The Redeemed

What does it mean to be redeemed?

When you study the roots of the word you will find phrases like “buy back,” “win back,” and “to free from captivity by payment of ransom.” This last definition gets to the heart of the matter in a theological sense. Your very soul was freed when Jesus paid a ransom for it on the cross. YOU are one of the redeemed.

In our Psalm today, we receive instructions on what the redeemed should do. This is a terrific reminder in this season of Lent when we are trying to be more disciplined in spiritual matters. How do you measure up?

Here is what the psalmist suggests:

Give thanks to the Lord,

Say that his faithful love lasts forever,

Cry out to the Lord in your distress,

Offer thanksgiving sacrifices,

Declare what God has done,

Sing songs of joy!

Psalm 107 (Common English Bible)

“Give thanks to the Lord because he is good,
        because his faithful love lasts forever!”
That’s what those who are redeemed by the Lord say,
    the ones God redeemed from the power of their enemies,
    the ones God gathered from various countries,
    from east and west, north and south.

Some of the redeemed were fools because of their sinful ways.
    They suffered because of their wickedness.
18 They had absolutely no appetite for food;
    they had arrived at death’s gates.
19 So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,
    and God saved them from their desperate circumstances.
20 God gave the order and healed them;
    he rescued them from their pit.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love
    and his wondrous works for all people.
22 Let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices
    and declare what God has done in songs of joy!

This psalm was written during the time when God redeemed the nation of Israel from captivity in Babylon. They had cried out and were heard. They suffered because of their wickedness and were delivered. They were sick to death and were healed of their desperate circumstances. God redeemed his people.

Our challenge today is to choose one of the things that the redeemed do, and go out and do it. Can you offer a thanksgiving sacrifice by paying for someone’s order in the line behind you? Can you call or text a friend and remind them of God’s faithful love? Perhaps you might sing a song of joy to the Lord today as you take a walk or spend extra time in prayer offering nothing but thanks.

We are the redeemed. We are his people. We are bought and paid for by the shed blood of the atonement. Give thanks!

Let all the redeemed say so.

Waiting for Sunrise by Michelle Robertson

Don’t Let Go

Can you name a time when you cried out to God and knew that he answered you? Sometimes that answer comes right away. Sometimes it comes after a period of time. Sometimes YOU have to make a change before the answer is revealed. But every time God DOES answer.

In the last seven months I have found myself waking up at 4:00 AM with a burden to pray. In the black of the night I have lifted up a young man whom I love and admire and have prayed for God to answer his situation. This week the answer came. I give thanks to God with all my heart for this. Not only is that situation resolved, but I finally may sleep through the night!

Psalm 138 (Common English Bible)

I give thanks to you with all my heart, Lord.
    I sing your praise before all other gods.
I bow toward your holy temple
    and thank your name
    for your loyal love and faithfulness
        because you have made your name and word
        greater than everything else.

When is the last time you cried out to God?

On the day I cried out, you answered me.
    You encouraged me with inner strength.

I realize now that when the answer wasn’t given right way, God was encouraging both of us with his inner strength. The young man whom I love and admire had to keep trying and I had to keep praying.

Let all the earth’s rulers give thanks to you, Lord,
    when they hear what you say.
Let them sing about the Lord’s ways
    because the Lord’s glory is so great!
Even though the Lord is high,
    he can still see the lowly,
    but God keeps his distance from the arrogant.

Here the Psalmist takes a step away from his own rejoicing and looks at the world around him. This is interesting to consider in the midst of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. We are about to elect a leader. The world’s leaders are watching. It is amazing to think what would happen if all the earth’s rulers would hear what God says and give thanks to him.

But then the warning comes…God keeps his distance from the arrogant. How many world leaders do you suppose that leaves out?

Whenever I am in deep trouble,
    you make me live again;
    you send your power against my enemies’ wrath;
    you save me with your strong hand.
The Lord will do all this for my sake.

Are you in deep trouble? Are we in deep trouble? Is the world in deep trouble? Take heart. God will make us live again. God sends his power to fight everything that assaults us, including bad politics and a deadly virus. God will save us with his strong hand.

Your faithful love lasts forever, Lord!
    Don’t let go of what your hands
    have made.

Yes, Lord. Please don’t EVER let go of what your hands have made! We need you to never let go of us.

What God’s Hands Made by Bonnie Bennett


Have you ever had a time in your life when you really, really needed someone to just listen to you? As in REALLY listen, not just nod their head waiting for their turn to speak. Deep listening is an ability that some people never fully achieve in their lifetime. Maybe you know someone like that. Maybe you married someone like that.

The gift of having someone deep-listen to your heart is an amazing catharsis and a healing balm. Sometimes just being HEARD is therapy enough, even without the other person saying a single word. Your heart takes a deep cleansing breath with each word, and exhales frustration, sadness, angst, and heaviness with each syllable.

If you have someone who can listen to you like that, thank them for the blessing they give you.

If you can be someone who can listen to others like that, use your gift in God’s service. You are a blessing.

Psalm 68 (Common English Bible)

Lord, listen closely to me and answer me,
    because I am poor and in need.
Guard my life because I am faithful.
    Save your servant who trusts in you—you! My God!
Have mercy on me, Lord,
    because I cry out to you all day long.
Make your servant’s life happy again
    because, my Lord, I offer my life to you,
    because, my Lord, you are good and forgiving,
    full of faithful love for all those who cry out to you.

Nobody can listen to you the way that God can listen to you. God’s word assures us that when we cry out to him, he listens closely.

Listen closely to my prayer, Lord;
    pay close attention to the sound of my requests for mercy.
Whenever I am in trouble, I cry out to you,
    because you will answer me.

Are you in trouble? Cry out to your Heavenly Father. Nothing can compare to his works.

My Lord! There is no one like you among the gods!
    There is nothing that can compare to your works!
All the nations that you’ve made will come
        and bow down before you, Lord;
    they will glorify your name,
10     because you are awesome
    and a wonder-worker.
        You are God. Just you.

God is a wonder-worker. God is YOUR wonder-worker. Need someone to listen? Just talk.

Lightening in the Cloud By Michelle Robertson