Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
for His steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 107 is a unique Psalm – part ‘Psalm of Thanksgiving’ (vv 1-32) and part ‘Wisdom Psalm’ (vv 33-43). Some scholars, for that reason, think it began as two different Psalms that were later stitched together. I disagree. I think the writer of this Psalm knew exactly what he was doing as he sets out to teach us both to celebrate God’s steadfast love (that’s the thanksgiving part) and to know and rely on that love in a way that will strengthen our lives and deepen our faith in Him (that’s the wisdom part).
So this Psalm is a Song of God’s Faithful Love (His HESED). HESED is a Hebrew word that is challenging to bring directly into English because we don’t have a word that fits it exactly. That’s why translations vary. The NIV simply calls it “love”; NASB gives it as “lovingkindness;” the KJV calls it “mercy,” the CSB “faithful love,” while the ESV renders it as “steadfast love.” Each of these is a good translation, but none of them can exhaust the beauty that is contained in this little word HESED. It is love, to be sure. But it is deeper than a mere emotion. Much deeper. At it’s heart it speaks of a commitment – God’s commitment to us. It is His ironclad promise, made through covenant, to love and keep on loving those He has chosen to save through Christ. It “endures forever,” v 1 says. That means it is an eternal love, an everlasting love, a love that never fails (1 Cor 13:8) and is indestructible because it is based in the covenant commitment God has made to us through Christ. It is His promise that he will deal kindly with us and do us good eternally for the sake of His Son.
So the point of this Psalm is to teach us, not only to celebrate this love with songs of thanksgiving (v 1), but also to contemplate it as wisdom for our lives (v 43). That means God’s HESED is something we should know and understand and think about until its truth and beauty get down deep into our bones and ignite our faith with an unbreakable confidence in Him! What a joy to know how deeply God loves you in Christ! What wisdom there is in being convinced that nothing can separate you from His love (Rm 8:35f) as you keep relying on Him to work in your life for good, no matter what else is happening in your world.
May God help us know and celebrate His steadfast love.