Read: Psalm 116
Consider: The last post entitled ‘No fear of bad news’ looked at what gives us security and confidence in life. As a Christian our trust ultimately does not come from material things like wealth, health and status, but instead comes from something that is deep rooted from our being in Christ.
In Psalm 116 the psalmist reflects on how God dealt with him when he was in distress. The psalm starts with ‘I love the Lord’ and ends with ‘Praise the Lord’. These are the bookends of the psalm and help us to understand that despite being in difficulties the psalmist can put his distress into perspective against his knowledge of God and what he has done for him.
In verse 7 the psalmist says ‘Be at rest once more, O my soul’, which gives an indication that the difficulties he was facing had initially upset his peace of mind. We all have to realise that this is absolutely normal and no indication of our spirituality, or lack of it. Too many people see a lack of peace of mind as indicative of a weak faith, yet this only indicates that within us there is a battle between the human and spiritual natures.
The psalmist talks about the ‘cords of death’, ‘anguish’, ‘trouble’ and ‘sorrow’ (v3) and because of this he turns to God for mercy (v2) and salvation (v4). It is an interesting fact of life that difficulties tend to drive us to God, rather than away from him. When troubles arise people will often pray as a last resort, but as a Christian God should be our first port of call.
So what aspects of God’s character give the psalmist confidence? He talks about the Lord being gracious and righteous, full of compassion (v5), protects and saves (v6) and delivers (8). The psalmist knows that because of who God is, he can have confidence that whatever happens he can be at rest (v7).
In verse 12 the question is asked ‘How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?’ The psalmist talks about presenting a thank offering and fulfilling his vows (v17-18). However, as Christians we know that because of God’s grace there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, or to repay God for what he achieved through the death of his Son, Jesus Christ. Despite this, God desires that we live holy and righteous lives.
Pray: Father, we know that your hand is at work in our lives even when we are going through difficulties and may feel far from you. May our confidence always be in you. Amen