Nobody likes trials. At least, I can’t say I do. But in this psalm we see the rejoicing of God’s people having come through those trials.
The psalmist sings,
Shout for joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name.” (1-4)
He then points out the reasons for his rejoicing. He tells the people,
Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind! He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot— come, let us rejoice in him. (5-6)
The obvious reference is to God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt and how he made a way of escape for them through the Red Sea. In doing so, he showed his power not only to Israel, but to all the nations. And so the psalmist warns,
He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations— let not the rebellious rise up against him. (7)
He then looks back to their time of bondage in Egypt, and perhaps also to their time of wandering in the desert, and as he does, he sees God’s hand in all that happened. He writes,
Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. (8-12)
It’s interesting to me here that he says it is God that brought about their troubles. It was he that brought them into prison and let people rule over them. This is not to say that God is directly responsible for evil in our lives. Evil is part and parcel of a broken world. But nothing passes into our lives without passing through the hands of God first. And God sometimes allows evil to come into our lives. Why? Because he hates us? No. To refine us. To purge out of our lives all of our pride and sin in order that we might become the pure and holy people that he desires.
But even through the fire, he never takes his hands off of us. Rather, he preserves us and keeps our feet from slipping to destruction. More than that, he will bring us out of our trials victorious.
Having come through the fire, the psalmist then offers his sacrifices of praise to God. But not only that, he shares his experiences with all those who would hear. He sings,
Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! (16-20)
How about you? What trials are you going through now? Know that whatever you may be going through, God still has his hand on you. So don’t lose heart. Cry out to him. Pour out your heart to him and you will see his deliverance. And when you do, be sure to let all those around you know what he has done for you.