He turned rivers into a desert, flowing springs into thirsty ground, and fruitful land into a salt waste, because of the wickedness of those who lived there. He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs; there he brought the hungry to live, and they founded a city where they could settle. They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest; he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased, and he did not let their herds diminish. Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled by oppression, calamity and sorrow; he who pours contempt on nobles made them wander in a trackless waste. But he lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks. The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths. Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord. – Psalm 107:33-43
The first part of this passage sounds like a headline from California during the recent droughts. I am not sure if California is more wicked than any other state, but many powerful and prestigious people there do not publicly acknowledge or glorify God. Does God allow droughts to get our attention? I do not know.
The same God who can bring drought – to wake us from our slumber – has said that He wants to carry us like a son or daughter. Two very different sides of the same God…a God who can convert “fruitful land into a salt waste” and a God who can do just the opposite by turning “parched ground into flowing springs“. What determines God’s trajectory and choices when it comes to interacting with us humans? Why does He bring both drought and rain, and does what we are doing affect God’s choices?
Metaphorically droughts and rain are often used to refer to the spiritual state of our souls. Most followers of God experience differences in how close they feel to the God. During “Dry” periods we feel far from God and, depending on the timing and nature of God’s rain, we can feel refreshed or oppressed during “wet” periods. Either way God’s prefers that we drink rain from heaven to satisfy our thirst.
Some people wonder why a God who loves us would send calamity or conflict (rain or drought) into our lives. Is it ever a “loving deed” for God to send “drought” spirituality or physically? I think the short answer to this important question is “yes”. The poster child for this would have to be Job. God loved Him greatly, yet he experienced some of the worst earthly calamities imaginable.
God loves us and believes in us even when we do not believe in Him. He wants us to place Him at a the center of our souls. Perhaps water has to become scarce sometimes before we seek it out. Followers of Christ, and all spiritually curious God seekers, go through spiritually dry times. God wants our souls to want Him like a deer pants for water during dry spiritual times. He wants us to satisfy our spiritual thirst by remaining connected to the spring.
The passage ends with an interesting command “Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord”. What does this mean? The things to be heeded are essentially the history of God and the Israelites. I think this command applies to us more broadly too. We are called to remember the things God has done for us to put the rains and droughts in perspective.
We are also to “ponder the loving deeds of the Lord”. I really like this wording. God knows that we will be confused by the spiritual dynamic here on earth at times. He wants us to ponder and think about these things, but He also wants us to remember that He loves us.
Prayer: God thank You for loving us enough to get our attention at times.