107. Thanks Be to God Our Savior

Text Information
First Line: Thanks be to God our Savior
Title: Thanks Be to God Our Savior
Versifier: David J. Diephouse (1985)
Meter: 76 76 67 67
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Epiphany & Ministry of Christ; Love: God's Love to Us; Sickness & Health (4 more...)
Copyright: Text and harmonization © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Name: GENEVAN 107
Harmonizer: Dale Grotenhuis (1986)
Meter: 76 76 67 67
Key: c minor
Source: Genevan Psalter, 1551
Copyright: Text and harmonization © 1987, CRC Publications

Text Information:

Praise for God's unfailing deliverance of those who cry to him in the crises of their lives – even when they suffer the just consequences of their sins–and a call to ponder the ways of God.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-3
st. 2 = vv. 4-9
st. 3 = vv. 10-16
st. 4 = vv. 17-22
st. 5 = vv. 23-32
st. 6 = vv. 33-43

Psalm 107 opens Book V of the Psalms in their final arrangement, but its affinities with 105 and 106 suggest that the three once formed a trilogy. Psalm 107 was likely composed by a priest or Levite for liturgical use at the temple. Its date is uncertain, but this interpretation seems probable: having experienced God's mercies anew in the return from Babylonian exile (vv. 2-3), Israel is called to thank the LORD (st. 1) and to meditate on God's compassion toward those who cried out to him during a crisis.

The psalm focuses on four such crises (vv. 4-32). In the first, people are lost in a desert without food or water (vv. 4-9; st. 2), and in the last, they are caught in a perilous storm at sea (vv. 23-32; st. 5). In the second and third, they suffer for their rebellious ways–as captives forced to bitter labor (vv. 10-16; st. 3) and as victims of serious illness (vv. 17-22; st. 4). A supplement (vv. 33-42) recalls how God often sends famine followed by times of plenty, and oppression followed by deliverance–to the joy of the upright and the dismay of the wicked. All these things, says the psalmist, should move the wise and godly to ponder God's mercies (st. 6).

David Diephouse (PHH 62) versified Psalm 107 in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
Thanksgiving for God's aid in times of friendlessness, homelessness, imprisonment, illness, or other crisis in the Christian community.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

GENEVAN 107 first appeared in the 1551 edition of the Genevan Psalter. Dale Grotenhuis (PHH 4) harmonized the tune in 1986. Composed in the Dorian mode this Genevan tune consists of four long lines, each of which has two phrases; lines 1 and 2 share melodic and rhythmic patterns, and lines 3 and 4 also have similar rhythms. Psalm 107 is a joyous song that needs strong organ accompaniment. Signal the internal refrain in the last half of stanzas 2 through 5 ("Bless him, his love proclaim. . .") by changing organ registration or texture.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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