The Psalms

Psalm 116 “I believed, therefore I spoke.”

The psalmist loves the LORD because He answers prayer (v. 1). The LORD has not changed-He still answers prayer. Do we love Him because we know He answers our prayers? When once one knows this truth one will go back to Him forever (v. 2). This comes home right quick to the soul who finds Him to be the great deliverer from death itself (vv. 3-4, 8a). It is a love which springs from the soul that knows the grace and mercy of the covenant making and covenant keeping LORD (v. 5). It is not mere sentimentality. He remains righteous altogether, and this is why grace and mercy are required. It is real. He is the hope of those who know they have been brought low, for He preserves and provides everlasting rest (vv. 6-7). Bountiful are His many blessings, but most bountiful of all is His grace and mercy.

The LORD answers prayer when one faces the blunt force trauma of one’s end, and the soul finds its deliverance. The LORD answers prayer in those times when all one has is eyes filled with tears. The LORD answers prayer when every movement threatens to be our last. “For You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” (v. 8) Far from falling He enables us to not just walk, but to walk with Him, and not just in the sweet by and by, but in the reality of the here and now. “I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.” (v. 9) Grace and mercy make this possible. It is grace and mercy alone which takes us from hiding from God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, to walking with and before Him in all that this life entails, and it is a walk of victory (Gen. 3:8-10, 15; Rom. 16:20).

“I believed, therefore I spoke.” (v. 10a) All of scripture is inspired of course, but some portions say much in few words, and this portion says a lot. What is the ‘therefore’ there for? Well, for one thing, one can’t say they believe and not speak! To say one believes without speaking, falls short of true confession. Paul elaborated on this further. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Note, Paul does not say if you feel in your heart but if, “you believe in your heart,” for as a man “thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7a) Further, it is very important that one knows what they believe before they speak. Again, Paul quoting this verse says, “we also believe and therefore speak.” (II Cor. 4:13)

What was it that Paul had in view in this believing and speaking? “Knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” (II Cor. 4:14-15) Herein Paul gives us a summary update of Psalm 116. The whole psalm gives glory to the LORD as gracious, righteous, and merciful (v. 5). Paul wrote that this righteousness is that of the risen Lord, sent by God out of mercy and grace, because we are brought low and fall short (v. 6). Finally, we must say that one must believe before one prays. The entire psalm is a prayer to God, and without believing, this prayer is useless. However, if we believe then we must pray.

Prayer often springs from the pressing need to seek help because of our enemies. Let all men be liars, but the Lord is truth itself (v. 11 Cf. Jn. 14:6; Rom. 3:4). Verse 12 is rhetorical of course, for there is nothing that we can render to the LORD that would somehow pay for all His benefits, especially of “the cup of salvation.” (vv. 12-13) However, in response to these, we do offer up our vows, and so we make our confession “in the presence of all His people.” (vv. 14, 18). Death is not the end, for of this salvation Christ in His death and resurrection has conquered death for His own (v. 15 Cf. I Cor. 15:20-26; Heb. 2:14-15; Rev. 14:13). The saints go from being slaves of sin to servants of the LORD (v. 16 Cf. Ps. 119:125). For this reason we offer thanksgiving and “call upon the name of the LORD,” “in the courts of His house.” (vv. 17, 19 Cf. Lev. 7:12; Pss. 50:14; 96:8; 107:22)

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