Psalm 116

Vs. 1-11 explain why one should “love the LORD;”

Vs. 12-17 discuss what one can do in response to God’s love;

Vs. 18-19 tell where one should payback their debt.

This Psalm is from an individual soul freed from near death. A “near death experience” means the person stays in “the land of the living” because if they had died, it would be a “resurrection.” The King of Judah, Hezekiah, was spared death by God’s heeding his prayers (2 Kings 20:1-11; Isaiah 38-39), so this easily could have come from him on that occasion. This is a personal Psalm, for “I,” “me,” “my” are used some 34 times.

Verses 1-11: (Verses 1-2) A good listener should be easy to love, for it shows individual interest (God hears “my voice,” “my supplications,” “me”). Family and friends who listen deserve life-long love. (Verses 3-4) Death came so close the Psalmist felt its “pains” (or cords) and knew its “pangs” (or distresses), and “trouble and sorrow.” A “near death” prayer is: “O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!” “Then I called,” but he had worshiped and prayed long before he faced death (2 Chronicles 30:18-20; 31:20-21). (Verse 5) The LORD is “gracious,” “righteous,” “merciful” (Exodus 34:6-7; Psalm 112:4). (Verse 6) The LORD disciplines to produce humility. (Verses 7-8) “Rest” is for a soul blessed by God who is “delivered from:” “death,” “tears,” or “falling.” (Verses 9-10) Such a beloved soul lives “before the LORD” while life remains; speaks faithfully amidst affliction. Psalm 116:10 is quoted by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:13 because hearts are united by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Verse 11) That “all men are liars” cannot be true, for then the person making that statement would not be true. Hence, it is wrong to conclude “all men are liars,” though there may be many who do lie. A person who says anything that contradicts what God has said “is a liar” (1 John 1:10; 2:4, 22; 4:20; 5:10), hence, compared to God, “every man [is] a liar” (Romans 3:4).

Verses 12-17: (Verse 12) Realizing no person can give equally or above what God has given, an honest conscience would ask: What can I pay back to God?  (Verse 13) “The cup of salvation,” under Moses’ Law could be “drink offerings” (Numbers 15:1-13, 5, 7, 10), but under Christ, ourselves (Romans 12:1; Philippians 2:17-18; 2 Timothy 4:6). To “call upon the name of the LORD” means to obey Him. Jesus said the words were not enough (Matthew 7:21-24); Peter included obedience to the Gospel (Acts 2:21-38, 41); and Saul of Tarsus had not “called” on the Damascus’ Road, but in Damascus (Acts 22:16). (Verse 14) God is owed worship, including public worship with others. (Verse 15) To “die in the Lord” (Revelation 14:13) is “precious” because it means: (1) A “saint” has believed to the saving of the soul (Hebrews 10:39); (2) The worldly temptations or afflictions can give no more problems; (3) A “saint” has reached God’s promised “rest” (Hebrews 4:1, 11). (Verse 16) The soul that experiences its obedience to God and His blessing becomes a true disciple (John 7:16-17; 8:28-32; 1 Peter 1:22-2:4). (Verse 17) Every offering a saint may make must include “thanksgiving” (Philippians 4:6).

Verses 18-19: There is no payback we may make equal to God’s gifts, but all who are saved are indebted: “in the presence of all His people,” “in the courts of the LORD’s house,” “in the midst of…Jerusalem.” The Lord’s house, today, is the church of Christ (1 Timothy 3:15), and not bound to a holy city (John 4:21-24; Matthew 28:18-20). Indeed, “Praise the LORD” (Hallelujah!).

Thought: To be “simple” means unschooled, untaught, easily lead, and Solomon equates it with being “foolish, silly,” misled into sin (Proverbs 1:22, 32; 7:7; 8:5; 9:4, 13, 16; 14:15, 18; 19:25; 21:11; 22:3; 27:12). Solomon’s proverbs were to provide “prudence” (judgment) to such people (Proverbs 1:1-4). Psalm 116:6 uses “simple” to refer to someone who has been “brought low” and therefore reduced to life’s basics, thus readied to receive the LORD’s instruction.

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

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