Your Story (Psalm 107:1-3)
My Papaw Imel loved to tell stories. He joined the U.S. Army in January 1941; about a year later, of course, he was fighting in the Second World War. He would tell us three grandsons about being told to get on a ship; only after boarding, did he learn that he was headed for the theater in North Africa. He would talk about what life was like for the North Africans. Later, he went to Rome, and he narrated stories about trying to learn Italian or seeing the Pope or encountering a barber who told him to get lost.
You have probably known a great storyteller in your life. Maybe you, like me, heard war stories from a grandparent. Maybe you heard about how your family survived the Great Depression. Maybe you learned how your ancestors crossed oceans or mountains in search of freedom and prosperity
You, too, have a story to tell, a story that one day you will pass down to future generations. In Psalm 107, the Psalmist told us: “God’s people have a story to tell.”
Scripture (Psalm 107:1-3)
This Psalm was written to celebrate the Israelites’ return from Babylonian Captivity. At verse 3, the psalmist mentioned those God “gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.” That verse is a fulfillment of God’s promises:
- God had promised to scatter his people should they become disobedient: “The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the LORD will drive you” (Deut 4:27).
- God had promised to restore his people to the Promised Land should they repent: “Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back” (Deut 30:4).
God had promised to remove his children from the Promised Land if they were unfaithful—he did that when he sent them to Babylonian Captivity. God had promised to restore his people to the land should they repent—God was doing that through Ezra and his coworkers.
Because of the restoration, the people could give thanks to God for all his goodness. His love endures forever—it’s not fleeting, but God’s love is eternal.
The redeemed of the LORD should tell their story. God had redeemed his people from Egyptian bondage years earlier: “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment” (Ex 6:6). Now, God was redeeming his people from the Babylonian Captivity.
God gathered his people from being scattered from all over the earth and brought them back to the Promised Land.
“God’s people have a story to tell.” The Israelites had a story to tell, and the psalmist encouraged them to tell their story at verse 2. They would tell future generations how they had been unfaithful to God, how he had sent them into Babylon, how they had repented, and how God restored them to the land.
You, too, have a story to tell. You have a story about how God has redeemed you from sin and death and hell. You have a story about how God has changed your life. You have a story about how God has restored relationships, relieved guilt, and has given you hope in place of despair.
How can you tell your story?
You tell your story in corporate worship.
Psalm 107 was intended to be sang as part of Jewish worship: “Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy” (Ps 107:22). As you sing in corporate worship, you are proclaiming the story of your redemption, of God’s love for you, and of your forgiveness in Jesus.
As you take the Lord’s Supper, you tell your story about how Jesus has saved you from sin: “Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26).
You tell your story to others.
Twenty years ago, I had a doctor perform a procedure that greatly helped me. Every now and then, the doctor’s nurse would have people contemplating the surgery to call me so that I could tell them how much better I was doing. That gave me the opportunity to tell folks where I had been and where I currently was.
You can do the same thing with your faith. You have so many opportunities when people are struggling to tell them how God helped you through the same struggle. When people are struggling with sin, you can tell them how God helped you overcome the sin in your life. When people are struggling with guilt, you can tell them how God gave you hope in the place of despair.
You tell your story through different lives.
You can tell your story simply by the different way you live. The Israelites would have the opportunity to proclaim their story to the Babylonians simply by going home with joy. When their Babylonian captors asked them to sing the songs of Zion, the Israelites replied, “How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?” (Ps 137:4). Now, as they returned to Jerusalem with joy, the Israelites would be powerfully declaring the strength of their God.
As you go about daily life, you can share your story. As neighbors see you get up on Sundays and assemble with the saints, you’re sharing your story. As coworkers see you treat people with dignity and respect, you’re telling your story. As your fellow students see you refuse to cheat on that hard exam, you’re telling your story.
Go out today and share your story with the world!
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at Church of Christ Deer Park in Deer Park, Texas.