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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

July 4, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again

Daily Reading: Psalm 106-107


Psalm 107:8

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!


When the physical collides with the spiritual usually the physical is the focus, but for those spiritually minded the spiritual comes across clear and plain. In Psalm 107 there is an element of both, the physical story of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, and possibly Babylon, and the spiritual outgrowth of such. Four times the same exact statement is made in this great Psalm: Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (verses 8, 15, 21, 31) 


The number four in the Bible seems to indicate a level of divine completeness. On the fourth day God completed the material universe by creating the sun, moon, and stars. These all have a purpose and are complete in their substance. In the garden of Eden there was a great river that parted into four other rivers. While on the cross the Roman soldiers divided his clothing into four parts. The four earthly witnesses to God’s power on earth are miracles, wonders, signs and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 2:4). Lazarus was dead and in the tomb for four days. Rainbows are mentioned four times in scripture. There are four horsemen of the Apocalypse in Revelation, four beasts in Revelation four, and four gospel accounts of the Lord’s life and ministry on earth.


Practically speaking there are four members of a nuclear family, father, mother, sons, and daughters. There are four points on a compass (the four corners of the earth Revelation 7:1). There are four basic parts of a day: morning, afternoon, evening, and nighttime. Four seasons in a year, four chambers in the heart, four types of tides every day, four basic tastes, and on and on this list could go.


So, when today’s verse is repeated four times in one chapter, we would be well advised to take notice. For in it, there is a spiritual result to a physical reality. God delivered Israel, this is physical, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and His wonderful works, this is spiritual. The spiritual is a result of the physical.


Think about the soul of a person. It is spiritual, but lives in a physical body. The focus is usually on the body, the physical. It is fed, groomed, and clothed. Its feelings are either welcomed or unwelcomed, i.e.. pain vs. comfort. A person is recognized by their physical appearance, yet their soul is the real person. To live only for the physical is dangerous in this life and an existential threat to the next.


In Romans 15:4 it is written, For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. In Psalm 107 the physical deliverance of Israel is a physical story that extends into the spiritual act of praise. From it we learn that God can, and will, deliver His people from their many afflictions (Psalm 34:19). To which our spiritual response from this comfortable thought will, or should, be an outpouring of praise. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!


Dr. William T. Howe

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