URC Daily Devotion  4 September 2022

Sunday 4 September 2022

Psalm 107

Give thanks to God who hears our cries 
and saves in troubled days 
with wondrous works to humankind 
that call for highest praise. 
Let all who know God’s saving love 
sing grateful songs always.

If you have ever wandered where 
no human help was near,
and in your troubles cried to God,
who rescued you from fear,
then thank the God of steadfast love
who dries your every tear.

If you have ever lived inside 
the prison of your gloom 
and cried to God, who broke your bonds 
and raised you from the tomb,
then praise the One who sets you free,
who makes dry places boom.

If you drew near the gates of death,
too sick to eat or dress,
and cried to God, who heard your voice
and healed all your distress,
then sing with sounds of holy joy
God’s wondrous works profess.

If you have felt your courage fail 
before a violent sea 
and cried to God, who stilled the storm,
and made the wild wind flee, 
then in the congregations praise the One 
who heard your plea.

So praise the One whose love is great, 
whose kindness is well-known. 
Consider well the healing hand 
and help you have been shown, 
and tell the world what God has done. 
Praise God and God alone!

Ruth Duck © 2011 GIA Publications, Inc
You can hear this sung here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WozHAR3WrUs


This Psalm tells of a God who saves and gathers – who rescues people from trouble and draws them together in praise. Perhaps Jewish people sang it in Old Testament times as memory of their exile in distant Babylon.  A psalm like this would speak of an ordeal survived, of friends coming home, and of a re-set and renewal of the nation’s life.
Ruth Duck’s version above captures well the structure and content of the ancient Psalm. The heart of the text is the four middle verses – a heart with four chambers, beating with one sure and consistent rhythm. Amid all kinds of fear and hurt, God can deliver and God can be trusted. In the exposed spaces of wilderness and ocean, of empty desert and angry waves, God can give direction and calm. In the narrow confines of cell and sick-bed, God can turn darkness to light and freedom, and can lift and mend soul and body. 
In the version above, these four middle verses all begin, ‘If you …’ They hold the Psalm up as a mirror, and invite us to remember our own exile experiences. When were we uprooted, taken away from all that was familiar and secure? How did that feel? Like a wasteland? A tempest? A prison? A complete draining of strength? However it felt, if we found the resources to come through, we may add our voice to this ancient chorus. We may echo the praises of Israel with the memory of our own journey back to hope. We may witness to the world that God was there, hearing us more clearly and holding us more surely than we realised at the time. That’s what the psalm means by ‘steadfast love’ (verses 1, 8, 15, 21, 31, 43).
For prayer

A wasteland? A tempest? A prison? A draining of strength? Think of people you know who find life directionless, or stormy, or limiting, or exhausting … and as you pray for them, remember that Jesus shared peace and hope with many who struggled. So pray for his presence and power in these people’s lives.




Today’s writer

The Rev’d John Proctor, retired minister, member of Downing Place URC, Cambridge 



New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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