“O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 107:1).
The series of troubles experienced in this psalm are caused by several things (vv.4,11,17). But in verse 23 of this psalm, the Lord begins a section that describes the troubles sometimes associated with sailing. “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep” (107:23,24). Because the ocean is so vast and a sailing vessel so small, the ship can be tossed at will by the waves. In addition to that, the sailor is subject to the tossing of the ship itself: “They reel to and fro like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end” (v.27).
The first three troubled situations in Psalm 107 are brought about specifically as a result of personal, deliberate sin on the part of those who bear its consequences (note the consequences in verses 5,12, and 18). However, in this fourth time of trouble and deliverance, men are at the mercy of a storm and an angry ocean, over which they have no control. The sailor who considers his own insignificance in the face of the vastness of the sea realizes the wonders of God “in the deep” (v.24). The cry of all who find themselves in trouble, whether it be because of disobedience or rebellion, transgression or the “tossing” of life in a world afflicted by sin and its curse, is repeated in verses 6, 13, 19 and 28: “Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them out of all their distresses.” It is God who leads forth (v.7), who “brings out of shadow” (v.14), who sends His word and heals (v.20), and who brings us to our “desired haven” (v.30). It is no wonder the Psalm repeats four times this great exhortation to praise: “Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men” (vv.8,15,21,31). CJH