In The Interlude

In The Interlude

Meditating this morning on Psalm 106:47 and Psalm 107:1-9.

Psalm 106:47
Save us, O Lord our God,
and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.

Psalm 107:1-3
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.

Notice the similarities?

In Psalm 106:47, the psalmist is asking Yahweh to save him and his people (perhaps the Jewish exiles in Babylon, or a portion of those exiles with some having already returned to Jerusalem). And he says that when Yahweh does gather them from among the nations, the people of Israel will give thanks to His holy name.

Psalm 107:1-3 reflects the fulfillment of the prayer of Psalm 106:47. Now we see the people of Israel, in fact, giving thanks to Yahweh for His great love. Why? Because Yahweh has redeemed His people and gathered them in from the lands.

What struck me this morning was the structure of the psalter around these two psalms. Psalm 106 is the last psalm in Book Four of the Psalms. Psalm 107 is the first psalm in Book Five of the Psalms.

Does this perhaps suggest an interlude between Psalm 106 and Psalm 107 - perhaps in how the psalms were sung? Certainly, there was some period of time between when the psalmist cried out to God for deliverance in Psalm 106:47 and when the psalmist gave thanks to Yahweh for His redemption in Psalm 107:1-3.

I can imagine the editors who were compiling the psalms choosing to place these two psalms in close proximity to each other so that when/if they were sung and prayed in order, it would suggest to the Israelites who were in exile or who were in Jerusalem, waiting for their fellow Israelites to return from exile, that Yahweh is faithful to hear the cries of His people and respond.

The order of the psalms is not inspired (as the words of the psalms are). But the editors understood the doubts and fears that the Israelites experienced during challenging times, and may have purposefully put these psalms together to encourage the Israelites that God had not forgotten them.

Are you wandering and searching for security and stability? Are you hungry and thirsty? Is your soul fainting within? (Psalm 107:4-5)

Cry out to Him in your trouble and He will deliver you from your distress. He will lead you in a straight way and bring you to a place of rest. (Psalm 107:6-7)

You will know His steadfast love as He works wonders on your behalf. (Psalm 107:8)

This morning, I thought again about the season in which our family finds itself - one which is, quite honestly, often challenging and prone to doubts and fears. But I also took comfort in knowing that God satisfies my longing soul and fills my hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 107:9) - even in the interlude.

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Jamie Larson