"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy" (Psalm 107:2).
This hymn of praise for God's providence centers around four examples of God's deliverance from particular problems. The four situations are as follows: Lost travelers who are out of provisions far from a city (vv.4-5), prisoners imprisoned for their own rebelliousness (vv.1-12), those who have been brought to physical illness due to their sin (vv.17-18), and sailors who face shipwreck on stormy seas (vv.23-27). In each case, the individuals prayed for deliverance which resulted in God's miraculous rescue and a response of praise.
This cycle reminds us of the pattern during the time of the Judges when "every man did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). Due to their rebelliousness, God brought the people of Israel into captivity over and over again. Each time, in the midst of their oppression, they cried unto the Lord, who raised up a judge and empowered him to vanquish the enemy and free the people.
The exact same pattern can be found in Solomon's prayer of dedication for the temple. He recognized man's tendency to rebel and forget the Lord's provision when things are going well, thus eliciting God's judgment. But God has always used times of trouble to bring men and women back to Himself. He is a God of grace and mercy and love, desiring to forgive and restore those who repent and call to Him for deliverance (II Kings 8).
The same truth applies today. We still tend to rebel, and He remains long-suffering, willing to forgive and restore upon repentance. "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:7). JDM