Tuesday, December 26
“Return to Your Rest…”
1 I love the LORD, because He has heard My voice and my supplications.
2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.
3 The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called upon the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!"
5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful.
6 The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.
7 Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
8 For You have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling.
9 I will walk before the LORD In the land of the living.
10 I believed, therefore I spoke, "I am greatly afflicted."
11 I said in my haste, "All men are liars."
I trust you had a very Merry Christmas and a great time of worship with family and friends at one of the special Christmas Eve services in your area! But as soon as the Christmas season passes, we are reminded that a New Year is just around the corner. For many of us it is also an exciting time of looking forward to a fresh start in many areas of our lives, but for others it can be a very difficult time. Especially based on what is currently happening in our country on the political scene with the upcoming elections, the division, the hatred, the violence, the corruption, the confusion and chaos, we might be feeling both a spirit of anxiety and fear we never had before. Or it might be more on a personal level with a pending divorce, financial woes, a big move, or a major change that you are faced with.
Well, my friend, Psalm 116 is a great psalm for us to be looking at this week. As we reflect and meditate on it, we will be reminded of several ways that we can trust the LORD to be there to help us in our time of trials and difficult situations.
First in verses 1-4, we are reminded that we have a God who hears and answers our prayers. You can call upon His name and have faith to believe that “He will deliver your soul” (v. 4). (If you missed it, you might go back and listen to my December 23, Pastor’s Chat where we talked about these verses. You can find it our my Pastor Mike website: https://www.pmiministries.org/ )
Secondly, the psalmist here in Psalm 116:5-11 reminds us that our God is merciful and gracious. When we “call upon the name of the LORD”, we remember that God's name represents God's character, and He is gracious, righteous, compassionate, and powerful. The Lord loved the psalmist and saved him, and the psalmist then loved Him even more (vv. 1, 5; see 1 John 4:19). We should also note the phrase "our God" in verse 5, which indicates that the writer was giving his testimony to a group of people, probably at the sanctuary (vv. 14, 18-19). "Simple” in verse 6, does not refer to ignorant or superstitious people but to childlike believers with sincerity and integrity, people who dare to believe that God means what He says. And because He is “righteous”, you can trust that He will always do what is right!!!!
But the Lord did even more than deliver the psalmist from death. He also "dealt bountifully" with him (v. 7), and some of this "bounty" is described in verses 8-9. God wiped away his tears, He held him up and prevented him from stumbling (Jude 24), and He walked with him to protect him from his enemies. And He did all of this in spite of the ambivalence of the psalmist's faith. It appears that one minute he was dismayed at the lies of so-called friends, the next minute he is affirming his faith in the Lord (vv. 10-11).
In the pressure of danger and pain, we often say things we really do not mean, but the Lord sees our hearts and knows what we really believe. The psalmist held to his faith even though he said what he did, and the Lord ignored what he said with his lips and responded to what he was saying in his heart. (Paul quoted verse 10 in 2 Corinthians 4:13.) And I’m sure the LORD does the same for us!
How do you “return to your rest”? (v. 7). You take the time to have a quiet time with the LORD each day in His Word and prayer.
As you prepare for a New Year this week, I want to encourage you to visit my website at: https://www.pmiministries.org/ There you will find links to daily devotionals and Bible Reading Calendars we have prepared to help you read through the entire Bible this next year!