In concluding our studies on the psalms of thanksgiving, tonight we looked at the importance of story-telling our own lives and in witness. Psalm 107:2 says ‘Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story’, and it’s vital that we all understand the importance of testimony in reminding us of all God has done (redeemed us from the hand of the foe and gathered us from different lands, Ps 107:2-3). Our stories of all God has done for us can be powerful tools in keeping a right perspective and in evangelism.
Jesus told stories (parables) all the time, engaging his audience with stories that intrigued and drew them in to the larger story of God’s works. Stories are non-threatening and subversive, working their way into our imaginations and hearts, often changing us by allowing us to observe and then participate (think of Nathan’s story of the rich man and the lamb which penetrated David’s defences and brought him to repentance after committing murder and adultery.)
Psalm 107 lists four different scenarios which could be said to represent different situations and difficulties faced in life; all bear the common theme of God’s intervention and deliverance. The recurring refrain ‘then they cried out to the Lord in their troubles, and He delivered them from their distress’ (Ps 107:6, 13, 19, 28) shows us that whilst circumstances may differ, God does not! His deliverance may come in different ways, but His desire and ability to rescue never change.
Our response is to ‘give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for all mankind.’ (Ps 107:8, 15, 21, 31). Thanksgiving helps us to remember what God has done and to keep a right perspective in all situations; Paul reminds us to give thanks in all circumstances. (1 Thess 5:18)
Ps 107 concludes that the one who is wise needs to ‘heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.’ (Ps 107:43) Psalms of thanksgiving arise from the hearts of people who ponder what the Almighty can do and has already done. What has God done for you? What is your story? How can you best tell it?