What caught my eye first was v. 2, "Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story - those he redeemed from the hand of the foe." My mind started wandering down the path of how every believer should tell their story, but... what is their story? So I thought about what *my* story is. How have I, redeemed by the Lord, been freed from the hand of the foe, from the hand of Satan? So I started to think that my life story isn't very awesome, when it comes to my redemption. (Of course the part about being redeemed is awesome, but what I was redeemed from isn't.) Would I really want to share my story with other people? I thought about the question, and instantly my mind said "nuh-uh."
But as it is, I have been redeemed from things that most people are slaves to. I have been redeemed from darkness that a lot of people are trapped in, redeemed from a life that very easily and abruptly ends in death. (Self-induced or not.) So I can't hide this redemption. I can't cover up God's act in my life just because I don't want people to see. It has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Him!
(Also, I found it interesting that just a chapter previous, 106:10 says, "He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them." There's something about how He's saved us from the foe and redeemed us from the enemy that bears repeating!)
So then I read the rest of the chapter. The next verses following are, "Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away."
But then the next verse: "Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress."
Wait... those He had *redeemed* wandered in desert wastelands, were hungry and thirsty, and their lives *ebbed away*. Not what we picture after redemption, at least not for me. I mean, after we're redeemed, shouldn't we just be walking on the clouds for the rest of our lives? No more hardships, trials, or temptations, right? Unfortunately... that's not the case.
But He delivered them from their distress. V. 7, "He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle." So He doesn't just give up on them after He redeems them. It's not a one-time-involvement relationship.
V. 8, "Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind."
Skip down a couple verses... v. 10, "Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains."
We see again that they "cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress."
Same formula. He "brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains." Followed by... "Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind."
And I'll throw in the next verse because I thought it was so awesome: "For he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron." (This is our all-powerful God!)
AND THEN THEY FALL BACK INTO REBELLION AND AFFLICTION. "They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death."
And what do they do? Cry to the Lord in their trouble... and He saved them from their distress.
And it keeps going. All throughout the chapter. All these things He does for those He has redeemed; even when they have fallen to rebellious ways and "despised the plans of the Most High." (v. 11) It's the same formula:
2.) Cry out to the Lord
3.) He saves them from their distress, and "rescues them from the grave."
But the coolest part here? God doesn't give up. He's not interested in picking us up out of the mire and then just leaving us to fend for ourselves afterward. Even when we are rebellious and defy Him, He's still there! He doesn't give up on us. We see here that these people, redeemed of the Lord, fall. Over, and over, and over again. And every time, when they cry to the Lord, He always rescues them, works in their lives to give them healing and restoration, and He does it again when they repeat the cycle.
We are the redeemed. We have to tell this amazing story of what the Lord has done for us.
So, I found that very encouraging last night. Maybe it might mean something to you too.