The Lord often uses oppression to draw people to Him. We saw this very clearly in the Judges Era when the Israelites turned from the Lord and were doing what they believed was right in their own sight. Their actions were evil to the Lord because they were not consistent with His Word which is the only standard of truth. Therefore, the Lord allowed the enemies of Israel to oppress His people as a means to return them to Him. And when the Israelites would cry out to the Lord under their affliction, the Lord would raise up a judge to deliver them and there would be peace while the judge was alive.
Today the psalmist of Psalm 107 speaks of the same cycle. There is despair, affliction and trouble, so the people call out to the Lord and He saves them:
Despair – “They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them” (Psalm 107:4-5).
Cry to the Lord – “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble” (Psalm 107:6).
Salvation – “And He delivered them out of their distresses. And He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city for a dwelling place” (Psalm 107:6-7).
Affliction – “Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, bound in affliction and irons— Because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the Most High, therefore He brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help” (Psalm 107:10-12).
Cry to the Lord – “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble” (Psalm 107:13).
Salvation – “And He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their chains in pieces” (Psalm 107:13-14).
Trouble – “For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end” (Psalm 107:25-27).
Cry to the Lord – “Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble” (Psalm 107:28).
Salvation – And He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven” (Psalm 107:28-30).
The Lord is the same today! If you are in distress or under affliction or in trouble, call upon the name of the Lord and He will save you. The Lord knows that we need Him to save us and to guide us; that is why He promised to send His Son to be our Savior and the Holy Spirit as a guide to those who trust in Jesus Christ. The psalmist of Psalm 113 speaks of the coming Savior – “The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth? (Psalm 113:4-6). The Son of God, Jesus Christ, will humble Himself by leaving His high position in heaven to come to earth as a baby born in a stable. He will live a life of rejection and persecution and die a brutal death for our salvation. After He completes the works of our salvation, the Lord will exalt Him in heaven and on earth (Philippians 2:5-11).
The psalmist of Psalm 113 goes on to say, “He raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the ash heap, that He may seat him with princes— with the princes of His people. He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 113:7-9). God loves to take the lowly and foolish things of the world and elevate them to accomplish His purposes so that everyone will know it was an act of God – “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). We have already seen many examples of the Lord taking the lowly, those who are in despair, affliction and trouble, and saving them to accomplish His purposes throughout the Story:
- He took a former idol worshipper and his barren wife, Abraham and Sarah, and gave them a child in their old age and made a great nation from their descendants
- He promoted Joseph from slave to ruler over Egypt to save the nations from a famine
- He saved Rehab, a harlot, who became King David’s great grandma and is listed in Jesus Christ’s lineage along with Ruth, a former Moabite widow
- He made David, a shepherd boy, a mighty king and promised the Savior would come from his descendants
The Lord will save and use anyone who humbles himself and calls upon the name of the Lord. He has done it in the past and He continues to do it today through His Son Jesus Christ. And those who are in Christ will one day be elevated to their desired haven as Psalm 107:30 said, and that is in heaven for eternity.
(Psalm 107, Psalms 111-114)