June 19th is Juneteenth Day. It celebrates the day African Americans in Texas learned they were no longer slaves—2 ½ years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Today, those who celebrate that day recall a painful past but resolve that it will never happen again. That’s the same attitude modern Israelites have about the holocaust—“never again,” they say, because if we forget, it may happen again. Psalm 107 expresses gratitude to God for the many ways God delivered ancient Israel. They were saying, in effect, we will praise God today for His deliverance, because if we forget to say thanks, we can become lax, take God’s blessings for granted, and wander away from Him. The psalm can be a guide for us today, because like African American slaves, European Jews, and ancient Israelites, God has graciously blessed us. He has delivered us out of so many perilous situations and supplied our needs beyond what we deserve. Maybe God has healed you, shown you mercy before a judge, given you a job, or forgiven a great sin. Whatever your blessing, the psalmist urges us, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” The writer ends this psalm pleading that we not be ungrateful and neglect to thank God. He says, “Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the LORD.”
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