Healing for the Foolish and Afflicted

Healing for the Foolish and Afflicted

TEXT: Psalm 107:17-22; Romans 1:20-25; 5:8-10

God is good, God is faithful, and God is involved in the lives of people like you and me. That’s the constant refrain of Psalm 107 and the basis of our current series, “My Story, My Song.” Psalm 107 begins with the three verse refrain that declares that God is good, God is faithful, and God is involved in human lives. And then there are some six stanzas, each with anywhere from 4-9 verses each that explore different examples of how God is involved.

So far we’ve looked at the opening refrain and the first two stanzas:

vv. 1-3        REFRAIN – God is good, faithful, involved
vv. 4-9        God provides water for the thirsty and needy soul
vv.10-16    God offers freedom for the captive

Today (vv.17-22) we are looking at how God rescues the foolish, those who insistently turn away from God. God does not force salvation on the persistently foolish, but neither will God turn away from any who turn to Him. We’ll also look at a parallel passage in Romans and then consider our own story and song.

Fools… (Psalm 107:17-22)

There are many kinds of fools, but they all have making bad decisions in common. The book of Proverbs in the Bible spends quite a bit of space describing and defining spiritual foolishness, contrasting it with wisdom which seeks God’s direction and counsel and follows it.

In Psalm 107, fool is defined as someone who is rebellious and sinful (cf. iniquity) (v.17). And in the same sentence we read that those in view were also afflicted. They suffered the consequence of their foolishness, leading to pretty grim outcomes. Their “soul abhorred all kinds of food.” They hated the things that nurture and feed the soul: faith, trust in God, obedience, humility, and more. Perhaps this also was reflected and borne out physically in not eating or being able to keep food down. Ultimately, this path led near to the gates of death. (v.18)

Whether a reflection on God’s people turning away from Him and ending up in exile or a description of the situation IN exile, it is a pretty stark description of the ways that rejecting God manifests in our lives.

As with previous stanzas, the next few verses (vv.19-22) describe the eventual turning back to the Lord and the healing and restoration God provided. One standout detail is in verse 20: God “sent His word and healed them., and delivered them from their destructions.” It wasn’t a magic healing, but healing provided via God’s word. The fools who had rejected who God was and what God said were now healed by acknowledging God by calling out to Him and through receiving, listening to, and obeying God’s words. God’s words are words of life!

Wrath… and Love? (Romans 1, 5)

As I was looking for a passage to pair with this stanza I thought of Romans 1, which also describes spiritual foolishness that leads to grim consequences. But it’s not the end of the story. I also included Romans 5, which describes the good and faithful God who does not reject any who turn to Him.

Romans 1 describes the “without excuse” way that all people are exposed to God. Everyone may not have the specific words of scripture or the details about Jesus, but can see the world God has made and reckon with the existence of God in some way. Romans 1 notes that some “suppress” that general revelation of God and trade the idea of God with lesser things. God will not force Himself on anyone and if people insist on denying what is in plain view, then God will not over-ride their wills. Verse 25 says that some “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…” The old Bob Dylan song sums it up: you gotta serve somebody. We may not conceive of it as formal worship, but we all serve something or someone.

Well that passage can really get you bent out of shape. Is God full of wrath? Doesn’t God care about people?

Recognize that Romans is basically a VERY long train of thought and this passage is just the first statement. From there Paul goes on to catch the proud folks who are ready to get judgy about the fools in chapter one. He says that the proud folks also miss the mark. In fact, the folks who have the details – the special revelation of God in scripture and in Jesus Christ – are held to a much higher standard! If with that much of God’s Word we disobey, rebel, or… yep, get too judgy… we are also guilty before the Lord.

Where Paul is heading in Romans is to say that we all fall short (he’s just quoting Psalm 53) and that God is bigger and stronger than our foolishness. In fact, in the words of Psalm 107, God is GOOD, God is FAITHFUL, and God is INVOLVED. Listen again to our morning scripture from Romans 5:8-10…

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

That’s the Good News right there, folks. While we were yet sinners – while we were FOOLS – Christ died for us to reconcile us to God and save our lives. The Gospel has the same refrain as Psalm 107! God is good, God is faithful, and God comes after us!

My Story, My Song

Do you relate to this stanza, this story? Was there a time when you were the spiritual fool? You rejected God and God’s Word to head in a different direction?

Isn’t it Good News that God doesn’t give up on us? God won’t over-ride our will if we are dead-set on heading in a foolish direction. And God often allows us to experience the consequences of our own foolishness, though sometimes God will intervene and get our attention.

But if you’ve been there, and you are here, then you’ve probably realized what it means to turn back to God, to listen again, to begin to trust in God’s Word to us.

You may be in the middle of that turn. Know that God wants you and will not turn away from you. I am always moved by the image of the Father of the Prodigal Son, who ran with joy to meet his returning son. God still welcomes children home like that.

What is your story? What is your song? Do you ever take time to remember it, to think through how God reached you, to give thanks for that? I’d love to hear your story!

In just a few minutes we’ll get to hear one story of God’s goodness and faithfulness as Mike McKenzie shares his testimony with us.

Remember: God is good, God is faithful, and God is still involved with people like you and me. Amen.

Mike McKenzie sharing “My Story, My Song” testimony

Some Music Used

  • Preludes
    • Trading My Sorrows
    • Come as You Are
    • Come to Jesus
  • Come, Ye Sinners
  • Good to Me
  • How Great Thou Art