Psalm 116 (Part 3)

Psalm 116 I. This is a psalm of thanksgiving to God for answers to prayers for help and deliverance. II. This psalm does not bear the subheading, “A Psalm of David” seen in many other psalms. A. Not all of David's psalms have that subheading. PSA 2:1 c/w ACT 4:25; HEB 4:7 c/w PSA 95:7. B. The psalmist here describes himself to God as “...the son of thine handmaid...” (v. 16), a term which only refers to David's mother in the psalms. PSA 86:16. C. This psalm well fits David's experience. III. At the very least, this Psalm is instructive for our hope. ROM 15:4. vs. 1-4. A. Compare v. 1 with PSA 18:1-3. 1. Answered prayers are a very good reason to love God. 2. Mind that the LORD heard his voice; this was not a secret internal prayer. 3. Mind also that this is a reciprocal love that the psalmist has for God (v. 1); he loves God BECAUSE God heard his pleas. c/w 1JO 4:19. a. Men may know of God from observation and deduction. ROM 1:20-21. b. But men can only love God because of a revelation of His love for them and His Fatherly care of them. 1JO 4:9-10. B. He had obviously been in great distress. v. 3. 1. The sorrows of death and the pains of hell were his experience. c/w PSA 18:4-5. 2. Hell being a place of darkness, torment and separation from God, it can be experienced in the soul without actually going there. At such time, pray! JON 2:2. 3. Thus, Jesus Christ suffered hell in His soul BEFORE He died; His death was the end of His soul's sufferings. ACT 2:27; LUK 23:43. C. He thus called upon the name of the LORD to deliver his soul. v. 4. 1. A wise choice: there is salvation in no other name. ACT 4:12. 2. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. ROM 10:13. 3. In answer, God had delivered his soul from the lowest hell. c/w PSA 86:13. D. The boon granted, he resolves to call upon God as long as he lives (v. 2). Answered prayers should encourage us to continued prayers. COL 4:2. vs. 5-6. A. The LORD is a righteous God, a righteous Judge (2TI 4:8). How ever could we serve Him or stand before Him were it not that He was also gracious and merciful?! PSA 103:8-14. B. simple: Free from duplicity, dissimulation, or guile, innocent and harmless; undesigning, honest, open, straightforward. 2. Free from pride,...humble. 1. God gives grace to such. JAM 4:6. 2. The psalmist “...was brought low.” This can happen from oppressive circumstances or by a work of God to save us from self-exaltation. PSA 107:39 c/w 2CO 12:7. 3. In his lowness, he slipped into dark assumptions about everyone. v. 11. a. Depression can easily breed evil surmising, blanket condemnation, paranoia and false accusation. b. Let not the dark deeds of some color our view of all. c. Let us embrace the order of JAM 1:19. C. The psalmist was brought low and God helped him. He is a “...very present help in trouble” (PSA 46:1). c/w HEB 4:16. D. The psalmist is here praising God for His help, an appropriate response in consideration of all that God has done to help, visibly and invisibly. PSA 28:7; 1SAM 7:12. vs. 7-8. A. The psalmist here converses with his own soul, commanding it to return to its rest. c/w PSA 42:5. 1. Rational faith which knows God, His promises and His doings must order the soul accordingly. PSA 42:11; 43:5. 2. Has not God dealt bountifully with our soul? Then command the soul to remember the same. PSA 103:2. 3. Those who come to Christ to bear His yoke and learn of Him find the greatest bounty and rest for their souls. MAT 11:28-30; 2CO 1:4-5. B. The bountiful dealings which should reorient his soul are God's manifold deliverances. v. 8. 1. This verse answers the plea of PSA 56:13. 2. Salvation is not limited to that of the soul from death, but also from grief and falling. c/w PSA 44:4; 94:18. 3. Christ's gospel is especially for the deliverance of the brokenhearted. ISA 61:1-3. a. There is comfort for the mourning soul. MAT 5:4. b. He promises fountains of living water where God wipes away tears. REV 7:17. 4. He is able to keep the believer from falling (JUDE 1:24): a. from the truth about salvation by grace and from falling back into old errors. GAL 5:4; 4:8-9. b. into the condemnation, reproach and snare of the devil. 1TI 3:6-7. c. into temptation and a snare. 1TI 6:9. d. after bad examples of unbelief. HEB 4:11. e. from stedfastness. 2PE 3:17. f. because He “ able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (EPH 3:20). vs. 9-11. A. Having stabilized his soul with the knowledge of past deliverances, David expects to experience further deliverance. 1. This land of the living stands in contrast to “...the land of darkness and the shadow of death...” (JOB 10:21-22). 2. Faith remembers what God has already shown Himself able to do on behalf of His people and thus makes its soul rest in hope. ct/w PSA 78:42. 3. By this, we are weaned from reliance upon self. 2CO 1:8-10. 4. The lack of such faith will make us faint (lose heart or courage, be afraid, become depressed, give way, flag). PSA 27:13-14. B. Mind that the Psalmist not only claims a promise of life, but also resolves to walk before the LORD. c/w GEN 17:1; COL 1:10. 1. God's deliverances are not to facilitate the exploiting of the flesh! ROM 6:1-2; GAL 5:13. 2. We are specifically warned about the judgments of God against such. JUDE 1:5. C. Jesus Christ was “...cut off out of the land of the living...” (ISA 53:8). 1. David's claim of faith was that he should not see death. 2. Christ's claim of faith was that He should see death yet live again. JOH 2:19-21. D. Mind that there is a land of the living for the believer after death. HEB 12:22. 1. That land is more real than this one! HEB 9:24. 2. Paul claims the spirit of faith of PSA 116:10 and applies it to the heavenly land of the living as a hope in the face of the troubles of this world. 2CO 4:13-5:4. E. Two seasons of speech are here juxtaposed. 1. In v. 10, David spoke according to faith. 2. Before he ordered his soul according to faith, he spoke in haste. v. 11. 3. It is for the lack of faith that we jump to hasty, doleful conclusions about the troubles and perils we face. PSA 31:22-24. 4. This same haste makes us conclude evil about everyone else, which tends to make others distance themselves from us, which leads to unnecessary isolation and lack of peace and joy. a. Mind that a believer's joy cannot be taken from him (JOH 16:22); it must be surrendered! b. Being without true joy is being without true strength. NEH 8:10. c. Faith expects tribulation in this world but doesn't let it destroy oneself. JOH 16:33 c/w 1JO 5:4. vs. 12-19. A. The Psalmist had experienced great deliverance, even from death (v. 8) and therefore considers an appropriate response to God. v. 12. 1. The rest of the Psalm is his resolve of rendering thanksgiving. 2. He focuses not only on the recent benefit received but “...all his benefits towards me.” We do well to call to mind that we are the recipients of daily benefits beyond measure. PSA 68:19. 3. Considering what Jesus Christ has done for us in making us “...partakers of the benefit...” (1TI 6:2), rendering our bodies as living sacrifices to God would be very appropriate. ROM 12:1; 2CO 8:5. 4. His benefits are not only deliverance from death and hell but also “...all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2PE 1:3). 5. He resolves to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving (v. 17), and we should do likewise. HEB 13:15. 6. It is a thankless people that are turned over to judgment. ROM 1:21. B. Mind how the Psalmist emphasizes his resolve to publicly pay his thankful vows to God. vs. 14, 18-19. 1. What he would do would not be done in a corner; he would own God openly. PSA 40:9-10; LUK 8:39; ROM 1:16. 2. It was prophesied of Christ, “ the midst of the congregation will I praise thee” (PSA 22:22). HEB 2:12 c/w MAT 26:30. 3. Mind also here his fidelity in paying vows promised to God. c/w ECC 5:4-5. C. He resolves to “...take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD” (v. 13). 1. Here is an expression of willingness to render thanks to God by partaking of that which represents God's salvation. 2. “Cup” is associated with Passover (MAT 26:27) which was certainly a memorial of deliverance from death. EXO 12:14. 3. God forbid that we should be reluctant to thankfully commemorate Christ our passover sacrificed for us. 1CO 5:7-8. D. The Psalmist notes that God holds precious the death of his saints. v. 15. 1. The poor and needy are told that their blood is precious in God's sight. PSA 72:13-14. 2. Precious also is the death of his saints: precious enough that the blood of all the righteous shed upon earth would be brought to bear upon the wicked Jews of Christ's day. MAT 23:35. 3. It is interesting that when Stephen was slain for his faith, he saw Christ standing on the right hand of God, not sitting. ACT 7:55. a. Christ's normal posture in glory is sitting. HEB 10:12; COL 3:1. b. It is as if Christ rose to cheer on His saint to the finish line, rose to receive him. E. Mind how he also thankfully emphasizes that he is but God's lowly servant. v. 16 c/w GEN 32:10. 1. Regardless of benefits received or service rendered, we do well to remember that we were made to serve God, not to be served by Him. LUK 17:7-10. 2. Our service is a reasonable one. MIC 6:6-8; ROM 12:1. 3. It is a service that is always ours to render. LUK 1:74-75; REV 7:15. F. The Psalmist declares that “...will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD” (v. 17). 1. There were required thank-offerings under the Law (LEV 7:11-12; 22:29) but this seems to be rather a free, willing sacrifice of thanks and those are the best. 2CO 8:2-5; 9:7. 2. Mind how often Jesus publicly offered words of thanks to God for things: a. for His Father's hiding of truth from the wise and prudent. MAT 11:25. b. at the breaking of the loaves for the multitude. MAT 15:36. c. at the resurrection of Lazarus. JOH 11:41. d. at the supper of His impending death. LUK 22:17. G. The Psalmist would render his thankful praise and vows “ the courts of the LORD's house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem...” (v. 19). c/w PSA 100:4. 1. He was not of the mind that genuine worship of God can ignore His house. 2. The church is God's house built expressly for His praise and its assembly should not be discounted lightly. EPH 3:21; HEB 2:12; 10:25.
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