Do you thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His goodness, for His mercy, for all He has done in your life? If you are anything like me (and I am sure you are because He fashioneth our hearts alike!), you do not do so nearly enough. Maybe that is why thanksgiving is referred to as a sacrifice in verse 22 of this chapter and in Psalm 116:17. Too often we are like the nine lepers that went their own way, instead of the one that returned to give thanks to the Lord. (Luke 17:12-16) There are so many benefits we can praise Him for. Bless the LORD, O my soul! (Psalm 103:1-5 and 68:19)
We can thank our Heavenly Father for His mercy during the times that we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Thank Him that He did not let us perish in it! He will use afflictions and trying circumstances to get our attention and bring us back to Him when we have strayed. Are you wandering in the darkness right now? Let the Lord be your light, and keep your focus steadfast on Him. (Micah 7:8 and Isaiah 50:10)
Psalm 107:10-11 Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:
Are you sitting in the darkness the shadow of death? Are you bound and imprisoned by the chains of your sin because you rebelled against the Word of the Lord - in fact, even held God's counsel in contempt? (Proverbs 5:22 and 2 Samuel 12:9-10) When we presumptuously sin against the Lord, disregard - yea, even despise - His clear counsel and direction, and stubbornly go our way, we allow the Devil an opportunity to gain a foothold in our lives. (Ephesians 4:27 and 1 Peter 5:8) The consequences of hearkening to the pleasures of sin for a season always bring a great cost. You can mark it down:
"Sin will take you farther than you want to go. Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay. Sin will always cost you more than you are willing to pay."
Psalm 107:12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.
If you are a born again child of God and have fallen into sin, God is dealing with you and using this affliction to bring you to repentance, not to despair. The valley of trouble (Achor) is the door of hope - because that is what the Lord uses to cause us to realize our sinful, backslidden state, and remind us of the forgiveness and cleansing that is ours when we confess our sin to the Lord and forsake it. (Hosea 2:6-7, 14-15; Proverbs 28:13 and 1 John 1:9) Will you heed His chastisement, endure it and receive the rebuke and correction that the Lord is giving to you? While not joyous, this chastening can bring forth the peaceable fruit of righteousness if you submit to and receive His correction. (Hebrews 12:5-11)
"If conscience be allowed to do her work the probability is we shall soon be made aware that there is an Achan in our camp, an Achan which must be dealt with unsparingly if we are to enjoy the smile of the Lord again. If we have set up some idol it must be thrown down; if we have indulged some lust it must be mortified: if we have entered a forbidden path it must be forsaken: if we have willfully departed from some path of duty it must be returned unto..." - Arthur Pink.
Psalm 107:13-14, 16 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. For He hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.
The Lord is faithful and will hear the humble cry of His penitent child. He is the only one that can issue the pardon from death our backslidings deserve. (Psalm 68:20) It is only because of His mercies that we are not consumed! (Lamentations 3:22-23) Truly, He is able to deliver our soul from death, our eyes from tears, and our feet from falling! (See Psalm 116:1-9)
"This verse... sums up the mercy experienced by captives. The Lord breaks the strongest gates and bars when the time comes to set free his prisoners: and spiritually the Lord Jesus has broken the most powerful of spiritual bonds and made us free indeed. Brass and iron are as tow before the flame of Jesus' love. The gates of hell shall not prevail against us, neither shall the bars of the grave detain us. Those of us who have experienced his redeeming power must and will praise the Lord for the wonders of his grace displayed on our behalf." - Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury Of David.
Prodigal child, your Heavenly Father is waiting for you to come to yourself, acknowledge your sin, and turn from the pigpen of sin towards home. There He stands with open arms, waiting to receive you!
Psalm 107:15 Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Psalm 107:43 Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.
Truly, our Heavenly Father is good to His children! Praise the Lord and thank Him that He loved you enough to send His only begotten Son to die for you, and still loves you enough not to let you go astray from Him without chastening you to bring you back to His loving arms!
It is His lovingkindness that drew us to Himself when we first got saved, and His lovingkindness that brings us back when we stray. (See Jeremiah 31:3) Praise the Lord!
For more studies that use passages in the Psalms as the springboard: