Bible Book: Psalms  116
Subject: Thanksgiving; Gratitude; Praise

Psalm 116

The psalmist has fallen in love with God and declares that he is ready to commit himself without reservation to the kind of life that will be an announcement of his love for God.I want us to look at the psalmist and see the earnestness of his declarations. His devotion to God will thrill you and perhaps encourage you to prayer, obedience in your walk, generosity in your giving, and jubilance in your praise. He does not complain, mind you, but we soon learn that he had suffered tremendously. He found himself on the edge of the precipice, in the grip of disease, bowed in anguish, grief and pain. He was broken and lonely and almost without hope or faith. In that tragic time of his life he turned to God with a feeble faith flickering, with the slightest hope. God heard him and came with His miraculous deliverance. The psalmist now acknowledges that he is deeply indebted to the gracious Deliverer. In light of his experience gratitude wells up within him and he erupts in praise. In the  psalm he recounts for us the many blessings he has received and states the response of his heart  to God.In the first verse he says: "I love the Lord." In the second verse he promises prayer: "I will call upon the Lord." In the ninth verse he resolves to walk a holy walk: "I will walk before the Lord." These three things are sufficient to challenge the best in any person. The devotion of the soul, the words of the mouth, and ones daily behavior are elements that bring joy to the heart of God. The genuine follower of God devotes his best thoughts to the doing of that which God desires in his life. He knows God, loves God, belongs to God, recognizes that he has been blessed by God, offers to pay his vows to God, promises to praise God and offer thanksgiving as long as he lives. We begin with verse 1  and we find a simple statement that reveals a world of truth.

I. I Love The Lord

The person who has genuine love in his heart is capable of depth and height, and breadth of  qualities that may well call forth our admiration. The correct translation of verse 1 is: "I love because Jehovah hears my voice, even my supplication." Because the psalmist is desperately in love with God we should not be surprised at anything good that happens in his life after this declaration. When Jesus was seeking to help Simon Peter anchor his wayward soul on the rock, He asked Simon  Peter a penetrating question three times: "Do you love me?" Simon Peter had failed the Lord miserably but where there is love these other things will be corrected. A wife does not have to ask a half dozen questions about her husband's conduct, his trustworthiness, or his whereabouts when she knows the true answer to the question: "Do you love me?" The psalmist revealed everything in this first line. He loves the Lord. Because he does we know the outcome even from the very first  verse.

II. What God Has Done

The psalmist recounts for us some of the good things that God has done for him. Perhaps in these words we can see God dealing with us as well. Surely God has been good to all of us. It will help us to pause long enough to count our blessings.In verse 2 the psalmist says: "He has inclined his ear unto me." It is difficult for us to comprehend the kind of divine love that causes our Father to willingly turn His ear in our direction so that even the faint prayer of faith will be heard and understood. It is the picture of a kind and sensitive physician who puts his ear very close to the mouth of the sufferer in order to hear the slightest request or of a busy father who never fails to pause, to lean over when the little toddler in his household wants to say something into his ear. Our father in heaven wants us to think of Him in this way. Along with this is the comment in verse 1: "He heard my voice and my supplications." Verse 6 through 8 declare: "He delivered me." The psalmist describes something of his condition when he turned to God in prayer. He was anticipating death. He was in tremendous pain. His soul was troubled (verse 3). It was in this condition that he called out upon the name of the Lord. It was in this low condition that God came to him to provide all that he needed. It caused a remarkable peace to come upon him as he realized that God had delivered him from death, had delivered his eyes from tears, had delivered his feet from falling.

III. The Psalmist's Response

Love always prompts the lover to do something for the one who is loved. The one who loves is anxious to give gifts, objects of expression of that love to the one that he loves. The psalmist offers his expression of resolve and devotion to God.First let us look at the most important verse, verse 13. "I will take the cup of salvation." The psalmist has learned the secret of the best way to thank God.

A. Acceptance of God's Salvation

The answer of a grateful heart includes first and foremost the acceptance of God's salvation. The mercy which God holds out to our needy souls should be enthusiastically received. In the case of those of us who live in the days of the new covenant, how could one possibly express gratitude for Jesus who gave His life upon the cross until he first gives his life to the Lord. Imagine a lost sinner thanking God for Christ who died for him and at the same time rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ.

B. Calling upon the Lord

Second, the psalmist says that he will call upon the name of the Lord (13, 17). In order to stay tuned to God's will for his life and allow God to work out His perfect work in his life he will be involved in fervent prayer. No food is as nourishing as the soul food that comes through the fervent communion with God in prayer. It is the only road to peace and spiritual power. It is God's way of growing a great soul. The psalmist is lining himself up to receive the special blessings. He is going to experience tremendous growth of a great soul devoted to God. The unlimited resources of His God are going to be at his call. A great life can be the only result.

C. Walking with the Lord

Third, in verse 9 the psalmist says: "I will walk before the Lord." He is ready to commit himself to walk among his friends, aware of the importance of his personal witness. The psalmist is  committed to the walk that will please the One who had done so much for him. He will have nothing to do with vulgarity, profanity, immorality, dishonesty, selfishness, or anything else that is unworthy of the holy presence of God. Every thought, emotion, word, and deed must be subject to the approval of the Almighty God who has rescued him.

D. Serving the Lord NOW

Fourth, in verses 14 and 18 the psalmist says: "I will pay my vows to the Lord." There is another important word in both of those verses. It is the word "now." So many people miss the blessing of giving their gifts to the Lord because they keep promising themselves that they are going to get serious about giving to God one of these days. The psalmist was saying now God has touched my life and brought a great change. Now God has rescued me from sin and death. Now I will express  my love for Him through the giving of my all to the Lord.Have you ever known anybody who prayed   and begged and promised God if He would only save his life or the life of a loved one that he would go to church and surrender his life to the Lord as a faithful follower? When God heard and answered the prayer and healed the loved on he did not carry out his promise to God nor did he dedicate his life to the Lord Jesus. How tragic-not only is the response tragic but the prayer itself is tragic. Our attitude should not be God you do this for me and then I will do something for you. Our attitude is God you have already done everything in the world for me and in response I pay my commitments to you through the devotion of my life, my talents, my time, and all of my possessions.

E. Praising the Lord

Fifth, in verses 17 and 19 the psalmist said, "I will praise the Lord." God has been so good to the psalmist that He plans to spend the rest of his life in praise and thanksgiving. Everybody is going to know that he has been miraculously and mercifully saved by the hand of a loving God. Day after day they will hear the voice of a grateful soul faithfully telling of the saving grace of God. In the secret   place of private prayer, in the conversation with friends and neighbors, in song, in public testimony, in special gifts, in missionary endeavors, he will be found praising God and sending up his gratitude to the Lord. He will praise the Lord for unanswered prayers and for miraculous deliverances, for daily guidance and nourishment, for fellowship, for the call to be God's servant, for opportunities to work  for the Lord, for the power of the Holy Spirit in his ministry, for the hope of the coming of the Savior, for the eternal home where joys unspeakable will be his, for the assurance that the Lord will triumph  over sin, over death, and over the devil.


As we pause to reflect upon the words of the psalmist can you say: "I love, I trust, I will take, I will pay, I will walk, I will pray, I will praise? "No wonder the psalmist uses the word "Hallelujah" at the close. It is his triumphant call to all of the peoples of the earth to join him in praise. "Hallelu" us a verb in the imperative form and is translated "praise ye". The word "Jah" is Jehovah or Lord. So with the use of the word "Hallelujah" he is actually calling upon all of us to join him in praising the Lord: "Praise ye the Lord!"