From Chris Stroup
Psalm 107: This psalm of thanksgiving focuses on God’s steadfast and enduring love for his people. Four times it describes a cycle of wandering, crying out to God, and God’s rescue. Verses 4-9 mention those who wandered in the desert. When they cried to the Lord, he led them out, satisfying the longing soul and feeding the hungry soul with good things (v. 9). Next, verses 10-16 describe those who turned from the ways of the Lord and are now sitting in prison, facing death. The Lord hears their cry, leads them out of captivity, and “shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron” (v. 16). Verses 17-22 identify the fools who suffer because of their sin. Yet, God healed them still (v. 20). Finally, verses 23-32 describe those who travel across the sea. When their courage melts away because of raging storms, they cry to the Lord, and he delivers them and quiets the waters (v. 29). The psalm wraps up with a great saying reminiscent of Proverbs: “Whoever is wise, let them attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord” (v. 43)
Psalm 108: This psalm of praise again speaks to God’s deliverance of his people and his power even while his people are in trouble.
Deuteronomy 15.12-18: In our text from Deuteronomy, we read about the Lord’s command to release Hebrew slaves after six years of service and the owner’s response if the slaves do not want to go free (v. 17: pierce their ears). While we often think of commands regarding slavery in moral terms (Why not release slaves earlier? Why not ban it altogether?), in the ancient world the voluntary release of a slave by an owner was counter intuitive and financially unwise. The passage states that though the owner will no longer have the labor of the slave when they release them, the Lord will bless the (former) owner for their obedience (v. 18). Check out Mark’s reflections on this passage in Sunday’s sermon.