LEANING ON GOD
Lord, thank You for hearing our voice.
Read PSALMS 116 AND 117
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 fulfill 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 fulfill 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.[a]
1 Praise the Lord, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.
2 For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord.[b]
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.’ (Deut 32:4)
Psalm 116 is the heartfelt tribute of someone whose prayer has been answered and who has now come to the temple to declare it publicly and fulfill his vows to God (D Kidner, Psalms 73-150, IVP, 1975, p407). The psalm prompts two questions. First, what should we do in times of distress and sorrow? The answer is to call on the name of the Lord (2,4). To call on the name of someone is to invoke the whole person, to appeal to the person’s character and resources. The psalmist calls on God because God listens and because God is compassionate and able to deliver.
The second question is, ‘How can we repay God for all His goodness to us?’ The psalmist proclaims God’s goodness publicly in the temple and fulfills the pledges he made earlier (presumably while he was still in distress). It is appropriate to give thanks to God in response to His goodness. In Luke 17:11–19, we read that only one out of ten lepers who were healed came back to Jesus to express his gratitude. Paul practiced thanksgiving and urged his audience to do so too (See Eph 5:20; Phil 4:6; 1 Thess 5:18).
Although Psalm 117 is very brief, its call to honor God is far-reaching, summoning the entire world to praise Him. The basis for this global call to worship the Lord is His great love and everlasting faithfulness. The Hebrew word translated as ‘love’ is extremely rich, denoting lovingkindness, loyalty to covenant obligations, and steadfast love. God’s other quality, ‘faithfulness’, refers to firmness or certainty. God is wholly dependable. Even if we are faithless, He remains faithful because He cannot deny who He is (2 Tim 2:13).
When you call on God, do you believe that He listens and is compassionate, dependable, and good to you? When He answers, do you testify about it and give thanks?
Lord, we Your servants believe that our eventual death is precious in Your sight because then we whom You have purchased will be with You forever.