Psalm 107 is a passage of thanksgiving for redemption. There is no real parallel concept in Hebrew to our English word thanks or thanksgiving.
The word often translated give thanks means literally, “to make known publicly,” and to acknowledge. It is a public confession of God’s character and works (Psalm 107:1-3).
Thanks is all we can give him, Charles H. Spurgeon said, and it is the least we can give him.
Then in a series of vivid images, the psalmist contrasts the lost state with the release that redemption brings (Psalm 107:4-32). Everyone needs redemption.
Wanderers, who have seemed to lack direction in life need redemption (Psalm 107:4-9). Jesus redeems wanderers and gives them a direction and points them the right direction, even if it takes doing it over and over again.
Prisoners need redemption (Psalm 107:10-16). Those who are in bondage to sin, in bondage to materialism, in bondage to substances, Christ redeems prisoners and makes them free.
Fools need redemption (Psalm 107:17-22). Jesus specializes in redeeming fools. We all have been foolish at one time or another. What joy to know that Jesus redeems fools and replaces our foolishness with His wisdom.
Successful people need redemption. The text here refers to businessmen and world travelers (Psalm 107:23-32), but those who traveled to do business in that day made huge sums of money to justify the risk of travel on the unpredictable Mediterranean seas. God redeems us from our wealth and self-satisfaction. Instead he provides the efficient and sufficient payment of his blood, which brings reconciliation so great that the Lord does not even bother to account for the sin. He marks the transaction paid (2 Cor 5:15-21).
How do we know the Lord can redeem us? Because one Day the Lord will redeem all the earth. The earth has been burdened under the scourge of sin, but redemption will be for all the cosmos at the culmination of all things (Rom 8:19-21). Exercising His power over nature, God will remake our barren earth (Psalm 107:33-38) and create a New Heaven and a New Earth (Rev. 21). If he can revitalize the entire cosmos, then he can revitalize our barren lives (Psalm 107:39-43). He will lift the needy out of their affliction and increase their families like flocks. And they will acknowledge the Lord’s goodness publicly, thereby giving thanks to him for all he is and all he has done.
Whoever is wise will pay attention and consider the great lovingkindness of the Lord (Psalm 107:43).