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He is good (1) to ... (2) in ... (3) in ... (4) in violent seas...

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………… Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep. For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; they reeled and staggered like drunken men and all their wisdom was swallowed up. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. Psalm 107: 1-3; 23-32
 
Refugees?  Those under siege? Sickness-ridden? Please see the three preceding Info for Islanders. What about those who are out on violent open seas? Is the LORD God good to them?

The Psalm in bold above in very ancient – maybe 3,000 years old. Does it have anything to say to us? It is part of the national archives of Israel – the record of the family of Israel since antiquity. It is from that nation that Jesus came. It is to that nation that Jesus came.

After calling folk to give thanks to the LORD, the Psalmist gives the reason for doing that: it’s because of the LORD’s “steadfast love” towards the children of men.

Then the Psalmist lists various circumstances in which people should praise the LORD. When they cry out as refugees, as migrants - and the LORD responds – praise Him. When they are famished under siege – and the LORD responds – praise Him. When they are ill and diseased – and the LORD responds – praise Him.

In bold above we now have: when they are near drowning at sea and call upon Him – and the LORD responds – praise Him.
 
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‘We do not usually learn that Christ is all we need until we reach that point where he is all we have.’ (Vance Havner, writer, 1901- 1986)
The coast of Jersey is littered with shipwrecks. In addition, the inhabitants of a small island are bound to be sailors. Many Jerseymen captained ships over the centuries. Privateering drew them into waters adjoining the whole coastline of France. Cod fishing drew them into Newfoundland waters. All the while the sea took its toll of Jersey (and other) lives.

The Psalmist hit the right button: Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep.

The world’s seas do indeed contain fearsome creatures and amazing species – as David Attenborough’s award-winning Blue Planet revealed. But the sea is an awesome enemy. In Balleine’s Biographical Dictionary of Jersey, one Jean (John) Syvret (1784-1862), seaman, was in 1829 shipwrecked in the Bay of Biscay, saved but taken captive by the French to Corunna in Spain.

Maybe the Psalmist’s words would have resonated with Jean: For he [the LORD] commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; they reeled and staggered like drunken men and all their wisdom was swallowed up.
 
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‘The more terrible the storm, the more necessary the anchor.’ (William S Plummer, lawyer and preacher, 1759-1850)
Two things to notice here. First it was the LORD who “commanded and raised the stormy waves”. Second, the Psalmist refers, rather pointedly, to “their evil plight”. Oh. Oh. So these seamen weren’t (and aren’t) “innocent”….. They’re no more innocent than I am.

“They cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.

“He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.

“Let them (those who are not innocent but who call upon the LORD) thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!”             

Me too.
 
Richard Syvret

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