Psalms 116 Soothing a Restless Heart

Psalms 116 Soothing a Restless Heart

We are now zooming in to take a look at a portion of it, Psalm 116. Despite it being a Psalm of Praise & Thanksgiving, it is a hymn that moves from despair to delight in God. Music and hymns have a powerful way of moving our heart and our emotions. This is a hymn to sing to lift up your soul to delight in God when it has been cast down in despair.

It is a Psalm of Thanksgiving generally thought to have been written by David. It is known as a “Paschal Hallel” or “The Egyptian Hallel” as part of the hallel psalms, Psalms 113-118. These Psalms start with “Praise ye the Lord” which is what “hallelujah” means.

These Psalms were sung during the Passover. The Levites would chant these psalms as the Passover Lamb was being slain. It is highly probable that Jesus and his disciples would have chanted this hymn after the Passover meal before the crucifixion before they left the Upper Room.

The Hallel Psalms commemorate Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and our ultimate deliverance from the Great Tribulation. They are sung in a jubilant spirit that this hymn is sung and you can really feel that spirit if you read all 6 Psalms together.

  1. I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.

I love the way this Psalm starts out. I love the LORD. I love Yahweh. What a beautiful and simple way to begin a Psalm. I love Yahweh.

I ran across a beautiful excerpt from a book this week, a journaling excerpt that kind of coincided with this one verse, in a book called, Getting Prepared to Teach, Speak and Write. The author Karen Porter shares a list of 50 reasons why she desires to have an intimate relationship with God. I enjoyed reading this list and thought I would share it with you because it stirs your heart to delight in God.

Reading this list made me think of the reasons why I love God. And I thought it would be neat for us to make our own personal list.

50 Reasons Why I Love the Lord.” So in the very back of your notes tonight you will find a handout, some homework for you to meditate on why you love the Lord. It’s a blank list for you to create and share your own fifty reasons why you love the Lord.

I encourage you to search the Psalms in your devotional time and write out the reasons as they come to you with their verse references as Karen did. You can reference other books of the bible too. My very first reference is from the book of 1st John. 1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

I wrote simply as my first one, “Because He first loved me. – 1 John: 4:19”.

David gives us another reason we can reference in this first verse.

“Because He heard my voice, He heard my cry for mercy. – Psalms 116:1”

You can shorten this to “Because He hears my prayers. – Psalms 116:1”

I love Yahweh because He hears my prayers. David loves the Lord like we do, for a thousand reasons but it’s this one reason David is emphasizing and building a frame around tonight for him and us to focus in on. Simply that we love the LORD because He hears us. He listens to us.

That means a lot. Meditate on this for a moment, how wonderful it is just to have someone who sincerely listens to you. That’s difficult to find in this world. Those who are fortunate have close friends and spouses who listen to them, they ask them how it is going and won’t go away until they receive a genuine answer and they can spot a false reply. They listen to us and hopefully we listen to them in return. We all need to be heard by someone. We all need to be listened to.

Yet many times, we run into times and seasons when there is no one to hear us, no one to hear the thoughts and ramblings of our hearts but God for various reasons. Sometimes there is no one around. Sometimes our thoughts are too heavy for others. Sometimes they are too confusing for us to explain. Sometimes we are beating a dead horse, others have expected us to move on and we just can’t, our hearts are stuck in a rut, paralyzed by a broken relationship, a prodigal son or daughter, work stress, a personal fear, grief, sorrow, anger, hurt, etc… Our friends may be surprised that we are still dealing with that or haven’t moved on.

Sometimes our dearest loved ones and closest friends in their humanity grow weary of listening our same old grievances because they have heard them a thousand times before from us and vise versa. The first few times its fine but when it’s a year later or several years later or even decades later, it gets harder to find someone who will still sympathetically listen to us.

Yet God still encourages us to call upon Him. It doesn’t matter to Him that He has heard our troubles a thousand times before. He’s ready to listen to us a thousand times again because He loves us. He doesn’t close his ears to us. His mind doesn’t drift away from us as we pour out our hearts. He never gets weary of your or my coming to Him. He never fails to make eye contact because it’s me again headed His way. I love the Lord. Instead, He eagerly waits for you and I and wonders why we took so long before coming to Him with our troubles. What a friend we have in Jesus! I love the Lord because He eagerly listens to me.

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalms 62:8

Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

Imagine this if you would. A person comes to you and pours out their heart to you and you attentively listen to them for the first time and afterward they are so thankful and grateful for you taking the time to listen to them that they tell you that for now on they are going to call on you for as long as they live because you listened so well to them. Think about your reaction. You would be running and hiding from that person in the future would you not?

The great thing about the Lord is that unlike humans, He actually encourages us to call upon Him as long as we live. He encourages the beggar who comes to Him once and finds help to come to Him continually. How unimaginable is that? Can you imagine handing someone money downtown Dallas to help them out and then having that person respond to you that they are committed to call on you as long as they live because you turned your hear to them? Can you imagine telling someone, no matter what your response is don’t ever stop knocking on your door, don’t ever stop nagging you?

Philip Henry, after he had been engaged in prayer for two of his children that were dangerously ill, remarked, “If the Lord will be pleased to grant me this my request concerning my children, I will not say, as the beggars at our door used to do, I’ll never ask anything of Him again;” but, on the contrary, “He shall hear oftener from me than ever;” and I will love God the better, and love prayer the better, as long as I live.” – BI, Answers to Prayer Confirm Habits of Prayer

David says, because God turned his ear to him, he will call on him as long as he lives. When others stop listening to us, we basically stop bothering them, we stop calling them. God never stops listening to us. He turns his ears towards us. David says he will call on Him for as long as He lives because God hears his cry for mercy.

This reminds us how far we fall short of being like God and how great God is. We definitely try to imitate God, but in this we can never imitate him. God isn’t like us. His patience is so much greater. His love is so much greater. His heart is so much greater. His resources are so much greater. His strength is so much greater. That is why we seek to help others in our limited ability with our limited means but we point them to God, we don’t seek to make them dependent upon us but upon God Himself.

When others become dependent upon us they drain us, but God Himself can never be drained.

God alone meets the needs in our hearts that we can never meet for others. Often we look to others for our needs that only God can supply.

Others may hear our cries for mercy, for relief, for understanding, for strength, for wisdom, for provision but be completely unable to help us and meet our needs. All others can do sometimes is listen. Not only does God listen to us pour out our hearts, but he is able to meet the needs of our hearts that no one else and nothing else can meet. He gives us strength, He extends us mercy, He gives us relief, He gives us understanding, He gives us wisdom.

David has found a great resource and will call on Him as long as He lives. It makes us wonder why we do not call on the Lord more? Why is prayer so difficult for us when it’s our greatest need and resource? It answers our need to be heard and God provides for us through prayer. Yet God always has rebukes his people because they refuse to call on Him.

His people are known as those who call on the name of the Lord and those who do not call upon the name of the Lord define as evildoers.

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord? – Psalms 14:4

Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms that do not call upon your name! – Psalms 79:6

God’s church is called a House of Prayer. Calling upon God is what we are to be known for. It is what distinguishes us from the world that we are a people who call upon the name of the LORD. We call upon Him for everything, for wisdom, for protection, for guidance, for provision, for healing, for deliverance, for strength, for salvation,….If we are not calling up the Lord, then in all these areas we have forsaken him and dug our own cisterns, our own sources that cannot hold water

It’s a sobering thought that our prayer life reveals how dependent we are on God and reveals those who belong to Him.

3  The snares of death encompassed me;
the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish. (ESV)

3  The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow. (NIV)

The sorrows of death compassed me,

and the pains of hell gat hold upon me:

I found trouble and sorrow. (KJV)

Or trouble and sorrow found me as one footnote says.

Psalms 116:3 echoes very closely with Psalms 18:4-5:

The waves of death engulfed me, the currents of chaos overwhelmed me. The ropes of Sheol tightened around me, the snares of death trapped me.” (Psalms 18:4-5 NET)

In this verse, David speaks of feeling as if the cords of death, the ropes of Sheol, Hades, Hell or the world of the dead have hold on him, are restraining him, and tightening around him. This is highly figurative language to express the deep anguish, distress and danger that David was experiencing. He says “the anguish of the grave came over him”. He was “overcome by distress and sorrow.” Spurgeon says the hounds of hell were on him. They had circled around him and the pains of their teeth had sunk into him.

 What was David going through exactly? We don’t know the exact circumstances. Some believe it was when Saul was pursuing him. David had several crisis in his life and this could refer to any one of them and it could refer to any one of ours.

It’s a time of deep anguish, a time of deep darkness when you don’t understand what is happening and you can’t see into the future. It’s a time of fear. A time of depression. A time of grief. A time of great anxiety. A time when everything is chaotic around you and turbulent like waves and circumstances toss you about and you feel overwhelmed and trapped as if you are in the grip of death. If something doesn’t happen, this is going to undo you.

I think we have all experienced those times in various forms. An illness grabs hold of us. Financial difficulties threaten to sink us. Grief seizes us. Regret confronts us. Sin confronts us. The outward circumstances can take a thousand different forms but the inward state of our heart is the same. One of great turmoil and distress.

Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O LORD; I pray, deliver my soul!” (ESV)

I think the keyword in this verse is, “Then” “Then I called on the name of the LORD” All of this was his state of heart before he called on the name of the LORD, but David called on the name of the LORD and that is when everything changed.

Was he brought to his greatest extremity? Was it his last remedy? His only remedy? Why is it that we often wait so long before we call on the name of the LORD to help us?

“O LORD; I pray, deliver my soul!” NIV translations say, “LORD, save me!” NET version says,
Please LORD, rescue my life!” All are sufficient translations and prayers. Short and direct. However, I prefer the ESV version because it reminds us that our soul needs continual deliverance. We often pray for our circumstances to change and expect the conditions of our heart to change with our circumstances. But it is our heart that needs deliverance despite our circumstances.

“The wise man in the storm prays God not for safety from danger but for deliverance from fear.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

David’s soul, his heart desperately needed deliverance from its afflictions. What is it that your heart needs deliverance from right now? Fear? Depression? Anger? Doubt? Guilt? Anxiety? Shame? Lust? Pride? Grief? Greed? Hatred? Bitterness? What is it that has snared your soul and has caused it to be immovable past this point and will take an act of God for you to escape?

What prevents you from calling on the name of the LORD for deliverance?

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
our God is merciful.

Remember who the Lord is and it will encourage you to pray. He is gracious and he graciously hears our sinners prayers. He graciously listens to our troubles. He graciously bends his ear near to us, to our level. He doesn’t make us contrive of ways to reach his ear in heaven, so we might be heard, he comes to us. He inclines his hear towards us when we incline our hearts toward him because he is gracious. He is righteous and He is merciful towards us.

In verse one David cries for mercy. It is his cry for mercy that the LORD heard and answered that David now praises him for now. Grace is receiving what we do not deserve, unmerited favor. Mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve.

Many times we may be hesitant to come to God because our troubles and sorrows are of our own making. Yet God still encourages the sinner to come and find mercy in our time of need.

The Lord preserves the simple;

We fall into trouble and sorrow for various reasons. Another reason is simply being simple, simpleton, seducible, gullible or unwary.

The ancient Hebrew word for “simple” is PT. If you remember from our study of the early semitic ancient Hebrew alphabet, these two letters were symbolized by an open mouth or a hole and a cross or two crossed sticks, symbolizing a sign, or a “post for hanging a standard”. .

Together these two symbols mean a hole made for inserting something. I found this interesting. Confusing at first but interesting later when I figured out how this fit in with the meaning of simple or gullible. The idea is that those who are simple are open, open-minded to anything, wisdom or folly. Their mind is like an open hole waiting to be filled. In this they are childlike, simple-minded. Being too trusting, they are easily manipulated and led astray.

The Lord preserves the simple. The bible tells us to be sober-minded and watchful because our adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) Paul gives a warning to Timothy regarding the last days when people will be lovers of themselves, having a form of godliness but denying it’s power, who also creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions. (2 Tim. 3:1-6) The book of Proverbs implores those who are simple to get wisdom which is given freely to all those who seek it.

 We are all simple minded in various ways and at various times. The older we get, we are not always the wiser for it, the world only gets craftier in its ways, sin is always deceitful and abounding more around us. It’s hard to keep up. We desperately need wisdom. We are all like sheep surrounded by wolves in this world and it would be a most frightful existence but we know that God preserves the simple. Like the nation Israel, there really is no explanation for our continued presence in this world but that God preserves us.

 One of the primary ways God preserves us is through obeying his word.

             “Let your heart hold fast my words;

                        Keep my commandments, and live.

            Get wisdom; get insight;

                        Do not forget, and do not turn away

                                    From the words of my mouth.

            Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;

                        Love her, and she will guard you.  -Prov. 4:4-7

when I was brought low, he saved me.

God’s method of helping

God’s Thousands of times has this experience of the psalmist been repeated. It is the Divine method. Bring low and then help. Cast down and then lift up. There are some diseases of the human system which the skilful physician thus treats. He begins at once to deplete and bring down the patient, reducing him little by little till the unskilled observer trembles lest life itself will depart. But at the right moment when the disease has been expelled the restoratives are applied, and a new life enters into the system. And there is a rapid and healthy building up. Brought low he has been helped. So in all God’s gracious dealings with human souls, this is His method. Take the process in conversion. First comes the terrible conviction. The soul discovers depth after depth of the evil within it, till it seems as though its condition were absolutely hopeless. And when this process is complete, and the soul is thoroughly cast down, brought low, then the Infinite Helper stretches forth His hand. Then power from on high comes. And thus through all the stages of the Christian life. The soul is brought low, pride is humbled, lofty looks are brought down, and then the help comes. Was is not thus with poor sinning Peter? He had grown self-reliant. He could even boast of his resolution and firmness. But when the trial came he was weaker than weakness itself, and fell; terribly, disgracefully fell. He wept bitterly. But just when the humiliation was complete he was reinstated in his office, and commissioned to feed Christ’s sheep. He was brought low and he was helped. Ask the aged and experienced disciple of to-day how it had been with him in the long years of his pilgrimage. He will tell you that he has many times been laid low, even in the dust, and just then he has been helped. Divine help is neither welcomed nor appreciated till the soul is taught its need of it in the stern school of experience. The process may not be pleasant at the time, but an infallible, Physician superintends it. (Anon.)

This truly is God’s method of helping us. Think of the last time you were brought low. What was it that God saved you from and removed from your life or heart but He first had to bring you low before the extraction?

David knows what it is like to be brought low. We are all brought low from time to time; through various circumstances we are led to the valley. Sometimes it is grief who leads us there. Sometimes it is illness. Sometimes it is stress or failure. Sometimes it is simple depression, disappointment, discouragement. Sometimes it is sin that brings us there. No matter how we arrive in the lowlands, we can be assured that we are being brought closer to God for God is near the lowly and the broken hearted.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psa. 34:18)

Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar. (Psa. 138:6)

 These are often times of tribulation and testing of our love and faith towards God Himself and though we cannot see Him, He is watching us. We know that He always watches us and that we are ever before Him but how much more so when our hearts are being tested by darkness!

Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

Sometimes it’s especially healthy to talk to yourself. David speaks to his own soul here as he did in Psalms 42, when he would question it, “Why are you cast down O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalms 42:5). He preaches to no one but himself and commands his heart to return after it has wandered away from its place of rest as he had previously commanded it to hope in God in Psalms 42.

Something has driven his heart away. So he says, Return! His soul is out of place, out of joint within him. He seeks to bring it back.

It is necessary to command our heart. The world would have us be led by our hearts but God would have us lead our hearts to Him and in his way. Our heart is prone to wander especially when it has been brought low. It wanders from God and seeks rest away from him. Many will seek relief in medication, drinking, bars, drugs, television, internet, shopping, games, other distractions but in all these our soul remains restless until it finds rest in God alone.

            “Our hearts are restless, until they find their rest their rest in you.” – St. Augustine.

Satan would deceive our heart and would cause it become discontent and have it believe there is no rest to be found for in God. Not in this circumstance. Not in this valley. God is not to be found in this darkness, in this circumstance and he would have us restlessly wander from our position of rest in God.

It happens in an instant, that circumstances and thoughts would disturb us like a bird disturbed and frightened from its nest. Like sheep, we are easily scattered. We are easily frightened. But we must speak to our hearts once we realize our error and calm our hearts with God’s own word, commanding them to return to their rest in God, to trust God with our circumstances no matter what they are. To trust God with what we do not understand. To rest in His sovereignty, his goodness, his faithfulness, his presence. The world can be disturbed around us yet we find rest. God would have us rest and not be moved. Remember Psalms 46.

1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

10 Be still, and know that I am God.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28)

Our Shepherd enjoys seeing his sheep at rest. If you remember from Psalms 23. The Good Shepherd goes to great lengths to see that His sheep are able to rest free from all agitation. God goes to great lengths even to us when we are brought low to comfort us when the world cannot comfort us. He would never have us suffer more then what is absolutely necessary and continually whispers to us to rest and be still and know that He is God in the darkest of our circumstances. Hope in Him. Trust in Him. If you know nothing else, if you can understand nothing else, let this be your simple understanding that He is there, he is present, He is good, loving, faithful and trustworthy and righteous in all his ways. In the end that is all we need to know. Our Shepherd is good. The world would paint him black, but we know he is good.

We know He has dealt bountifully with us. David woos his own heart back by reminding his heart of the goodness of God. Has he not dealt bountifully with us? Has He not been abundant and rich in his graces towards us? Count your blessings!

It is like in the garden of Eden, Satan would have you believe that God is holding back something you need. Adam and Eve could eat from all the trees of the garden but the one tree God said not to eat from. God had dealt bountifully with them. If only they would have seen how abundantly God richly gave to them they would not have grown discontent. They would not have believed that God was holding something good back from them.

No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psa. 84:11b)

The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (Psalms 34:10)

This is the deceivers great device, to have us believe, if only for a second so we might act ignorantly, that God has withheld some good from us, He has taken some good from us that we need, that would greatly benefit us and bring us joy. Yet, it is the enemy who comes to kill, steal and destroy.

We must be wise of the serpents devises so he does not devour us with his schemes and cause us to pierce ourselves with sorrow and shame the name of the Lord. The Lord has dealt bountifully with us. He who did not withhold his one and only Son for us, has dealt bountifully with us. A.W. Tozer once said:

Sometimes I go to God and say, “God if Thou dost never answer another prayer while I live on this earth, I will still worship Thee as long as I live and in the ages to come for what Thou has done already.” God’s already put me so far in debt that if I were to live one million millenniums I couldn’t pay Him for what he has done for me.

For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling;

 David once more remembers the works the Lord has done. He continually reminds himself of God’s previous work in the past so that he might hope in his work in the future when he is in the pit.

Having saved us through the cross of Christ. God has delivered our soul from death, from even the fear of death through Jesus.

“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:55-57)

God has kept our feet from stumbling. Most importantly he has kept us stumbling over the greatest stumbling stone of all, the gospel of Christ.

but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, (1 Cor. 1:23)

 But there are lots of other things in this world that cause us to stumble, but God stabilizes us.

though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. – Psalms 37:24

 Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have made firm the feeble knees. (Job:4:4)

Though we have tears now, our tears our temporary. God keeps track of every one of them and promises to

Wipe away every tear from our eye permanently. Don’t you wish you could do that for someone? Guarantee that they will never cry again?

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psa. 56:8)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – (Revelation 21:4)

For now, our tears must be but they will not be forever.

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. … Psalms 30:5

I will walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.

The term “before the Lord” is used 261 times in the bible. David makes a firm resolve, a vow for as long as he walks in the land of the living, he will walk before the Lord. To walk before the Lord means to walk in His sight, in holiness and purity in continual conscious awareness of his presence to please Him. He will not walk in the flesh but in the Spirit.

God sees all our actions. Everything we do, we do before Him; however, many would disregard his presence, openly sinning before Him, instead of keeping his presence foremost in their minds so they would seek to walk in righteousness.

The phrase “land of the living” is used 15x times in the bible predominately in Ezekial and the books of the prophets. It refers to our life. There is Sheol, Hades, the world of the dead, where the pangs of Sheol wrapped around David and there is the land of the living in which we are in.

believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! (Psa. 27:13)

But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah (Psa. 52:5)

 God’s world is a living world. We are so abundantly and bountifully surrounded by life above us in the skies and below is in the seas. Life he created for our enjoyment and pleasure.

10 I believed, even when I spoke:
“I am greatly afflicted”;

David speaks out of his faith in who God is. David expressed faith in God despite his affliction.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. (Psa. 34:19)

David believed God’s promises of deliverance in his affliction and knew that he would once again see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living. David’s soul was able to enter into its rest through faith in God.

Paul quoted this verse in 2 Cor.4:13

13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, (2 Cor.4:13)

It is our belief in God that compels us to speak of our faith.

where there is true faith, and the true Spirit of faith, there will be a speaking of, for, and in the name of Christ, as there ought to be: for as “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, so with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”. This is true of believers in common, sooner or later, at one time or another; but more especially of the ministers of the word, who have a firm and well grounded belief in the doctrines of the Gospel, and person of Christ; and therefore speak freely, and without any doubt and hesitation about these things, boldly, and without the fear of men, and sincerely and faithfully, as in the sight of God: hence they make Christ the main subject of their ministry, because they believe in him, and nothing can stop their mouths from speaking of him; faith, and a spirit of faith, fit for public work and service, and give freedom and boldness in the ministration of the Gospel, and are a great support under persecution for the sake of it. – Gill

11 I said in my alarm,
“All mankind are liars.”

In David’s haste he spoke, of all men being liars. Here we get a hint of what might be behind his depression in this Psalm the betrayal of Saul or of his son Absalom.

Men will and do betray us but God never will.

12 What shall I render to the Lord
for all his benefits to me?

As David contemplates on the goodness of the Lord and how bountifully he has dealt with him, David wonders what he can give the LORD in return.

What can we give the Lord to express our great gratitude for his goodness towards us? What does the Lord want from us?

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord,

This is an offering of praise to the Lord. Verse 17 we find the same parallelism where David says “ I will offer a sacrifice of Thanksgiving and clal on the name of the LORD. According to Poole’s commentary :

The phrase is taken from the common practice of the Jews in their thank-offerings, in which a feast was made of the remainders of the sacrifices, and the offerers, together with the priests, did eat and drink before the Lord, and, amongst other rites, the master of the feast took a cup of wine into his hand, and solemnly blessed God for it, and for the mercy which was then acknowledged, and then gave it to all the guests, who drunk successively of it; see 1Ch 16:2,3; to which custom it is supposed that our blessed Saviour alludes in the institution of the cup, which also is called the cup of blessing, 1Co 10:16, which is in effect the same with the cup of salvation. This metaphor of a cup is used both of afflictions, as Psa 11:6 75:8, and of comforts, as Psa 23:5 Jer 16:7. – Poole

Do you remember in the New Testament in Luke 17 when Jesus healed the 10 lepers, how many men came back to thank him. One out of ten. The ratio still probably holds true. How often do we stop to thank God for all his benefits? How often do we express our gratitude to him and brag about him to others. There is not much that we can give back to God, but gratitude goes a long way and encourages our contentment in Him when we are grateful for what we have and not grumbling about what we do not have.

Lifting up the cup of salvation is a bit like offering a toast to the Lord for his wonderful works. All throughout the Psalms it encourages us to tell of the wonderful works of the Lord. We are to share our stories of deliverance so others can rejoice and the next generation can know him. Telling others about what God has done in our lives is like bragging on God, praising God publically for all he has done for you and I.

14 I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.

We may be hesitant to make a vow to the Lord.

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. (Ecc. 5:4)

37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. (Matt 5:37)

But what David refers to here is making a commitment to do what the Lord wills. He is not bargaining. He is resolving his heart to obey God.

He is resolving to walk before the Lord and to be blameless.

He is resolving to express thankfulness to the Lord.

He is resolving to be resolved in his resolutions to the Lord.

It is us purposing our hearts to love others, to not sin, to read God’s word, to keep our marriage covenant. These are holy vows and in align with God’s own will.

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his saints.

This is a favorite verse of funerals and we could spend a whole lesson on this one verse. I am unable to do it justice. The essence of this verse is that the death of God’s saints, when they exit from the land of the living, is precious to the Lord. It’s valuable, it’s costly to the Lord. It means a great deal to Him when one of the saints breaths their last.

We may think that it means nothing at all to God, He sees it all the time but God feels the weight of death. It means a great deal to him, whenever one of his own children die from this world. He cares. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without his noticing how much more so one of his own children?

Death is unnatural. Sin is the reason that we die. One pastor so aptly said and I summarize:

Death is not biological it is theological. It is an appointed unto man once to die. Death is an appointment on our calendar that has been set by God. We do not determine when we die as Revelation points out by stating in the end some men will seek death and will not be able to find it. It is because God has not appointed it to them yet. Death is theological and not biological. Death is something we have earned. The wages of sin is death.”

 You and I are appointed to die one day because we have sinned. But thanks be to Jesus who rescued us from the snares of death and the pains of hell which had hold of us. We suffered anguish and distress but when we called on the name of the Lord to deliver our soul, he answered us and delivered us from hell and because he delivered us we will now call on Him as long we live. The Lord is gracious and righteous and merciful is he not? The Lord has dealt bountifully with me. I love the Lord!

“What makes hell so hellish is not the absence of God but the presence of God without mercy.”

 16 O Lord, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
You have loosed my bonds.

David called himself God’s servant. He is at God’s service. His life purpose was to serve God. He was the son of a maidservant. His mother served the Lord and committed him to the Lord.

We too are God’s servant. Paul would call himself the bondservant of Jesus. God has loosened our bonds to affliction and sin so that we might serve Him while we walk in the land of living.

He brought them out of the utter darkness, and tore off their shackles Psalms 107:14

17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,

 This is a repeat of verses 13 & 14 in the Psalm. A repetition for emphasis.

19 in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.

Verse 19 is added to the repetition. Where is David going to serve the LORD? In the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst O Jerusalem. David would praise the Lord not only privately but also publically in the midst of the city for all to see and hear.

Praise the Lord!