The lack of man's thankfulness to a gracious and giving God is a constant theme in Scripture. Romans 1:18-20 describes man's unthankfulness to God as one of the reasons for His anger against mankind.
Have you ever spent your time, money, or energy to help someone and never received an acknowledgment of any kind? How did that make you feel?
Psalm 107 was written to remind and encourage us to always be thankful for God's goodness and to express our gratitude. In the NLT verse two says, "Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies." So, the evidence of thankfulness is telling others how good God is to us.
This Psalm gives four examples of God's deliverance. In each instance, after describing the circumstances of each person's situation, the Psalmist said they "cried to the LORD...and he delivered them from their distress." The Psalmist then commands "Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!"
The second and third example of distress is brought on by the individual's rebellion or sinfulness. The first and fourth appear to be people going about their daily lives and finding themselves in life-threatening situations. What is amazing is the fact that no matter how they got in such dire straits when they called on the LORD, He delivered them. It seems obvious each of these can have both physical and spiritual implications.
The last verse says the wise person will take notice of God's goodness and deliverance. Notice both the first and final verse focus on the steadfast love of the LORD. The obvious conclusion is the wise will acknowledge God's steadfast love by voicing their thankfulness.
Our Redeemer—the LORD of hosts is his name—the Holy One of Israel, we agree with Jesus. We declare there is no one good except You. You are good to us. You have redeemed and delivered us from our self-inflicted distress. You have protected us even when we were oblivious. Forgive us for our lack of appreciation and gratitude. We desire that our thankfulness to You the One True God would flow from our hearts and mouths so others would know of Your goodness.
God, Himself, delivered the Israelites over to the Babylonians because of their rebellion against Him by worshiping other gods. Notice what He required of the Babylonians while the Israelites were under their authority. "You showed them no mercy; on the aged, you made your yoke exceedingly heavy."
On two separate occasions in Matthew 9:13 and 12:7, Jesus, quoting Hosea 6:6 said: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." In Matthew 12:7 Jesus said, "And if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless.'" When the LORD delivered the nation of Judah into the hands of the Babylonians, don't you think some of these captives had never worshiped other gods? Some turned over to the Babylonians were guiltless were they not?
James 2:13 says, "For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment."
Lord Jesus, please teach us the meaning of Your desire for mercy rather than sacrifice. We know our Father has shown great mercy to us and we want to be as merciful to others. Forgive us for being like the Babylonians and thinking ourselves better than others.