By Eric Taylor
Pastor, Cedar Hill Baptist Church, Cedar Hill
Focal Passage: Psalm 116:1-9; 15-17
The focal point of our lesson for this week, is that God is with us and restores us in times of trouble, sorrow, and grief. In this great psalm the writer gives us at least four reasons why.
First, we see that the Lord hears our prayers in our sorrows. In verse 1, notice that the writer loves the Lord because, in “mercy” God “has heard my appeal.” Now while we do not know who wrote this psalm, speculation generally vacillates between King Hezekiah, King David, or Jonah.
But whoever wrote it, we see that the writer offers a grateful testimony of the faithfulness of the Lord in answering his prayer in a time of fear, death, trouble, and sorrow. When verse 2 says, that the Lord “has turned his ear to me,” the phrase means, that the Lord has “bent down,” “leaned in,” or “stretched forward” toward the psalmist. It is the picture of the parent bending over to listen to their child.
Second, the Lord restores us in times of grief and sorrow because He is the One who delivers our soul. In verse 3, the writer describes his desperate condition (see, Jonah 2:2-9), and then testifies that when he “called on the name of the Lord,” he was “saved.” Matter of fact, spiritually speaking, these words describe our condition before the Lord saved each of us. Before Christ, “The ropes of death were wrapped around” us. Before Christ, “the torments of the grave,” was our destination.
But in our “trouble and sorrow,” we called on the Lord and He heard our cry, reached down, and pulled us from the miry clay. That is why we sing: “I was sinking deep in sin, Far from the peaceful shore, Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more, But the master of the sea, heard my despairing cry, From the waters lifted me now safe am I.” Therefore, if the Lord can save us from such a desperate shape, certainly He can deliver us through any hardship or grief we face.
Third, the Lord restores us in times of grief or sorrow because He is compassionate toward His own, and we see that in Psalms 116:5-9. In verse 5, the Lord is gracious to us. In verse 6, God “guards” the “inexperienced,” and the “helpless.”
The word, “guard” is a Hebrew word that is sometimes used to describe the protection of a shepherd over his flock. In verse 7, God is “good” to us as he gives “rest” to our weary souls. Finally, in verses 8-9, God guides our steps as He keeps our “feet from stumbling,” and walks with us “in the land of the living.” Before Christ, we were part of the walking dead. In Christ we are in the “land of the living.”
Finally, the Lord restores us in times of trouble and sorrow because we belong to Him. In verse 15, God sees us as His saints, in both life and death. In verse 16, we are His servants. And why would we not desire to serve the Lord? The Bible tells us that God has “loosed” our bonds. Finally, verse 17, reminds us that those who belong to God offer sacrifices to Him.