Tuesday, March 26, 2024

2024.03.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 116:1–9

Read Psalm 116:1–9

Questions from the from the Scripture text: What does the psalmist love (Psalm 116:1)? Why—what two things has He heard?  How does Psalm 116:2a describe this? In what manner will the psalmist’s love respond (verse 2b)? What surrounded the psalmist (Psalm 116:3a) and laid hold of him (verse 3b)? What did he find (verse 3c)? How did he respond (Psalm 116:4a)? What did he call God (verse 4b)? What did he ask Him to do? With information about what (Whom!) does he interrupt his own account in Psalm 116:5? What three attributes does he declare? What does God do (Psalm 116:6a)? For whom? In what condition had the psalmist been (verse 6b)? And what did God do for him? How does the psalmist now describe God (Psalm 116:7a)? Whom does he command to return to rest in Him? What reasoning does he give himself (verse 7b)? What does he pick up describing, again, from Psalm 116:3 (Psalm 116:8a)? From what situation did God deliver him (verse 8a)? From what emotional condition (verse 8b)? From what weakness/inability (verse 8c)? Where is the psalmist, as a result (Psalm 116:9b)? Before Whom will he walk (verse 9a)?

What do we learn from desperate situations? Psalm 116:1–9 prepares us for the opening portion of public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these nine verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that desperate situations train us to live in love with the Lord. 

One great part of loving the Lord (Psalm 116:1) is calling upon His Name our whole life long (Psalm 116:2b). It is hateful to God to pray to another! He listens to us in love (verse 2a), provoking us to love Him back (cf. 1 John 4:19). Prayer is, among other things, worship that revels in fellowship with God.

And for seeing and knowing His love to us, it is important that we not only know the greatness of the God to Whom we come, but also our own lowliness, who are coming to Him. The psalmist calls himself “simple” (Psalm 116:6a) and brought low (verse 6b). Part of prayer is the humility of admitting our weakness and sinfulness. If we do not admit that we are the “simple,” then we will miss out on the hope that verse 6a offers to us in God’s grace and mercy. But, if we know ourselves rightly, we will know that we are exactly the sort of person to whom He is gracious and merciful.

So, we must not miss our opportunities for humility. The psalmist had been given just such an opportunity that he remembers in Psalm 116:3. Not only was the situation mortally desperate (verse 3a–b), but it was beyond his ability to negotiate (“I found trouble,” verse 3c) or emotionally handle (“and sorrow,” verse 3c). When the Lord brings you into such a situation, and you find in yourself such inability and such emotional distress, you have the opportunity to see both Himself and yourself properly. 

The Lord delivers us not only from situations that bring us to an end of ourselves (Psalm 116:8a), but from the anxiety and despair that arises within us (verse 8b), and our inabilities to deal with them (verse 8c). In such situations, not only do we discover ourselves to be “simple” (Psalm 116:6a) and “low” (verse 6b), but we discover Him Who hears us (Psalm 116:4) to be gracious and righteous (Psalm 116:5a) and merciful (verse 5b).

Remembering the Lord’s bountiful dealings with us is important (Psalm 116:7b), because it prompts us to return to Him for our soul’s rest (verse 7a). He gives us both His Word and His previous work to drive us to Himself. We are both to rest in Him Who has dealt bountifully with us (verse 7) and to live out our lives as a life-debt unto Him. Since it is He Who has given us life (Psalm 116:9b), let us live it before Him (verse 9a). That is to say: let us live in dependence upon Him, for His service, and for His glory.

When have you been nearest death? What is the lowest emotional state in which you have found yourself? What situation have you been least able to deal with? For what have you most urgently prayed? How has God dealt with you in all of these situations? What truths about Himself, from His Word, has He shown you in these works? How do you enjoy His love, now, in prayer? How do you express your love to Him? What instruction do you give to your soul? How are you “walking before the Lord” in your life?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we love You, because You have heard our voice and supplications. Because You have inclined Your ear to us, we will call upon You as long as we live. Gracious are You, O Lord, and righteous! You are our own covenant God, and You are full of compassion toward us! We are simple and humble and helpless, but You have saved us and dealt bountifully with us. So, grant unto us now the work of Your Spirit, that by Your grace, our souls may return to You for rest. Grant that whether in our work or in our worship, our entire life would be a walking before You by the grace of Christ, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP116A “How Fervently I Love the LORD” or TPH116A “I Love the LORD, for He Has Heard Our Voice”

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