His Word Healed Them

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Reading: Psalm 107  
(Verses 17-22)
Some became fools through their rebellious ways
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
They loathed all food
and drew near the gates of death.
Then they cried to the L
ORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the L
ORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy
(NIV).

Reflection
There is a verse in Psalm 107 that holds deep significance for all eternity—past, present and future. Here is the verse: He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave (Psalm 107:20).

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Tulips announcing spring is here — photo by David Kitz

I was introduced to this wonderful verse at the funeral of my maternal grandfather. Psalm 107:20 was the sermon text. This Bible verse might seem like an odd choice for use at a funeral. After all, in the end the deceased was not healed. In the case of my grandfather, he made it to the ripe old age 92 years, but death triumphed in the end. Or did it?

The pastor pointed out that throughout his life, on countless occasions, God sent out his word and healed my grandfather, and God who is faithful would do it again. But on the next occasion the LORD would raise my grandfather from the dead.

This is the great hope of all who believe in Jesus Christ. He is our forerunner. He suffered death on our behalf, but he also experienced resurrection—the same kind of resurrection that every believer will experience.

The God who in eons past spoke galaxies into existence can send His word and resurrect my grandfather, and all who have put their faith in the resurrected Savior. With each passing day that awesome moment draws nearer. That’s the ultimate healing and it happens through the power of God’s word.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Response: Father God, send your word. Send your word and heal those who are sick. Send your word and save and transform those who are hostile to you. Send your word and resurrect those who are spiritually dead in their trespasses and sins. LORD God, send your living word. Amen.

Your Turn: Who springs to mind when you pray for God to send His word?

Psalms Alive! Connecting Heaven and Earth by David Kitz

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How do you connect with God?

For three thousand years, God has been connecting with humankind through the prophetic prayer, praise and poetry of the biblical Psalms. Come follow David, the shepherd king, the man after God’s own heart, as we begin a journey to intimacy with God. Discover for yourself what a soul-bonding relationship with God looks like.

As never before, let the psalms come alive for you!

Psalms Alive! can be best described as a 237-page devotional study of thirteen selected psalms spanning a total of twenty-six chapters.


In typical devotional style each chapter begins with a psalm or psalm portion. Then for five or six pages the author discusses this portion by bringing other scripture to bear, drawing from his personal life experience or relating powerful stories that illustrate the key thoughts highlighted in this psalm. Each chapter then ends with a number of questions or action prompts that are aimed at bringing the psalm to life for the reader. By including these questions, the book lends itself easily to group study and discussion.

The twenty-six chapter format provides a half year of curriculum material for churches or study groups that wish to grow their love for God through engaging with the Psalms.  Of course Psalms Alive! works equally well as a personal study anchored in the unchanging truths of God’s word.

Endorsements for Psalms Alive!

“A timely call to stop our mad rush and encounter God in the stillness of prayer and Bible study. David Kitz paints pictures with words, taking lessons from Scripture and nature to offer us a three-dimensional, multi-sensory relationship with God.”

Robert L. Briggs, Executive Vice President, American Bible Society

David writes with a dramatic and compelling flair, enticing us to meet with God and therein find life. His intent to let God’s Word speak through the psalms is accomplished with theological sensitivity to the sitz im leben and creative application to the context of our lives today. Well done, David! Psalms Alive! helped me inhabit the Word and know Him more.

Rev. Dr. Lawson Murray, President – Scripture Union Canada

American readers can click on this link to purchase Psalms Alive! Connecting Heaven and Earth. 

This 237 page devotional study is also available directly from the author by clicking here.

From Darkness to Light

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Reading: Psalm 107  

(Verses 10-16)
Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
prisoners suffering in iron chains,
because they rebelled against God’s commands
and despised the plans of the Most High.
So he subjected them to bitter labor;
they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
Then they cried to the L
ORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
and broke away their chains.
Let them give thanks to the L
ORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he breaks down gates of bronze
and cuts through bars of iron
(NIV).

Reflection
Darkness comes in various forms. Darkness is of course an absence of natural or artificial light. A certain amount of darkness can in fact be very pleasant. Have you ever tried to sleep in a brightly lit room? On a recent trip I was driving through the wilderness of northern Ontario with a full moon—a supermoon beaming down. On such occasions you appreciate the soothing benefits of darkness.

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By the light of the moon, Landestreu Church, SK — photo courtesy of Donald Adam.

But spiritual darkness is another matter. In today’s vignette or snapshot from Psalm 107, we see a picture of prisoners sitting in utter darkness and subjected to bitter labor. This darkness, however, is self-inflicted, because they rebelled against God’s commands and despised the plans of the Most High.

There’s a lot of self-inflicted darkness and suffering in the world. One could argue that since the time of Adam and Eve, all suffering and spiritual darkness is in some respects self-inflicted. In our blindness and self-generated wisdom, we harm ourselves, rather than calling out to the LORD.

Have you harmed yourself by walking down a dark path? Have you despised the plans of the Most High? I have. In my foolish rebellion, I thought my plans were better than God’s plans, but God’s ways are higher than my ways and He knows the best way because He lights the way.

Sometimes we insist on generating our own light—artificial light. The religions and philosophies of this world are artificial light. We will see that they are pale imitations on that day when the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays (Malachi 4:2). Nothing and no one shines like Jesus. John testifies to this truth. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:4-5).

Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD (Isaiah 2:5).

Response: Father God, today I want to walk in your light. Thanks for the light of salvation that we receive in Christ our Savior. Please show me your way forward. You brighten my life. Amen.

Your Turn: Have you been guilty of generating your own light rather than calling out to the LORD?

Stories of Redemption

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Reading: Psalm 107
(Verses 1-9)
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.
Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.
Then they cried out to the L
ORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle.
Let them give thanks to the L
ORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things
(NIV).

Reflection
This psalm is different. It’s unique among the 150 psalms in the Bible because it presents us with various vignettes of redemption—brief stories or scenes where the LORD rains down his mercy and rescues the wayward and downtrodden.

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Babbling creek in a deep ravine, Orleans, ON — photo by David Kitz

In verse two the psalmist declares, “Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story.” Then as the psalm progresses, he goes on to describe five scenes or stories of redemption. The desert-stranded traveler is rescued; the prisoner is set free, the rebellious are brought healing and encouragement, those lost in a storm-tossed sea find a safe harbor, and prosperity returns to the inhabitants of a parched wasteland. In every situation, the great God of heaven hears the cries of His people and shows them His plenteous mercy.

What a good God we serve! With the psalmist we exclaim, “His love endures forever!”

If you are a follower of Jesus, you too have a story of redemption to tell. He rescued you from a downward hellish spiral just as real as those described in this psalm. Some rescues come in the nick of time; others come early on, before we sink neck-deep into trouble. We might call them preemptive rescues. Whatever your personal story, it’s a testimony worth telling. God intervened in your life, and the good news is He stands ready to intervene again at the very moment you cry out to Him.

He loves to redeem His people. It’s in His nature. Spiritually, are you in a desert place? Call out to Him.

Response: Father God, I am thankful that I have a story of redemption. You intervened in my life. Today I thank you for satisfying my thirst and filling my life with good things. Amen.

Your Turn: Do you have a story of redemption to tell? Was it pre-emptive or in the nick of time?

Bent Nails and Bent Hearts

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Reading:                                   Psalm 106                                                                 

(Verses 40-48)
Therefore the LORD was angry with his people
and abhorred his inheritance.
He gave them into the hands of the nations,
and their foes ruled over them.
Their enemies oppressed them
and subjected them to their power.
Many times he delivered them,
but they were bent on rebellion
and they wasted away in their sin.
Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry;
for their sake he remembered his covenant
and out of his great love he relented.
He caused all who held them captive to show them mercy.
Save us, LORD our God, and gather us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Let all the people say, “Amen!”
Praise the LORD (NIV).

Reflection
Have you ever tried to drive in a crooked nail? You are asking for trouble if you make the attempt. If the nail has even a slight bend in it, it will either buckle or be misdirected as it enters the wood. Over the years I have hammered home a lot of nails. And only straight nails stay true.

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Bending over the river — photo by David Kitz

Today’s final reading from Psalm 106 reminds me of bent nails. The psalmist laments the corrupt ways of the nation of Israel despite the LORD’s mercy and patience. Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin.

Many people are like bent nails. Despite many blows—many hard knocks—they refuse to run true. They are bent on rebellion and they waste away in their sin. Their troubles are self-inflicted, but rather than acknowledge their errors, they blame God or others for their circumstances. Repentance or self-correction never enters their mind.

But… But God remains merciful. Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented.

Why would God have mercy on bent nails? Maybe it has something to do with the bent nails that held Jesus, His son, in place on a wooden cross. That’s where mercy flowed down over this bent nail—this flawed human. Oh, what love He showed!

Response: Father God, I give up on understanding your mercy and grace. It’s beyond comprehension. Thank you for loving me despite my sinful bent. Your love is amazing. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

Your Turn: Is rebellion part of your nature? Can we self-correct or do we need God’s help?

Your Law is my Delight

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I will praise Him!

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Hardy pine grows amid rock and snow — photo courtesy of Liz Kranz

י Yodh

Your hands made me and formed me;
    give me understanding to learn your commands.
May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
    for I have put my hope in your word.
I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous,
    and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
May your unfailing love be my comfort,
    according to your promise to your servant.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
    for your law is my delight.
May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;
    but I will meditate on your precepts.
May those who fear you turn to me,
    those who understand your statutes.
May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees,
    that I may not be put to shame.

(Psalm 119:73-80, NIV)

More Precious than Silver and Gold

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I will praise Him!

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April crocus — photo by David Kitz

ט Teth

Do good to your servant
    according to your word, LORD.
Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
    for I trust your commands.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I obey your word.
You are good, and what you do is good;
    teach me your decrees.
Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,
    I keep your precepts with all my heart.
Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,
    but I delight in your law.
It was good for me to be afflicted
    so that I might learn your decrees.
The law from your mouth is more precious to me
    than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

(Psalm 119:65-72, NIV)

Someone Stood Up and Intervened

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Reading:                                     Psalm 106                                                                 

 (Verses 28-39)
They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor
and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods;
they aroused the L
ORD’s anger by their wicked deeds,
and a plague broke out among them.
But Phinehas stood up and intervened,
and the plague was checked.
This was credited to him as righteousness
for endless generations to come.
By the waters of Meribah they angered the L
ORD,
and trouble came to Moses because of them;
for they rebelled against the Spirit of God,
and rash words came from Moses’ lips.
They did not destroy the peoples as the LORD had commanded them,
but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs.
They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them.
They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods.
 They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
and the land was desecrated by their blood.
They defiled themselves by what they did;
by their deeds they prostituted themselves
(NIV).

Reflection
Psalm 106 began with with praise, but in verse three it transitioned to this opening thought, “Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.”

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Setting sun near MacNutt, SK — photo courtesy of Donald Adam

Now there’s a mind-blowing concept. Talk about setting the bar completely out of reach! Nobody—I repeat—nobody always does right and acts justly in every situation. Human fallibility and self-interest dictate to the contrary.

The psalmist then goes on to recount a litany of Israel’s sins. By my estimation there are nine major transgressions outlined in Israel’s history through this psalm. There’s a failure to remember God’s kindness. There’s rebellion, wickedness, idolatry, envy, sensual craving, impatience, ingratitude, unbelief, outright disobedience, bloodshed, human sacrifice and further rebellion.

What is truly remarkable about this psalm is not Israel’s sinful ways; sinful ways are common to all humanity. What is truly mind-boggling is God’s faithfulness and readiness to forgive. He hears us in our distress. He seeks out the lost and wayward. He welcomes back the sin infested prodigals knowing full well where they have been. That’s the wonder of our God. He is always, always, always ready to forgive, when we are ready to admit the error of our ways. Now that’s a reason for praise!

Response: Father God, I acknowledge that my people and my nation have been caught up in sinful ways. Please be merciful to us. We are deserving of your judgment. Forgive us through your son Jesus. Amen.

Your Turn: Like Phinehas are you ready to take a stand against sin in your life and your community?

Do We Remember?

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Reading:                                    Psalm 106                                                          

(Verses 16-27)
In the camp they grew envious of Moses
and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the L
ORD.
The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan;
it buried the company of Abiram.
Fire blazed among their followers; a flame consumed the wicked.
At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal.
They exchanged their glorious God
for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
They forgot the God who saved them,
who had done great things in Egypt,
miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
So he said he would destroy them—
had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him
to keep his wrath from destroying them.
Then they despised the pleasant land;
they did not believe his promise.
They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the L
ORD.
So he swore to them with uplifted hand
that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
make their descendants fall among the nations
and scatter them throughout the lands
(NIV).

Reflection
Annually we pause to commemorate Veterans Day in United States, or Remembrance Day as it is known in Canada. That day was chosen to honor and remember our fallen soldiers because November 11, 1918 marked the end of the First World War. It is fitting that we remember those who sacrificed their lives in the defense of their country and its way of life. To forget them would be a disgrace to them and to the nation. We owe our liberty to these brave men and women. Lest we forget is the oft repeated motto of this day of solemn remembrance.

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Window of Life – photo courtesy of Donald Adam

Today’s reading from Psalm 106 highlights the importance of a nation’s collective memory. Israel was redeemed and set free from slavery in Egypt by the miracle working power of God, yet in a few short years they forgot, or chose to ignore the LORD who rescued them. They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.

There are serious consequences for the nation that forgets, or turns its back on the God who called its people out of darkness. The same is true on a personal level. We need to routinely remind ourselves that Jesus paid the ultimate price to redeem us and make us his very own.

Response: Father God, I thank you for my personal redemption. Lead me in the right path for my life. Guide our nation. May there be a collective turning to you in repentance and faith. Amen.

Your Turn: Is there such a thing as national redemption or salvation, or is it always personal?

The Sin of Forgetting

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                                         Reading: Psalm 106                                                         

(Verses 6-15)
We have sinned, even as our ancestors did;
we have done wrong and acted wickedly.
When our ancestors were in Egypt,
they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
to make his mighty power known.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up;
he led them through the depths as through a desert.
He saved them from the hand of the foe;
from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.
The waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them survived.
Then they believed his promises and sang his praise.
But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
 In the desert they gave in to their craving;
in the wilderness they put God to the test.
 So he gave them what they asked for,
but sent a wasting disease among them
(NIV).

Reflection
Psalm 106 begins with the psalmist pleading for God’s favor. He longs to be included among the blessed, who are saved and numbered among the LORD’s chosen ones. But in today’s reading we discovered the terrible truth. Sinful conduct has been rampant among God’s people; therefore, the psalmist makes this confession. We have sinned, even as our ancestors did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly.

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Bubbling clouds at sunset MacNutt, SK — photo courtesy of Rachael Loewen

As this psalm progresses, the psalmist catalogues an ever growing list of transgressions. But what sets this downward progression into motion is a bout of forgetfulness. The psalmist laments, they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. Later he comments: But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.

Usually we do not consider forgetfulness to be a sin. But there is such a thing as willful forgetfulness. We remember those things we consider important. We forget the trivial—those things we consider of little significance. The redeemed people of Israel experienced the wonder-working power of God, yet they treated these events as though they were of little significance. They failed to grasp the paramount significance of these events and as result they stumbled into grumbling and disobedience. Do we grasp the significance of God’s interaction with us? The great Creator reaches out to us. There’s nothing insignificant in that. These are the high points in our sojourn through this life.

Response: Father God, I want to treasure the experiences I have with you. Each one is significant as you guide me in your way. Help me be attentive to your voice, your word and your Spirit. Amen.

Your Turn: Have you been guilty of forgetting those times when God has spoken to you?