Yahweh’s Steadfast Love
(33) He turns the rivers into wilderness, springs of water into thirsty ground, (34) fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of those who dwell there. (35) He turns the wilderness into pools of water and a parched land into springs of water, (36) and there he causes the hungry to dwell, that they may establish a city for a dwelling place. (37) They sow fields, plant vineyards, and gather a fruitful harvest. (38) He blesses them, and they multiply greatly and he does not let their livestock diminish. (39) When they are diminished and bowed down by oppression, evil, and sorrow, (40) he pours contempt on princes and causes them to wander in trackless wastes. (41) Yet he sets the poor (securely) on high and makes their families like a flock. (42) The upright see it and rejoice, but all unrighteousness shuts its mouth. (43) Who (is) wise? Let him pay attention to these things and discern (in them) the steadfast love of Yahweh.
Several repetitions mark this final segment of Psalm 107. Two verses begin with the same verb, “he turns,” and both contain the words “wilderness” and “water” (vss. 33 & 35). Note that “water” occurs twice in one verse (vs. 35). In the first case, Yahweh turns watered land into a wilderness while, in the second, he transforms the wilderness into a fruitful land filled with springs of water. In fact, both “springs” and “land” are repeated (vss. 34 & 35). His actions either judge or reward the behavior of those who inhabit the land.
“Dwell” is repeated twice (vss. 34 & 36) to show how God has replaced the earth’s evil inhabitants with those who are looking to him for their sustenance. A final repetition, “diminish,” is found in verses 38 & 39. The first refers to livestock and the second to the people of the land. The statement calling for the Lord to be praised for his gracious deliverance, repeated several times in other stanzas of the psalm, does not appear in this last segment. However, the last verse uses a phrase found in all five segments which serves as the theme of the entire psalm, “the steadfast love of Yahweh” (vs. 43).
I. Yahweh’s great power and steadfast love on display (33-41)
II. Responses to these revelations about Yahweh’s love (42 & 43)
When we consider how Yahweh has dealt with us, we marvel at the unfathomable depths of his steadfast love.
As a whole, Psalm 107 is a study of one of God’s great attributes. In each stanza, his steadfast love is on display in a variety of circumstances. This enables us to gain a full-orbed appreciation of God’s amazing grace.
- his deliverance of those wandering the wilderness (1-9)
- his liberation of those imprisoned in the darkness (10-16)
- his release of those trapped by the consequences of their sins (17-23)
- his rescue of seafarers facing certain shipwreck (24-32)
- his provision for those in desperate need (33-43)
Hymns can serve as wonderful devotional tools. The creative setting forth of theological principles in verse form enhances the loveliness of spiritual truth already possessing great beauty. Poetry is like taking a diamond, already sparkling on its own, and placing it in a lovely setting of gold that enhances its splendor. Frederick Lehman accomplished this in 1917 when he wrote the following hymn extolling God’s love. He based his poem on a text called the Haddamut, written in the Eleventh Century by Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai, a Jewish cantor (synagogue song leader), living and ministering in Worms, Germany. While the ancient text contains no Christian references, Lehman’s hymn, adapted for Christian worship, has been a favorite of many believers over the past hundred years.
Verse 1 - “The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell. / It goes beyond the highest star, and reaches to the lowest hell. // The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave his Son to win. / His erring child he reconciled, and pardoned from his sin.”
Verse 2 - “Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made, / were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade, // to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry, / nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.”
Chorus - “O love of God, how rich and pure, how measureless and strong! / It shall forevermore endure the saints’ and angels’ song.”