* Definition of distress
Distress – to subject one to grief or misery; a troubling or painful situation.
* How God rescues us from distress
This psalm speaks of four different types of people in distress and how God rescues them: wanderers (Psalm 107:4-9), prisoners (Psalm 107:10-16), the distressed (Psalm 107:17-20), and the storm-tossed (Psalm 107:23-30). No matter how extreme our calamity, God is able to help us. He is loving and kind to those who are distressed. (NLT)
Psalm 107:1 – Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
* Lost, hungry, thirsty, and exhausted, these wanderers typify the Israelites in exile. But they also typify anyone who has not found the satisfaction that comes from knowing God. Anyone who recognizes his or her own lostness can receive the offer of Jesus to satisfy these needs. Jesus is the way (John 14:61), the bread from heaven (John 6:33-352), the living water (John 4:10-143), and the giver of rest (Matthew 11:28-304). Have you received his life-giving offer?
Psalm 107:4-9 – Some wandered in the desert, lost and homeless. Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for all his wonderful deeds to them. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
* God rescues the prisoner. (NLT)
Psalm 107:10-16 – Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, miserable prisoners in chains. They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High. That is why he broke them with hard labor; they fell, and no one helped them rise again. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; he snapped their chains. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for all his wonderful deeds to them. For he broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron.
* God rescues the distressed. (NLT)
Psalm 107:17-20 – Some were fools in their rebellion; they suffered for their sins. Their appetites were gone, and death was near. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He spoke, and they were healed—snatched from the door of death.
* God rescues the storm-tossed. (NLT)
Psalm 107:23-30 – Some went off in ships, plying the trade routes of the world. They, too, observed the Lord’s power in action, his impressive works on the deepest seas. He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves. Their ships were tossed to the heavens and sank again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor!
* God may use distress
Job had been careful not to worship material possessions but to worship God alone. Here he was overwhelmed by calamities that mocked his caution, and he complained about trials that came despite his right living. All the principles by which he had lived were crumbling, and Job began to lose his perspective. Trials and grief, whether temporary or enduring, do not destroy the real purpose of life. Life is not given merely for happiness and personal fulfillment but for us to serve and honor God. The worth and meaning of life is not based on what we feel but on the one reality no one can take away—God’s love for us. Don’t assume that because God truly loves you, he will always prevent suffering. The opposite may be true. God’s love cannot be measured or limited by how great or how little we may suffer. (NLT)
Job 3:23-26 – Why is life given to those with no future, those destined by God to live in distress? I cannot eat for sighing; my groans pour out like water. What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come to be. I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest; instead, only trouble comes.”
* You don’t have to live distressed
Job’s profound speech in this chapter illustrates a great truth: To have a right set of doctrines is not enough. To know what to believe is not all that is required to please God. Truth untested by life’s experiences may become static and stagnant. Suffering can bring a dynamic quality to life. Just as drought drives the roots of a tree deeper to find water, so suffering can drive us beyond superficial acceptance of truth to dependence on God for hope and life. (NLT)
Job 15:20-25 – “Wicked people are in pain throughout their lives. They are surrounded by terrors, and even on good days they fear the attack of the destroyer. They dare not go out into the darkness for fear they will be murdered. They wander abroad for bread, saying, ‘Where is it?’ They know their ruin is certain. That dark day terrifies them. They live in distress and anguish, like a king preparing for an attack. For they have clenched their fists against God, defying the Almighty. Holding their strong shields, they defiantly charge against him.”
* God the only one who can reverse our situations
Do life’s problems always seem to go from bad to worse? God is the only one who can reverse this downward spiral. He can take our problems and turn them into glorious victories. There is one necessary requirement—we, like David, must cry out, “Turn to me and have mercy on me.” When you are willing to do that, God can turn the worst into something wonderful. The next step is yours—God has already made his offer. (NLT)
Psalm 25:16-17 – Turn to me and have mercy on me, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all!
* When you are weary from your distress
Even in our deepest sorrow, God cares! Jesus reminded us further of how much God understands us—even the hair on our head are all numbered. Often we waver between faith and fear. When you feel so discouraged that you are sure no one understands, remember that God knows every problem and sees every tear. (NLT)
Psalm 57:6-8 – My enemies have set a trap for me. I am weary from distress. They have dug a deep pit in my path, but they themselves have fallen into it.
My heart is confident in you, O God’ no wonder I can sing your praises! Wake up, my soul! Wake up, O hard and lyre! I will waken the dawn with my song.
* Source for our strength
Jesus was in great anguish over his approaching physical pain, separation from the Father, and de3ath for the sins of the world. The divine course was set, but he, in his human nature, still struggled. Because of the anguish Jesus experienced, he can relate to our suffering. Jesus’ strength to obey came from his relationship with God the Father, who is also the source of our strength. (NLT)
Matthew 26:36-38 – Then Jesus brought them to an olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go on ahead to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he began to be filled with anguish and deep distress. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me.”
* Change of mind and heart
Judas, the very man who would betray Jesus, was at the table with the others. Judas had already determined to betray Jesus, but in cold-blooded hypocrisy he shared the fellowship of this meal. It is easy to become enraged or shocked by what Judas did; yet professing commitment to Christ and then denying him with one’s life is also betraying him. It is denying Christ’s love to disobey him; it is denying his truth to distrust hi; it is denying his deity to reject his authority. Do your words and actions match? If not, consider a change of mind and heart that will protect you from making a terrible mistake. (NLT)
Mark 14:17-19 – In the evening Jesus arrived with the twelve disciples. As they were sitting around the table eating, Jesus said, “The truth is, one of you will betray me, one of you who is here eating with me.”
Greatly distressed, one by one they began to ask him, “I’m not the one, am I?”
* Holy Spirit helps us in our distress
As a believer, you are not left to your own resources to cope with problems. Even when you don’t know the right words to pray, the Holy Spirit prays with and for you, and God answers. With God helping you pray, you don’t need to be afraid to come before him. Ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for you “in harmony with God’s own will.” Then, when you bring your requests to God trust that he will always do what is best. (NLT)
Romans 8:26-27 – And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.
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1 This is one of the most basic and important passages in Scripture. How can we know the way to God? Only through Jesus. Jesus is the way because he is both God and man. By uniting our lives with his, we are united with God. Trust Jesus to take you to the Father, and all the benefits of being God’s child will be yours. (NLT)
John 14:6 – Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. . .”
2 People eat bread to satisfy physical hunger and to sustain physical life. We can satisfy spiritual hunger and sustain spiritual life only by a right relationship with Jesus Christ. No wonder he called himself the bread of life. But bread must be eaten to sustain life, and Christ must be invited into our daily walk to sustain spiritual life. (NLT)
John 6:33-35 – [Jesus said] “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day of our lives.”
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again. Those who believe in me will never thirst. . .”
3 John 4:10-14 – Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this is a very deep well. Where would you get this living water? And besides, are you greater than our ancestor Jacob who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his cattle enjoyed?”
Jesus replied, “People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
4 A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits over the shoulders of an ox or oxen. It is attached to a piece of equipment the oxen are to pull. A person may be carrying heavy burdens of (1) sin, (2) excessive demands of religious leaders, (3) oppression and persecution, or (4) weariness in the search for God.
Jesus frees people from all these burdens. The rest that Jesus promises is love, healing, and peace with God, not the end of all labor. A relationship with God changes meaningless, wearisome toil into spiritual productivity and purpose. (NLT)
Matthew 11:28-30 – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”
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