm to encourage the remnant of Jews that had recently come out of the Babylonian captivity. They were back in their beloved Promise Land and were attempting to rebuild the temple that had been built by Solomon but was now lying in ruins. The walls of the city of Jerusalem were also broken down and they were still surrounded by numerous peoples who detested them and did not want them back. This remnant of Jews needed to be reminded how the LORD had redeemed them and delivered them time and time again over the years.

Psalm 107 is also a great picture and illustration of the different conditions that sinners find themselves in and how God redeems and delivers them. In this chapter we see at least five pictures of sinners in their loneliness, afflictions, addictions, misery, and trouble in this old world, lost and without hope and without God. In each case when the sinners cry out to the LORD for help, God hears their cry and saves and delivers them. And then they are encouraged to give thanks to the LORD for “His goodness and for His wonderful works”. Especially His great work of redemption!

First, in verses 4-9, we have a general picture of all humanity, born with a sinful nature that separates them from God. “All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, everyone, to his own way….” (Isaiah 53:6). As sinners we are lost and wandering in the wilderness of sin in this old world, living in loneliness and fear, with empty souls, searching for satisfaction in all the wrong places. Looking for a “city”, speaks of a place where we can find protection, provision, peace, and settle down and be satisfied. Instead, all we find is a “troubled soul”, and we finally cry out to the LORD and He shows us the cross and resurrection of Jesus and “leads us in the right way”!

In verses 10-16, we find the second description we have of sinners. In verses 4-9, the sinners are simply lost and wandering, but now the sinners in these verses have heard the truth of God’s Word and salvation and rejected it! They rebelled against God and are determined to be free of His rules and do “their own thing”. They think they know better than God as “they despise the counsel of the Most High” (v. 11). But instead of finding freedom in their pleasure and their sin, they find themselves stumbling around in darkness. (Proverbs 4:19).

They become “bound in affliction and irons”. There is no way out and they are overwhelmed with the guilt and burden of their sins. What they thought would give them freedom has now enslaved them with hard labor. The fun and pleasure of sin is gone, and there is only labor, darkness, trouble, distress, chains, and there is no one who can help them! They sit in the “shadow of death” without hope!

But then “they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, and He saves them out of their distresses” (v. 13). My friend, whether you are a sinner simply wandering away from God, or one who has rebelled against Him and His Word, there is hope and salvation for you in Jesus Christ. Romans 10:13 says, “For whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved!” Only Jesus can break the chains of bronze and iron of sin that have you bound! Would you believe and trust Jesus to save you today?

God bless!

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