Saturday, July 1, 2017

Psalm 116:10-19 - Great Faith in God

Psalm 116:10-19
10 I believed when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.”
11 I said in my alarm, “All men are liars.”

12 What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me?
13 I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the Lord.
14 I shall pay my vows to the Lord, Oh in the presence of all His people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones.
16 O Lord, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid,
You have loosed my bonds.
17 To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, And call upon the name of the Lord.
18 I shall pay my vows to the Lord, Oh in the presence of all His people,
19 In the courts of the Lord’s house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

Message:  Great Faith in God

Time: Based upon authorship and subject matter, Psalms cover a range of centuries. David is mentioned 73 times, Solomon 2, Moses 1, and 50 designate no specific person. It is believed they were compiled around 537 BC. The psalms deal with such subjects as God and His creation, war, worship, wisdom, sin and evil, judgment, justice, and the coming of the Messiah.

What the Lord is Saying: The Greek Old Testament is also called the Septuagint or LXX. 

Often in life, it is going through a difficult circumstance, a distressing situation, when we are most affected by the love and grace of God. And in this Psalm is that recognition. It is also through the recognition that we are a sinner that we understand how wonderful it is to have our Savior. We find the Lord just and good. We find rest in Him. God has been merciful toward us. We have been rescued today and we are rescued for all tomorrow's. In heaven, we will be completely at rest and able to walk with our Savior. That is the message of the first 9 verses. In those verses there is the sweet recognition of being low, of the mercy and grace of God and our permanent state with God in heaven.

Then in verses 10-19 is living life. How then do we now live?

I am hurting and no man is helping
Verse 10,11 - "I believed when I said, I am greatly afflicted."  I said in my alarm, "all men are liars."

I have stared at these verses for some time. For some reason, as I read them, I struggle with their understanding. What I see in this Psalm is his recognition that God is real through our circumstances. In and of himself, man does not bring the answer to life. 

The Psalmist declares that I said in my alarm so these words were voiced, not in somber reflection, but in boisterous alarm that all men are liars. I think the Psalmist is experiencing a quite revelation that man does not hold the answers to living and the problems of life should move us to him. In his hurt, in his affliction, he turns to believing in God. Men, themselves, are liars. There attempts to unravel and solve life are in vain. He believes God, he is hurting, and his hurt is great, and people are not the answer. I suppose at the moment I can relate.

I think of people I speak to, like Delphina, who had her boyfriend just walk out on her after several years together. She had yielded to this man her body, through sexual intimacy, against her better judgment, and then he had gone after another woman. And in that distress she was deeply afflicted and hurt, feeling like no one will really want her if she does things God's way. And just like the Psalmist, is the reflection that man cannot fix problems of pain. I continue to watch my 16 year old son ignore our direction, our instruction, our rules, and continue to go his own way. Our role as parents seems utterly useless. We don't feel like trying any longer. Lord, we are hurt, afflicted. We believe you O God, but we hurt. It's people that hurt us. People disappoint us. You have created us to be people that value relationships; we need each other, but not to solve life but to live it together, in growing dependence on God.

Paul adapts this statement in 2 Corinthians 4:13 with the words, "But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak." I believe when I said is the idea that I can speak, now, because I believe I can speak and my words are that I am greatly afflicted. He cried out to God because of a real need.

No one like you
What shall I render to the Lord? How could I begin to pay back the Lord for his mercies toward me? For all his benefits toward me? The Psalmist is focused on God, not man. It's not that man is useless here and offers nothing, but it is God that he is focused on, in thanking him for his mercies and love. It is unlike anything that he could receive from man or his fellow men. 

Thankful heart
The Psalmist then references a cup of salvation. It is not clear what this cup is as it is not the Lord's supper but more likely a cup at the end of the meal that he holds and thanks God for his bounty and his love. I shall lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. There is a simple and profound acknowledgement to God that even in the meal that he has provided we can be thankful. His mercies are new, not just every morning, but with every meal that we can take. He uses the meal, at the end, then as a time to thank His God for his mercies. 

There is such a danger in life to always be in want. In these verses, I am seeing the Psalmist turn his attention toward God and seeing God as the answer to his life, his comfort, refuge, and the one that deserves his praise. 

I commit everything to the Lord
In verse 14, he says, I shall pay my vows to the Lord, Oh in the presence of all His people. A vow is a promise someone makes, generally when they are in dire straits, like experience a sickness which they think at the time they will not come out of. It is at this time when we see what matters most -- life. All the fluff of life and all that we think is important, suddenly disappears and for that moment, life is what is most important. We desire to simply continue with life. 

As it says in the verse, a vow is a debt, thus there is a payment that is made. And here in the verse is a willingness to pay, in I shall.  Thus far, in these verses is the assertion that God is all that there is and so he worships God and is giving himself to God. He is doing this in his prayer. Thus, in the presence of all God's people he makes the promise to live his life for God. Isn't this what the baptism is in a person's life? It is testifying of a changed life, but it is doing in, preferably in front of people. It needs to be in front of people. 

Precious to the Lord is death of the His chosen
And just as verse 14 speaks of life, verse 15 speaks of death. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones. It speaks here of the high value the Lord places on the death of those that have been called by Him, His godly ones. Our life is sealed by Him and our death is no different. He takes care of His. As we walk with God in the land of the living (v. 9) we can also walk with Him at the time of death. We can trust him in both circumstances. 

God is there. He is with us in life and in death. He is our God. Verse 16 takes a moment to acknowledge that he is indeed God's servant. O Lord, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid,
You have loosed my bonds.

Promise: I can have faith in God. I can. He continues to show me over and over his faithfulness. He is a God to be praised. 

I believe in You God. I get hurt, but you God are the answer, not man. In You are so many benefits, so I turn to You. I pause, at the dinner table, to call upon Your name. 

I shall pay my vows to the Lord, in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.

O Lord, surely I am They servant, I am Thy servant, the son of Thy handmaid, thou hast loosed my bonds. To Thee I shall offer a sacrifice of thankgiving, and call upon the name of the Lord. 

I shall pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people. In the courts of the Lord's house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem, 'Praise the Lord.'

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