Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say What Exactly?

Some verses from the Bible are so embedded in our collective conscience that they take on a meaning of their own — often quite different from the meaning the original author intended.  And sometimes the solution to properly understanding a text is as simple as looking closely at the context.

Such is the case with Psalm 107:2 –

“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary”

This is a favorite verse of preachers who are looking to garner feedback from the congregation.  The assumption is that this verse is a complete thought that serves as a directive to the redeemed to say that they are indeed redeemed.  Are you redeemed?  Yes?  Well then, say so!

But the simple fact is that even the most basic exegesis and contextual interpretation leads to a completely different — and more important — conclusion.  Here’s what the text actually says —

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
            For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
            Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary

 And gathered from the lands,
            From the east and from the west,
            From the north and from the south.

  They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region;
            They did not find a way to an inhabited city.

     They were hungry and thirsty;
            Their soul fainted within them.

     Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;
            He delivered them out of their distresses.

     He led them also by a straight way,
            To go to an inhabited city.

     Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
            And for His wonders to the sons of men!  (Psalm 107:1-8)

So, based on the context, what exactly are the redeemed instructed to say?  That the Lord is good and that His lovingkindness is everlasting.

And what’s the evidence that this is true? He gathered His own — His redeemed — from from all corners of the world, delivering them from the hand of their enemy.

In the historic context, this has to do with God delivering Israel out of Egypt.  For 40 years they wandered in the wilderness, hungry and thirsty.  They cried to the Lord and He delivered them.  He led them to the Promised Land and ultimately to Jerusalem, the place where He placed His name.

So what is the proper reaction?  They should thank the Lord for His lovingkindness and for His wonders to the sons of men.  (That phrase is repeated in verses 15, 21, and 31.)

The Psalm concludes with these words —

Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things,
            And consider the lovingkindnesses of the LORD. (Psalm 107:43)

From start to finish, the theme of this Psalm is God’s goodness and  lovingkindness.  That’s what the redeemed of the Lord are supposed to announce.  This Psalm is not advancing a form of self-assurance or confident boasting in our redemption.  It is meant to be a reminder of the various ways that God delivered Israel.  He is to be glorified for His goodness and His merciful work.  The emphasis is on Him, not on the redeemed.  The redeemed’s only participation in this whole historical account of God’s redemptive work is to admit to His goodness.

And THAT’s what the redeemed are to “say so.”

12 thoughts on “Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say What Exactly?

  1. Rita Rocheleau

    Thanks Jim for always pointing out how good and kind God is! He’s to be exalted and praised. It’s all about Him!

  2. Nila Haug

    Thank you for pointing out a most important aspect of this scripture – our say so is about God’s goodness to us and not about us.

  3. okpala precious

    Jesus is the centre of it all, we are His workmanship and we are meant to show forth Glory. The moment a believer gets this understanding freedom sets in .

  4. Benny

    Hi I whole heartedly agree my brother. But in the same vein in thanking God for his goodness the psalmist is saying that the redeemed should say so should express with the mouth about something in this case the goodness of God the subject to the object is the redeemed God didnt redeem in a vacuum he redeemed his people and in turn the redeemed people are to say something saying something in form of a praise God is good God redeems And we are to say it

    1. Wilisha

      YES!!! Based on exactly what you said I feel like we have used this verse correctly. We have MUCH to say (individually and corporately) about the GOODNESS of our God and Redeemer and this verse is a GREAT reminder that we ALL should ‘say something…!’

  5. Ron Brown

    Your explanation is a little too sterile. Sure we should acknowledge that God is good in a general sense. It’s like saying my wife is generally good. How about a specific reason please? The psalmist gives some specifics and so should we. He has pulled us out of the mirey clay and set our feet on the rock.

    1. George Amfo-Antiri

      Wonderful. God redeemed His people who had been in servitude for over 400 years and therefore had to announce such a great deliverance to all the earth.
      I agree Ron

  6. Stacy Ford

    Today it came to my mind, not being a bible scholar by any stretch, but in my thoughts and in prayer, I thought “Let the redeemed of the Lord say” meant, open your mouth with confidence and be openly accounted as redeemed. Make confession with gratitude and much thanksgiving. Forty years was the forty years because of what came protruding out of the mouth, which was murmurings and complaints. I humbly stand corrected if this observation is far from what the scripture intended.

    1. Nina T

      I agree with you, Stacy Ford. I also believe it is instructing us to give our personal testimonies ABOUT His goodness, faithfulness, and loving-kindness to those who are struggling. To let them know to cry out to God because He will answer when they call – and we are proof that He can be counted on no matter how bleak things look.
      Just saying “God is good and loving” would sound pretty dry and empty to a person in the midst of hardship. Sharing personal testimonies of His redemption, healing, and provision in your own life would be much more helpful. Personal testimonies point directly to God and show His character, His ability, and His heart.
      Just my thoughts.


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