Meditation on Psalm 116

Meditation on Psalm 116 March 24, 2014

Meditationon Psalm 116

12What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? 13 Iwill lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, 14I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.

I love thepairing of this answer with this question. The psalmist asks: “What can I giveGod in return for the favor He has shown to me?” Potential answers tumble intomy mind by the dozen: more time? more money? better parenting? lessselfishness? No, the response outlined in the next two verses names three otheractivities:

Payingvows. In verses 17-18, the writer sets“I will pay my vows” as parallel to “I will sacrifice a thank offering to theLord.” I infer that the vows this poet has in mind are the expressions ofthanks associated with the thank offering. In other words, his vows areexpressions of thanks, not pledges of sacrifice.

Callingon the Lord. Here is an interestingresponse to God’s goodness—ask Him for more! Psalm 50:14-15 offers anilluminating cross-reference: “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, andperform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; Iwill deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Here is the explanation forwhy I should respond to God’s goodness by asking Him for more of it: because Hewants to be glorified by delivering me. I get the help, and He gets the glory!

Liftingup the cup of salvation. In its OldTestament context, this cup was likely part of the thank offering ceremony. Butas my Bible reading plan took me from Psalm 116 to Mark 12, the cup ofsalvation appears in a different light when I read Jesus’ words on the cross:“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (v 34). I imagine this screamechoing from the rocks and caves on Golgotha asJesus drank the cup of His Father’s wrath against my sin, and I worship Himafresh. He drank the cup of wrath so I could drink the cup of salvation all thedays of my life.

So whatshall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me? I will pay my vows ofthankfulness. I will glorify Him by asking for more of His mercy and grace. AndI will joyfully lift the cup of salvation to my own lips and drink. Deeply.