In my feeble frame I remember who you are – Jesus Name above all names.
“ It is good to pause and let Me remind you of who I am. I have so many facets to My personality and My character. But one thing stands out, My Name is above all names: blessed Redeemer, glorious Lord, bright morning Star, Lamb of God, your friend and yet your King. In all these names is wrapped up one overwhelming fact – My grace and My love towards you and My whole creation. That is the attribute which holds sway in every relationship I have. Yes many are under My judgement but My grace and love are there always waiting for them to turn to Me and seek Me. May you and your readers each experience intimately My grace and love – so that it may continually transform them.“
As I read Psalm 116 a while ago, the opening verse grabbed my attention, that is why I decided to revisit it. It is not that I didn’t believe God hears my cry for mercy at all times. But that fact sometimes becomes dimmed when we experience a season in which God does not seem to be hearing our cries. When He allows us to go through tests and trials. So such a clear reminder is a great boost to my faith. As I re-read the psalm I recognized a key verse which stands out showing the effect of knowing that God hears us. I wonder if you can see which verse that is.
The author of the psalm has clearly been going through some severe trials. Even facing death. He was almost overcome by trouble and sorrow v 2. It brought him to his knees and all he could do was to “call on the Name of the Lord”. v 4 It is interesting that in many places in the bible we find this description of our interaction with God. It is a a cry which we are told is all that is necessary for our salvation. It is a heartfelt cry which places our full trust in a God who hears and responds. Even in our darkest moments when we have no other words we can “call on the name of the Lord.
In this case we are told the author did this because he remembered that: “the Lord is gracious and righteous; full of compassion. ….protecting the simplehearted when they are in need of salvation. vv 5,6.
Then comes the key verse which I mentioned earlier. Because of what he has written up to now. Calling on a Lord whom he believes hears and saves – his soul is at rest (v 7). His soul is at rest because he is reminded that the Lord has always been good to him. And the one fact that brings him to this state of rest is mentioned in v 10 “I believed”.
Now there is a continuing conundrum. He called on the Lord when he was faced with a situation which affected his very life and God rescued him. Now what about all the times when saints call on the name of the Lord and they are not rescued? Well there is a sense in which every one of us is going to reach a point like that. God may and does choose to intervene in the troubles and struggles we have in life. Yet at the end there is a beautiful statement which the psalmist mentions in v 15: “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints”. It is the most precious moment in every saint’s life, the moment when we leave this world and come into the presence of our Lord and Saviour.
The psalm ends, as do many of the psalms with a resounding praise to the Lord. One thing grabbed my attention there too though. In vv 14 and again in v 18, he repeats the same promise: “I will fulfill all my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people”. I wondered at this statement for a while. Then it occurred to me how often Christians, maybe you or I have promised God something if He would only answer your desperate pleas. It is perhaps easy to forget these promises when the relief comes with the answered prayer. Here the psalmist is affirming that whatever promises he made in the time of his distress, he would undertake to fulfil them publicly before the whole congregation. One has to be careful here that we do not find ourselves bargaining with God.
The psalm ends with a resounding “Praise the Lord”. Let that be our ongoing attitude during this coming week.
Next week I have decided to start reading 1 Samuel. I feel it is about time to go back into the historical narrative of God’s Word and see how He speaks to us from there. May God bless you as you join me there.