Psalm 107 celebrates the mighty acts of God, the miracles experienced by the people of God. It begins with a call to thanksgiving because of the steadfast love of the Lord. The redeemed of the lord are called upon to proclaim what he has done (v. 2); he has gathered them from the lands
(v. 3). The psalm then celebrates four typical experiences of deliverance in which God intervened upon hearing the cry of the people.
- Deliverance from hunger and thirst in the wilderness (107:4-9)
- Deliverance from dark and distressing imprisonment (107:10-16)
- Deliverance from (107:17-22)
- Deliverance from peril at sea (107:23-32)
As Weiser’s commentary on the Psalms describes it, the second part of this psalm glorified the divine saving rule which “continually manifests itself in the baffling ups and downs of life.” Weiser goes on to sum up its hortatory conclusion as follows:
Prudence demands that the gracious acts of God be heeded and remembered, so that they become a lasting possession of faith…this parenthetic warning…emphasizes the educational aspect of the appropriation of salvation.
There is an obvious affinity between Psalm 107 and Mark 4:35-8:26. The analysis of the psalm given above is a generally valid description of the types of miracle stories presented in the Markan section. To the types of deliverance in the Psalm, the following passages in Mark may be compared:
- From hunger and thirst (6:30-44; 8:1-10, 14-21)
- From imprisonment (5:1-20; 6:13; 7:24-30)
- From sickness (5:21-6:5, 13, 53-56; 7:31-37; 8:22-26)
- From peril at sea (4:35-41; 6:45-52)
With respect to the second category, namely, deliverance from dark and distressing imprisonment, it should be noted that the dominant view of demon-possession was as a sort of bondage from which one had to be released.
Psalm 107 as “Horizon” for Interpreting the Miracle Stories of Mark 4:35-8:26
Article written by:
Unity and Diversity in New Testament Theology
Essays in Honor of
George E. Ladd
Robert A. Guelich