Who Do You Call, 911 or God?
Briefing: There is a line from a movie that says, “When people get in trouble, they call 911. When the police get in trouble, they call SWAT.” I don’t know about you but when I get in trouble, I call God.
Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 107.
On the Street: I really appreciate the straightforward message of Psalm 107. It is one of those psalms that give several examples of the point the psalmist is trying to make.
In verse 1 we see God’s love endures forever. Only God’s love will stand the test of time. Armed with this knowledge, we look at several scenarios that will hammer home the truth, nothing will save and protect us other than God. Yes, even SWAT will pass away and only God’s love will remain.
After getting the foundation of God’s everlasting love put in place, we can start to build. Verse 2 tells us of our response to this truth. We must tell our story to others. Those are our friends, family, strangers, and fellow peace officers. Our story is our testimony, our witness and act of worship.
This trips a lot of people up and they get the idea of “evangelizing”, having a grand knowledge of the Bible, and a prepared and preacher-like pitch. That is not what the Bible says. This psalm will make it clear (in verses 8, 15, 21, and 31) that we are called to give thanks. You can tell your friends what great things God has done in your life without asking them to pray a prayer of salvation. Just tell them about God. Introduce them to the hope you have in salvation. It is that easy, don’t make it hard or intimidating. The devil wants you to be afraid to tell others about God and His goodness.
In verses 4-6 we see the first example of God’s salvation. We read about a people who have wandered around trying to figure out life for themselves. This usually brings us to the place where we realize we are helpless. Most people I know have turned to the LORD during this kind of experience. I believe it is important for us to understand that God does not force Himself on us. He waits for us to come to a place where we need Him. If we will cry out to Him, He will answer.
Verses 4-9 paint a picture of a people wandering around in circles not knowing which way to go. When we cry out to Him, He takes us on the straight path to provision and shelter. God led them by a “straight” way. He makes our paths straight and level. It is us, who fall off, wander off, or chase rabbits off the straight and narrow path. When Jesus gave Saul/Paul directions on where to go when he was struck with blindness, he was told to go to “Straight Street” (Acts 9:11). The path of God is straight.
After crying out and being saved, we are told to give thanks to God. This follows the example given in verse 2, “Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story, those He redeemed from the hand of the foe”. In verses 7-9 we are told to give glory to God and tell others of the wonderful things He has done for us. In Mark 5:18-20 we read, “As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.”
Verses 10-16 gives another example of God’s saving grace. This group of people finds themselves living in utter darkness. This would be a seemingly hopeless existence if not for the hope we have in Christ. Being stuck in the darkness of sin is not the end; Luke 1:78-79 says, “because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” In verse 13 we see again, it is not until they cry out to God that He steps in and saves them. Then the proper response comes in verse 15, “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind”.
The third group of people are found in verses 17-22. In verse 18 we see they hungered and now they abhorred food. In studying the Bible, we learn His Word is our spiritual food. I have recently come across a couple of fellow peace officers who have fallen away because of bad church experiences. They once hungered for the Word but have now turned from it. We must remember the foundation from verse 1, nothing will last but the love of God. Churches, denominations and people will pass away but God’s love endures forever. Don’t depend on a church or pastor to feed you God’s Word. You are ultimately responsible for your own learning and choices. Look to God and Him alone. Hope is found in verse 19, “They cried to the LORD in their trouble and He saved them”. Don’t misunderstand, we are made for community but if you are in a bad place “religiously” then it is up to you to seek out a group of Bible-believing followers of Jesus Christ.
In verses 23-32 we are introduced to a fourth group. I look at this group as the courageous alpha dogs, the explorers, the adventurers. They are always looking for the next thrill or adrenaline rush. I know a lot of law enforcement people who would fall into this category. We see in this example they ultimately find themselves in a storm they cannot control. In verse 28 they cried out to the LORD and He rescued them. In Matthew 8:27, the disciples found themselves in a bad storm. When Jesus calmed the storm, “The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!” They had the proper response, to glorify Him. Verse 31 tells us to do the same and give thanks to the LORD.
This psalm comes to a close with a warning to those who do not follow the instructions found in this chapter. Verse 34 tells us not to put your hope in property, land, country, or government. Calling 911 may help you in a situation but it will not save your soul. Only God’s love lasts forever. Only God can be counted on and trusted to save you. Cry out to God and He will save you. When He saves you, don’t forget your response. We must praise Him with an honest and sincere heart.
Investigational Resources: Compare this psalm to Matthew 13:1-23. Acts 9:11, Mark 5:18-20, Luke 1:78-79, Psalm 23.
Officer Safety Principle: “Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the LORD.” Psalm 107:43.
from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 2
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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