Mighty God, when I think of Your gifts of nature and grace, I gladly and joyfully give praise and thanks to You.
Read PSALM 116:1-19
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Thankfulness is…a resource rather than a burden which can be used by God to enable us to overcome obstacles rather than to be overcome by them” (John R. Claypool).
The main reason psalms are so popular is that they cover the gamut of human emotions and circumstances. This is a psalm of praise for deliverance from death, and a heartfelt response from the psalmist for all God’s goodness to him. “There is an infectious delight and touching gratitude about this psalm, the personal tribute of a man whose prayer has found an overwhelming answer” (Derek Kidner). And he’s come to the Temple to tell everyone what has happened and to honor the vows he made to God at his lowest point (14,18,19).
We don’t know who he is. The language echoes many of David’s psalms and it could have been written by a king, particularly where he refers to himself as “your servant” (16) which could identify him as the Lord’s anointed. He had gone through some desperate times, possibly sickness or depression or deeply wounding circumstances (see v. 11). The early verses speak of being held in a tightening suffocating grip, constrained from movement. His only refuge is the “name of the Lord” (4), spoken as representing the fullness of God’s merciful character. The words are emphatic and the verb indicates the urgency of the prayer, “I kept on calling.”
Desperation had driven him to call on God. How often do we wait until we get to that place before we turn to God, preferring first to try to sort things out ourselves? God’s intervention was far-reaching and brought salvation in all its fullness. He knew that God had heard him (1, 2) which evoked from him a response of love and praise. Thankfulness spills from him. May it spill from us, too, not just occasionally but as a way of life.
What reason(s) have you had recently to thank the Lord? What can you give to the Lord today to express your thanks for all his goodness (see v. 12)?
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever” (Psa. 136:1). Lord, this is my heart’s prayer, too.