Four Pictures of Salvation From Psalm 107
Part 1- The Wanderer
Introduction (Read Verses 1-3):
This Psalm, as with most of the Psalms, was speaking expressly about the nation of Israel. So often times in the history of their existence did they find themselves in a deplorable condition because of their sins against their Creator, and their Savior God. How often times did they follow after the sins and idolatries of the nations around about them, and into the judgment of God. How often did they find themselves wandering as it were, in the wilderness of this old wicked world.
This Psalm in principle, also pictures the backslidden saint, who like Israel leaves the good path of righteousness for the wicked path of sin and shame. And I believe this Psalm also pictures the lost sinner, who was born in the wilderness of sin, and is lost in the wilderness of sin until what time the loving Savior finds them and delivers them out of sin’s distresses.
But thank be to God for His mercy, whereby He has redeemed His people from their enemies; Who gathers them out of all lands; from the east and west, and from the north and south; even from among every people, and kindred, and tongue, and nation of the earth.
1. In our message this morning we want to see; The Wanderer; (Read verses 4-9)
As nomads, or vagabonds, or tramps. They were not on a journey with a planned destination. They were not traveling or sojourning with a purpose and goal in mind. They were not going anywhere but in circles. But as lost souls they wandered aimlessly.
Not in a good land with the blessings of milk and honey flowing. Not in a friendly land but in a hostile land. Not in the comforts of civilization, but in the hot and cold, and harsh elements of the curse. There was no way and no path leading them out of this vast wilderness. They wandered in confusion and deception.
They were alone, as it were. They were lonely. They had no sweet fellowship with family or kin. They had no true friends or companions that cared for their soul. They had no joy that good company brings along life’s way. But they wandered all alone, in a solitary way.
They had no city with foundations. They had no place of safety and protection. There was no place to find rest for their weary souls. There was no place to call their home.
There was nothing in the wilderness that satisfied their hunger or thirst. There was very little edible and nourishing food, but only the husks and chaff of the world. The water was the bitter and foul water of idolatry and of false doctrines. There was very little water that was safe to drink. There was not even enough provision to stay alive.
At last, after years of wandering in the wilderness, their soul fainted. They had come to the end of themselves. They were at the end of their own strength. Human help could no longer avail them at all. They were in a desperate and destitute way. All hope of being saved was taken away, as it were. At last they fainted.
They were to the end of their proud and haughty spirits. They were humbled into the very dust because of their sins. They were in deep contrition and sorry because of their sins. They mourned and grieved and wept over their miserable condition. They brought forth fruit meet for repentance.
Now they understood that “vain was the help of men.” Now they realized that only the Lord could help them. Now they were crying to the right One, the only one Who could help them. Oh may lost sinners and backslidden saints cry unto the Lord!
They were in trouble (lost sinners are in trouble). They were troubled about it! They knew their condition was desperate. They knew that the Lord was their only hope.
He heard their cry (whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord… Rom. 10:13). He was willing to save them (“come unto me all ye who labor and are…” (Matt 11:28). He was able to save them (Heb. 7:25). He did save them!
He delivered them from the wilderness and all its dangers; from the enemies of their souls; from their sins and depravity; and from their faintness of heart and soul from thirst and hunger.
Instead of wandering, now they are led with purpose. Now they have a goal in life. Now they have a Guide and companion for life- they are no longer alone. They were led forth, that is, in a way that leads out of the wilderness.
Ps 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
He led them forth by the way of righteousness; by the way of the cross; by Jesus Christ Who is the only way of salvation; by the Word of God, which is a map of the soul; by the way that is right in God’s eyes; by the only way that leads out of the wilderness of sin.
That they might go to a city of habitation…
Now they have a goal and purpose in life; now they have a sure destination in view; now they have a city with foundations; now they have a city of refuge for their souls; now they have a place of eternal rest; and now the they have a place to call home.
They were to praise the Lord for His goodness, and loving kindness, and His grace. They were to praise the Lord for His wonderful works to the children of Adam’s sinful, depraved human race.
He satisfieth the longing soul…
Those who are saved are satisfied with Jesus. They are satisfied with the fullness of His salvation. They are satisfied with His provision on the cross of Calvary.
He provides all the spiritual food and water for the soul. He provides all that is necessary for salvation. He provides all that is necessary for the journey home. Yes, He fills them and satisfies their souls with all good things.
Are you a wanderer this morning? Are you still wandering in the wilderness of sin? Have you fainted in yourself? Have you come to the end of yourself? Oh sinner, cry unto the Lord out of a penitent heart and contrite spirit and He will hear you this morning! Cry unto the Lord and He will deliver you and save you from your sins and wicked ways? Repent and believe in Jesus this morning!
If you are backslidden and out of the way as a Christian, have you come to the end of yourself and of your sins? Repent, and cry unto the Lord and He will deliver you, and bring you back into the good way and the right this morning.
Four Pictures of Salvation From Psalm 107
Part 2- The Prisoner
This passage may well have illusion to Jews in their Babylonian captivity. They were in prison, as it were, in the bondage of their enemies. Why? Because of their rebellion against their God, and their rebellion against His Word. They contemned the council of the Most High. As a result, God brought them down to the darkness of the prison house, where they sat in bondage for 70 long, dark, cruel, and cold years.
Again, I believe this may apply to the backslidden saint and to the lost sinner, as we will see presently.
A prison, especially in the old times, was a damp, dark, cold, and dismal place (unlike modern prisons). There was not much that one could do in such a dark place other than just sit and suffer in afflictions. Spiritually, the bondage of sin is like a prison house. We see this thought conveyed in the Scriptures. Concerning the earthly ministry of Christ, Isaiah said that Jesus was…
“To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” Isa 42:7
And in Isaiah 49:9…
“That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.”
Spiritually, there is not much that sinners can do in the dark dungeon of their sins, other than sit. They have no power to save themselves out of their miserable plight. They are not at liberty to leave that place at will, but they are in bondage to sin, and self, and to Satan. We learn in 2 Timothy 2:26 that lost sinners are taken captive by devil at his will. Paul, rehearsing his salvation experience before king Agrippa, said in Acts 26:18 concerning the prophecy of Christ in the Book of Isaiah, that Jesus was:
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Yes beloved, lost sinners are in bondage to their sins and to Satan’s prison house.
The prison house is likened to a place of death. Prisoners, in the sense of our text, are at that last stop in their lives. It is not intended that they should ever see life on the outside ever again. Such are the spiritual prisoners who sit in the prison house of sin. They are at their last stop so to speak, and it is not intended that they should ever come out of the prison. Therefore, the prison house of sin is a place of death, and of waiting for that eternal death of the soul.
They are bound in the prison with iron shackles and with thick iron chains. But not only are they bound, but they are afflicted with the persecutions and tortures of their enemies. This is an awful picture, beloved, of the condition of the lost sinner, and the backslidden saint. Not only does their future appear to be bleak, but their present state is one of dreadful misery.
The reason for their imprisonment and affliction is their rebellion against the Words of God. That is what sin is. “Sin is the transgression of God’s holy law,” and “all unrighteousness is sin.” All of mankind have transgressed God’s law in Adam, and therefore we are born sinners. And all of mankind sin willfully after they are born, and therefore we are all sinners by choice. Therefore, lost sinners are in the prison house of sin because they have rebelled and broken holy God’s law.
And it says, they have contemned the counsel of the most High:
The word contemn means several things. It means to spurn. That is, to kick against, and to reject God’s counsel. It means to despise. This is to resent and to hate God’s counsel. It means to abhor. This means to count God’s counsel as odious and vile, so as to be put away from them. It means to provoke. Lost sinners provoke God to anger when they despise His counsel. It means to blaspheme. Lost sinners even go so far as to blaspheme God and the counsels of His Word. Yes, lost sinners spurn, and despise, and abhor, and provoke and blaspheme the council of the Most High. Therefore, they are bound in the prison house of their sins, to await their final judgment in the last day.
Man’s heart was brought down in the fall in the garden of Eden. Man’s heart is a fallen and depraved heart. It is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? (Jer. 17:9). God brought down their hearts with the burden and labor of their sins. Yes, man by nature is under a heavy load, and the rigorous labor of his sins.
They fell down under their heavy load of guilt and sin. They fell down because all of their strength was taken away because of their sins. They fell down in the prison house, as if they should never rise again. They fell down, down, down into the mire of their filthy, wicked sins against the Holy God of Heaven. Yes, they fell down in their weakness and shame, as men who are ready to die.
As we saw with the wanderer in our previous message, their was none to help. There was no one who could help them out of the prison if they would, or would help them if they could. Satan wouldn’t help them if he could, as it was he who led them captive their. Other men couldn’t help them even if they would, because they are all by nature in the same condition. They are therefore in a helpless and hopeless condition in the prison house of sin.
Once again, as the wanderer was brought to the end of themselves, so the prisoner was brought to the end of themselves, and were brought to cry unto the Lord in their trouble.
Just like the wanderer, the Lord saved the prisoners out of their distresses. He picked them up from off the miry prison floor, and broke their chains asunder. He tore the prison bars away and brought them out, and set their spirits free.
He brought them out of the darkness of sin’s prison house, and shined His light of salvation unto them. He rescued them by His power, out of the shadow of death of that vile and cursed prison house of sin.
He broke the shackles of sin that enslaved them. He loosed the their chains of guilt and despair. Yes, beloved, He did for us, what we could never do for ourselves. He set us eternally free from our sins.
What should be the response of those who have been set free from the prison house of their sins? We should praise the Lord with all of our strength, and with all of our might for his goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of Adam’s unworthy, sinful, fallen human race. As His people, do we praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works toward us tonight? If not, then we must be in a backslidden condition. We must be backslidden if we don’t have hearts to praise the Lord for all that He has done for us. We need ourselves to be rescued from our backslidden conditions, and restored to liberty in Christ to praise the Lord with hearts of thanksgiving unto Him!
Yes beloved, He has broken down, and cut down all the prison bars, and all restraints in our behalf. We could not budge the least shackle or chain that bound us in death’s prison house, much less could we tear down the prison bars of Satan and his powerful evil kingdom. We were without strength, and without hope, and without help. We needed One who was stronger than we, and stronger than Satan, to set us free! Yes beloved, God Who is stronger than all, in His mercy, love, and grace, intervened in our behalf.
I want to conclude our message with a little fictitious story, that teaches a great and wonderful truth.
Image yourself tonight in a cold, damp, dark prison house. Imagine that you have been condemned to death for some crime that you have committed. Imagine that you have been afflicted in that prison for a long, long time. Imagine that you have been represented with the best council that money could buy, but to no avail. Imagine that you have made appeal after appeal, until the high court would no longer hear your appeals. Imagine that you even tried everything possible to escape from the prison, but without any success. Imagine that today is your execution day, and that the executioner is now coming to take you away. Imagined how frightened you would be. You know that you are guilty. You are sorry for your crime. But the law that condemned you says that you must die, and there is no way around the law!
Suddenly you see a messenger appear, who approaches the executioner as he makes his way to your prison cell. He has a message in his hand, and he gives it to the executioner. The executioner then hurries to your cell, and with a loud clang he opens the door with his key. You are terrified, and about to faint for fear. When at last the executioner says to you: “come out of your cell, I am setting you free.” And in doubt and amazement, you say to the executioner, “how can this be? This is impossible!” The executioner replies and says to you: “There was a good man and a just man, who came before the Supreme Judge of the highest court of all the land. He asked the Supreme Judge of the land if He could go and die as a substitute in your room and stead, if in turn you would be set free.
The Supreme Judge said that He would permit the man to die for the criminal, but that he was doing a mighty strange thing. The good man replied: “It will be painful in the extreme, and I will suffer more than any other man for the sake of this vile prisoner. But I love this vile wretched person, and I will gladly give my life in exchange for his. But I will not stay in the grave long, for in three days I’ll rise again from the dead to live forevermore.”
Yes my beloved friends, this is what Jesus did for the crimes of His people; the crimes that we committed against the Holy Law of Heaven, and against the Supreme Judge of all the universe. And Jesus came forth to die in our place because He loved us. You see, our crimes could not be overlooked. The righteous demands of the God’s law most be executed. Justice must be done! But justice was executed on Jesus instead of us, when He went to Calvary’s tree to suffer, bleed, and die for you and me.
“Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”
Introduction (Read verses 17-22):
This third picture of salvation from Psalm 107 portrays the afflicted, who cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and receive the salvation of the Lord. As we pointed out in the two previous messages from this Psalm, this group of afflicted souls can represent Israel in their times of afflictions as a nation, as well as the lost sinner and backslidden saint.
We want to notice two points from this passage of Scripture this morning.
1. First, we want to see the afflicted and their afflictions.
In this verse we see that the afflicted are called fools.
What is a fool in the Scriptures? We recently brought a message on that subject, but for the benefit of our message this morning we want to briefly discuss what a fool is, according to God’s Word.
1) A fool is one who says that “there is no God”. This is the atheistic fool, or one who doesn’t believe in God. This person really has to work hard to convince himself of his foolish notion of atheism, as everything in the creation declares the glory of God! (READ Psalm 14:1; 10:4; 19:1-3).
2) A fool is one who says “there is no God for me.” He says: “If there is a God, I want nothing to do with Him.” “I don’t want your Christian religion.” “I don’t want to hear your Bible.” -“I don’t want to go to your church.” “I don’t want to know your Jesus.” “I don’t want to hear your Gospel.” “I want nothing that your religion has to offer me.” Yes, this person truly is a fool, who desires his own destruction.
3) A fool is also one who turns away from the truth to follow after false doctrine (Galatians 3:1-3). It is foolish, beloved, to leave the liberty of faith in Christ, for the bondage of legalism.
4) A fool is also one who serves and worships idols, and not the God of Heaven. Such was Israel’s case throughout much of their history, and was probably the cause of their affliction in this passage.
5) A fool is one who rebels against the Word of God, as in the case of our text. God’s preachers preach the Word of God, but foolish people ignore God’s messages. In effect they say “I know what the Bible says, but I’m going to do what I want to do, and I’m going to believe what I want to believe, regardless of what the preacher says.”
This leads us to our next thought…
In verse 17 it says that… “Fools, because of their transgression and iniquities.”
First, because of their transgressions, or that is, their sins against God’s Holy Law. Even though they will not hear and do not know God’s law, they still are responsible! They will be held accountable for God’s moral law and His spiritual commandments. They will be held accountable for not obeying God’s commandment to repent and believe the Gospel. Mark it down, God’s sovereignty will not excuse people who reject the Gospel.
Also, because of their iniquities, or that is, their perverseness and depravity of their lifestyle. God holds all men accountable for breaking His moral law, and living in unbridled sin. God does and will judge all moral sin, and not just the sin of unbelief as some teach today.
Next is says… “because of their transgression and iniquities they are afflicted.”
Beloved, all affliction is caused by sin in one way or another. If we lived in a perfect sinless world, then there would be no afflictions. But we don’t! The curse of sin and death passed upon all men because all men sinned in Adam (Rom. 5:12). Therefore, the providential distribution of suffering and afflictions comes upon all men alike.
Lost sinners in the world are afflicted because of their wicked sins against God. They don’t know it, but they are. They don’t see that their sins are the cause of their troubles, but they are. They don’t believe that a loving God would permit or cause afflictions because of their sins, but be sure that He does. Men have some strange notions about God, but let God be true and every man a liar!
Sometimes we as God’s people are afflicted because of the curse of sin upon the world. As descendants of Adam’s fallen sinful race, we are not exempt from suffering afflictions. Now, the Lord might preserve us from many afflictions that we might otherwise have suffered. But on the other hand, He might purpose for us to endure great afflictions according to His own good purpose and pleasure. These things are in the hands of our sovereign God. We may not understand why, but may God help us to accept His perfect will in our suffering.
Sometimes we as God’s children are afflicted because of our sins. May we not overlook this possibility. Remember, the Lord chastens every son He receiveth. Sometimes He chastens us with afflictions, so that we would repent of our sinful ways.
1) First, there are the physical afflictions of disease and sickness, and injuries and wounds, and other physical conditions of the body. These are what we usually think of when we think of afflictions, and so we won’t go into details.
2) Secondly, there are mental and psychological afflictions. Some of these include depression, paranoia, guilt, fear and anxiety, inferiority complex, schizophrenia, etc., etc. These psychological afflictions may also cause an assortment of physical problems.
3) Thirdly, there are the spiritual afflictions such as demonic and Satanic possession and oppression. Believers cannot be possessed, but they can be oppressed and harassed by demons and Satan.
In extreme cases of affliction, as described here in our text, the afflicted persons are brought to the very gates of death!
One of the final symptoms of one who is physically perishing, is the inability or the refusal to eat food. This is true both of physical and psychological afflictions. We know that in the last stages of many physical afflictions that people lose their appetites or their ability to eat solid food. This is also true of psychological afflictions, that people lose their desire for food. (Read Ecclesiastes 6:2).
Of course, without food it is only a matter of time before the body will perish.
The Lord uses afflictions to bring His people to a place where they cry unto Him.
We understand that not all afflicted people cry unto the Lord. Many curse God to their dying breath! We also understand that not all who cry unto the Lord in their afflictions are truly His people, and therefore they don’t give Him the glory for their healing. The fact is, nine out of ten lepers surveyed do not return and thank Jesus for their healing, according to Luke 17:11-19.
Beloved, many a would-be servant and worshipper of God on their hospital beds, who cry unto the Lord in their afflictions, after they are healed they forget all about the Lord and all of their promises they made to Him on their sick beds.
But thank God that perhaps one out of ten lepers and other afflicted people who cry unto the Lord in their afflictions, are His elect. These are truly regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit. These truly repent and believe. These truly cry unto the Lord out of a heart of sorrow and remorse for their sins. These cry unto the Lord out of God given faith in the Gospel of Jesus. Perhaps they had heard the Gospel before, but they were rebellious and hid from God, or kicked against the Gospel and God’s messengers, as did the Apostle Paul. Beloved, before the elect are brought by the Holy Spirit to genuine repentance and faith in Jesus, they hide from God and kick against God just like all lost sinners do. Yes, sometimes the Lord uses afflictions to bring His elect to repentance and faith.
This is also true of backslidden saints. Sometimes it takes afflictions to bring us to our spiritual senses! When we are afflicted, may we always stop and reflect on our lives, and pray the Lord to search our hearts as David did in Psalm 51, to see if there be any wicked way in us. And if the Lord reveals our sin, may we be quick to repent, and cry unto the Lord for His mercy, and His forgiveness, and for His healing.
2. Secondly this morning, we want to see the salvation of the Lord.
It says… “He sent His Word.”
First, He sends His preached Word to reveal their sins, and the way of salvation through repentance and faith in the Gospel of Jesus.
Secondly, He sends the His Word of authority and power to deliver His people. The Lord only needs to “speak the Word”, and the afflicted one will be healed. We think of the centurion in Matthew 8:8. He said “speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed”. Beloved, the Word of God has miracle working power. There is power to heal the body. There is power to save the soul. “Rise up”, Jesus says this morning, “take up thy bed and walk.” “Be thou clean”; “Be thou made whole”. “Son or daughter, thy sins be forgiven thee.” Can you hear the voice of Jesus this morning, speaking to you?
Then it says…“He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from all their destructions.”
He heals them body, soul, and spirit as it pleases the Lord to do so. He saves them spiritually and heals them of all their diseases of sin, and delivers them from all their destructions that are caused by their sins. He delivers them from sin and death, and from eternal hell. Yes, He saves them completely and eternally from all their afflictions that were caused by their sins. And He delivers the backslidden saints from all their afflictions, and restores them back into the place of sweet fellowship and communion with the Lord.
In conclusion, what ought we to do, whom the Lord has healed and saved from our afflictions?
First, we ought to praise Him for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of Adam’s unworthy, fallen sinful race. We ought never cease to praise Him for His work on the cross for us.
Secondly, we ought to sacrifice the sacrifice of thanksgiving. This ought to be with our lips, and with our hearts, and also with our faithful service and support of the Lord’s work.
Thirdly, we ought to declare His works with rejoicing. In other words, we are to be witnesses of His wonderful work of salvation to the lost and dying world in which we live.
Have you been saved from the afflictions of your sins? If not, repent and believe in Jesus this morning.
Four Pictures of Salvation From Psalm 107
Part 4; Mariners On Life’s Sea
Introduction (READ Verses 23-32).
1. First, we want to consider the great waters of the sea (vs. 23).
The great seas of the world are so vast. They seem to be endless in all directions. There are endless directions that may be taken, and innumerable places that one might go. The sea of life is also endless. A person never knows when he enters this life where life’s sea might take him, whether geographically, or socially, or spiritually. Like the sea, it is the Lord Who sets the bounds of our habitation. Only He knows for sure what those bounds will be.
The sea appears bleak and empty. As you gaze out upon the endless rolling sea, there may not be another living soul in sight for miles around. Occasionally a fishing boat can be seen far off in the distance, heading in a different direction. The sea of life can be very lonely and very gloomy. May we try to bring some companionship and joy into the life of some lonely soul on life’s sea!
The sea is deep. In some places it is deeper than the higher mountains are tall. There are many unknowns deep beneath the surface of the sea. There are also many unknowns that lurk beneath the sea of life, that await us on our journey. It is just as well that we cannot see many of these unknowns, otherwise we might not have the courage to sail on.
The sea is full of dangers. There are many terrible and dreadful creatures in the sea. There are sharks and great whales, and leviathan, and other monsters of the deep. There are hazardous rocks and shoals that can tear a ship to pieces. There is the danger of the scorching sun in summer, and the bitter cold of winter. There is the danger of getting lost at sea. And, as we will see in our text, there is the danger of torrential storms that can sink a ship like a toy boat in a tub.
The sea is also full of good things. There is great harvest to be reaped from the sea, and great wealth is buried there for those who seek it. There is wonder and adventure to be found in the seas of the world. And, as we will see in our text, the sea is a place for men to see the works and wonders of God. Likewise, the sea of life is full of good things for those who will seek them. For those who desire to see good days and enjoy life, there are many hidden treasures to be enjoyed. On the sea of life we too might see the great works of God displayed in our lives.
2. Secondly, we want to consider the ships that sail upon the seas.
Ships are designed to navigate the great seas of the world.
Ships are specially equipped with the many things that mariners need for traveling the seas. So are men designed and equipped by the Lord to travel the sea of life.
Ships are equipped with navigation devices such as charts and compass, telescope, and rudder. And God has given them the sun, moon and stars of heaven to guide them. Likewise, God has given men navigation devices. We have conscience, which when used aright will help guide one’s life. We have all of God’s creation that declares the glory of God, and points the way to our Creator. We have the Bible that God sent down from Heaven, which leads men to salvation in Christ. But the question is, how many people use their navigation equipment to seek the Lord?
Ships have sails to drive them across the seas. So God has given us mobility to travel wherever we should go in life. God has given mankind great liberty to come and go, and to do what we please. But how many people appreciate there liberty and use it to glorify their Creator?
Ships have living quarters and provisions for their crews. So God has given us a habitation and many provisions as it has pleased Him. Beloved, all that we have on our ship is from the Lord. And He has provided us with many, many things, far above what we deserve. But how many people today are thankful to God for all His bountiful blessings? May we as God’s people, always remember to thank Him and praise Him for all His provisions.
Ships are equipped with warning devices such as whistles, and horns, and lights to protect them from the dangers of the sea. Likewise, God has given men warning devices including the natural senses, and fear, and conscience, and the light of His holy Word, and His Holy Spirit, and His works of providence as we will see this morning. The problem is, beloved, men don’t take heed to the warnings that God gives them, but they do all that they can to ignore God’s warnings, and to run and hide from them to their own destruction.
Ships are equipped with ropes and anchors to keep them in port, or from running into dangerous waters. Men are also equipped with the ropes and anchors of conscience, and of God’s Word, which if used rightly will keep us in port and prevent us from running into the many dangers and harms of this life of sin and woe. The question is, are we using these God given helps for our good and well being?
Then we want to notice that ships have frailties and limitations.
Ships wear out from strain and stress, and from wear and tear, and from the harsh elements of the sea. Beloved, how well we know that these old ships wear out from all the wear and tear, and stress and strain of this sin cursed life.
Ships are often damaged or sunk on the rocks and shoals. How are we broken by those treacherous rocks and dangerous shoals of hard trials that break and batter our ship?
Ships are tossed about and sunk by gale winds and waves. Beloved, how often do we see men’s lives tossed and thrown, and sunk by the gale winds and waves of God’s providence, and the harsh forces of the curse upon this old world.
Ships are at the mercy of God’s providential powers that rule the sea. So likewise all men are at the mercy of Almighty God and His mighty works of providence, as we will see in our text this morning.
Although some ships are more seaworthy and better equipped than others, all ships are weak and frail against the powers of the sea. So it is with men. Some are stronger and better equipped for this life than others, but all are weak and defenseless against the power of God.
3. Thirdly, we want to notice that we all go down to the sea in ships.
We all must sail upon life’s sea. Our courses may differ in direction. We will experience different joys and blessings on life’s sea. We experience different adventures in different places among God’s creation. We also experience different trials, and hardships, and sorrows along life’s way.
And then, beloved, all of our voyages on life’s sea will one day come to an end. Some will end in tragedy out on life’s sea. Some will end in peace in God’s safe haven. Some will even end in rapture! But they will all come to an end in just a short period of time.
4. Fourthly, we want to consider the works of the Lord on life’s sea. (vs. 24).
These are the providential works of God in His creation. Many of these come upon all men in general, but some of these are sent custom tailored just for our benefit. You might say that some winds and waves have our names written on them, as it were. You might well know what I mean.
This morning we want to see one example of the works of God on life’s sea.
1) First, He commandeth the winds and the waves (vs. 25)
God is sovereign over all His creation. Man has no control or say in the matter. “Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” Do you know who said that? Floyd the barber! Beloved, God is in control of His creation. He has power over all the animate and inanimate universe, and He uses them anyway He pleases to accomplish all His purposes.
Beloved, there is great power in the wind. Wind is capable of breaking rocks from off the mountains, as we saw last week. Wind can destroy houses and cities, and cause tidal waves, which can destroy all things that lie in their way.
In the Bible, wind is typical of God’s judgment, and of man’s imminent danger of God’s ensuing wrath. Wind is also typical of the Holy Spirit, Who sends the fear of God and makes sinners aware of their danger.
Waves in the Bible, sometimes represent the catastrophic events of life that toss us about and throw our lives into turmoil, and would sink our ship if not for the mercy of God.
I would liken the wind and the waves of our text to repentance, which God sends by His Holy Spirit to awaken sinners to their danger, and to see that their only hope of salvation is the Lord. True God sent repentance, like the fierce storm on the sea, can’t be ignored or put out of our minds, but it will cause men to fear and tremble, and to cry out to God for salvation.
2) The severity of the storm (vs. 26a).
The angry waves mount up to the heights, and then drop you back down into the depths. Over and over again, relentlessly, never slacking- rocking, tossing, jerking, and throwing the ship in every direction. Every wave you think will be the last one that you and your ship will be able to bear. What a beautiful illustration of God’s work in conviction and repentance, which accompany salvation.
3) The affects of the waves upon the mariners (vs. 26b-27).
Their soul melts. That is, they are overcome with uncontrolled fear and panic. Such is the desired affect of God’s work in the life of the lost sinner, that they might learn to fear the Lord and tremble in His presence.
They reel to and fro. Their ship is tossed in the sea, and they are tossed within the ship. They are troubled from without and within, from above and from beneath, and from every side.
They stagger like drunkards. They lose their balance and self control. All their faculties and senses are disabled and rendered useless. Even their highly esteemed free-wills cannot help them out their divine dilemma.
They are at their wit’s end. There is no where for them to go to escape, and nothing they can to do to help themselves. They have no knowledge, or wisdom, or strength of their own that can help them. They are totally at the mercy and grace of God to save them! Oh beloved, what a fine place to be! What a happy condition for a sinner to be found; at the mercy of God.
4) The cry of faith and God’s deliverance (vs. 28-30).
Then they cry unto the Lord. Then and only then, after all human hope and human help is completely exhausted, then they cry unto the Lord. Beloved, men will hold on to their pride, and human ability, and their freewill, until they have nothing left to hold on to! Then, when the last thread of their human hope and ability is ready to snap, then they cry unto the Lord!
They cry out of broken, penitent hearts, believing that God is their only hope of salvation. They cry out of their troubles, not after their lives get straightened up! If sinners wait until their lives get straightened out, they’ll never be saved.
And then the Lord brings them out of their distresses:
He calms the storm. He causes the winds of His judgment to cease. He quells their fears and calms their spirits with His voice that speaks “peace be still” to their souls. He stills the angry waves of His wrath. He causes all the troubles of their souls to cease, and causes a great calm to come upon their lives. He brings them to their desired haven; the haven of rest, which is the salvation of their souls. And He brings them gladness in knowing that they are saved, and secure in the Lord for all eternity.
Conclusion: How should men respond to the Lord’s work of salvation? (vs. 31-32).
We should praise Him for His goodness- for it is the goodness of God the leadeth sinners to repentance. It is the goodness of God that sends the storm on life’s sea, that works repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We should praise Him for His wonderful works unto wicked, vile, unworthy sinners. Beloved, we should praise the Lord for His work of salvation. Salvation is the Lord’s work and not ours, and therefore we should praise Him for His works, for all eternity.
We should exalt Him and praise Him in the congregation. Today, the congregation is the Lord’s Church. His local New Testament Baptist Church is the place where He receives glory today. Yes, His Church is where we are to exalt and serve Him today.
Have you been brought by the Holy Spirit to repentance? Have you cried unto the Lord in faith for salvation? Have you believed in Jesus for the salvation of your soul this morning? Then, do you exalt and praise Him in His Church? May the Lord lead you by His Spirit to trust in Him, and to serve Him in His Church!