A Reason to Celebrate: Psalm 116
If you have ever had the privilege of being the invited company of an excellent host or hostess, you know what an experience it is. The best hors d’oeuvres, comfiest seat, and favorite beverages are ready for you when you arrive. You don’t have to bring anything but yourself, and your help is not required for setup or cleanup.
Oftentimes, the biggest compliment that that can be paid to a good host is when we as guests ask for seconds or a refill! It shows we appreciate their care, that we are enjoying ourselves. And for many of us, being treated with impeccable hospitality is even more special when we are walking through trials. Others’ hospitality makes hard times a little bit easier and celebrations even sweeter. It helps us remember the good.
Psalm 116 & Remembering What God Has Done
In Psalm 116, we see a similar sentiment. The psalmist is reminded of many things God has done:
I love the LORD, because he has heard
my voice and my pleas for mercy.
2 Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The snares of death encompassed me;
the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish.
4 Then I called on the name of the LORD:
“O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!”
5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
our God is merciful.
6 The LORD preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
8 For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling;
The psalmist notes that God inclines his ear to fervent prayers (v. 2) and extends his grace, righteousness, and mercy (v. 5). He preserves his people and deals bountifully with his children (v. 6-7)—delivering us (v. 8). Even in the midst of difficulty, the hand of the Lord is clearly seen.
In verse 12, the psalmist continues by asking, “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?” The subsequent reply is to “lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people” (v.13).
Responding to God’s Goodness
Similar to the way we would give a toast to the person who threw a grand party, the psalmist knows that the only way to adequately respond to the goodness of our generous God is to lift up the cup of salvation, calling on the Lord.
No one is ever forced to brag about the person who cooked the “best meal I’ve ever had!” or the “best party planner ever!” Verbal affirmation in the presence of others is a natural (and often powerful) way to respond to any good thing we have received. When we publicly honor God, what a testimony it is to those who desperately need to see reflections of his grace!
One Major Reason to Celebrate
I don’t know about you, but I need this reminder often. I am so grateful that “The Lord preserves the simple” and that “when I was brought low, he saved me.” (Ps. 116:6) My simple mind wants to dwell on the ways I have been brought low, especially over the last year and a half.
But just like I can sit back and relax comfortably in the home of my favorite host, my Savior invites me to come and revel in the ways he has dealt bountifully with me. And he has dealt bountifully with you as well. So we have a lot to celebrate!