Weds 4 May - Psalm 116
1 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
‘Lord, save me!’
5 The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
6 The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
8 For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
10 I trusted in the Lord when I said,
‘I am greatly afflicted’;
11 in my alarm I said,
‘Everyone is a liar.’
12 What shall I return to the Lord
for all his goodness to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will fulfil my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.
16 Truly I am your servant, Lord;
I serve you just as my mother did;
you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will sacrifice a thank-offering to you
and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfil my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord –
in your midst, Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord.
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Meditation on Psalm 116
We are back into the Egyptian Hallel Psalms – 113-118 – which were used at the great religious festivals. Psalms 113-114 would have been sung before the Passover meal; Psalms 115-118 would have been sung after the meal.
‘Hallel’ means praise so ‘hallelu-Yah’ means ‘Praise the Lord.’
This is not only a psalm of praise and thanksgiving. It is a psalm of testimony.
Have you ever been asked to share your testimony? We all have a story to share with others if we know the Lord Jesus as our Saviour.
In 1896 H. Ernest Nichol wrote a hymn which puts the challenge very clearly about sharing our testimony of what the Lord has done for us. He wrote it as a congregational hymn to be sung. Let’s use some poetic licence and personalise it.
‘(We’ve) I’ve a story to tell to the nations that shall turn their hearts to the right,
a story of truth and mercy, a story of peace and light.
For the darkness shall turn to dawning, and the dawning to noonday bright,
and Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth, the kingdom of love and light.’
The last verse starts off ‘(We’ve) I’ve a Saviour to show to the nations, who the path of sorrow hath trod,
that all of the world’s great peoples may come to the truth of God.’
Our psalm is a testimony of the psalmist’s story – ups and downs included.
- Verses 1-6 A GOD WHO LISTENS
Psalm 18 has the same start as this psalm – no other psalms use these words of loyalty as an opening statement.
“I love the LORD.”
What does it mean to love the Lord?
- to praise Him and worship Him
- to put Him first
- to listen to His word as we read our Bibles
- to obey Him.
- to spend time in the company of fellow believers, whether in church or in homes.
Why do we love God?
- He listens to us
- He hears our cry for mercy
- He turns His ear to us
He is a personal God with whom we can walk and talk everywhere we go.
How do we respond?
We will call on Him as long as we live. We have a relationship with Him and we can talk with Him any time of day and night.
Love reaches out to Him in response to His love. As John writes in his first letter, ‘we love because He first loved us.’ (1 John 4:19b)
He is the same when we go through deep waters, when we have painful experiences, when we feel strangled almost to the point of death.
These are real experiences:
- bound and trapped
- in anguish
- overcome by distress
- overcome by sadness
“I called on the name of the LORD.”
‘I longed for salvation.’
How does God respond?
- He protects
- He saves
Why does God respond like that?
- He is gracious
- He is compassionate
- Verses 7-16 A PEOPLE WHO TESTIFY
It’s as if we can go back to those ‘quiet waters’ of Psalm 23:2.
How good has the Lord been to you and me?
- He has delivered us from death
- He has dried our eyes from tears
- He has stopped our feet from stumbling
How do we respond?
‘that I might walk before the LORD.’
How great to be able to trust the LORD as the psalmist did, rather than letting fear come to the surface and we accuse others of being liars. This is a harsh judgment more out of fear than reality although ultimately the truth is found only in Jesus.
We testify through our lives –
- the ‘cup of salvation’ speaks of all that God has blessed us with and it leads us ‘to call on the name of the LORD.’
- the promises we have made to God should be demonstrated among the people of God.
Even in death, we testify to God’s goodness and compassion. As we go into the presence of the Lord, having been loosed from our chains, so we bring Him pleasure – have you ever thought of that. Every time a child of God dies, that passing is precious to God.
Spurgeon tells a lovely story of a Christian named Baxter. His friends came to see him as he lay dying. They asked him, “Dear Mr. Baxter, how are you?”
“Almost well”, he said.
Spurgeon then comments, ‘and so it is. Death cures. It is the best medicine, for they who die are not only almost well but healed for ever.’
Wow – that is something for the Christian to look forward to.
- Verses 17-19 PROMISES TO BE KEPT
The psalmist comes back to what he has already said and is not afraid to make his declaration publicly to the people of God.
- Give thanks. A thank offering is made to God to celebrate the peace we have with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Call on His name – cry out to Him
- Fulfil our promises to the Lord
Lord, help me to give thanks, help me to call out to you, help me to keep my promises to you.
Lord, help me.
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