The psalmist's lament in Psalm 116 expresses reasons to love the Lord despite the soul-crushing burden of grief and sorrow.
Because He Cares for Me
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. (116:7)
Look at that! The words "dealt bountifully" are a translation of the Hebrew gamal, which means "to deal fully and completely" with something or someone. Frequently, it suggests the idea of "rewarding." Today we would say, "Because the Lord takes such good care of me, I will love Him in return." In other words, God leaves nothing out when He provides for us, when He takes care of us, when He surrounds us with His watchful care. Having been lifted up and sustained in his grief, the songwriter then asks: "What shall I render to the LORD?" (116:12).
In other words: How can I return my thanks? What will possibly suffice as proof of my gratitude? God has done so very, very much, how can I adequately render my appreciation to Him? How can I possibly repay? In response, one answer the songwriter offers is to proclaim His benefits.
I Shall Proclaim His Benefits
I shall lift up the cup of salvation
And call upon the name of the LORD. (116:13)
What does "I shall lift up the cup of salvation" mean? In the Old Testament the word "cup" is frequently used to denote plenty and abundance. You may remember that in Psalm 23:5 David claims that his "cup overflows." The term "salvation" actually appears in the Hebrew Bible in the plural—salvations. We would grasp the meaning better if we'd render it "deliverances." The psalmist is expressing praise to God for His abundant and numerous deliverances. So, literally, he says, "In the name of the Lord I shall proclaim." It is the idea of openly declaring that God is his Deliverer.
This matter of making a public proclamation in honor of the Lord is important. It is good. It is healthy. It is biblical. God floods our lives with abundance, yet so few Christians share their experiences publicly. So few Christians "proclaim His benefits." Let's stop holding our praise to ourselves. Share your Savior; don't be ashamed or shy. If you want to render something of value to the Lord, proclaim His benefits! It may surprise you how much it helps you to live beyond the grind of sorrow and grief.
From Living the Psalms by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.