What can I offer the Lord
for all he has done for me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.
I will keep my promises to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
Psalm 116:12-14, NLT*
The kindness of God has been on my mind a lot lately, and the depth of love He inspires when we see how good He is to us. I think that’s where the psalmist is going here with his question.
Earlier in the psalm he talks about the hard place he was in, and how God answered his desperate prayer. There’s no way he can repay his Rescuer, except with his life.
How then will he live?
He’ll accept and embrace the salvation. No holding it off because he’s not worthy and can’t earn it. Neither will he keep it to himself. He’ll declare God’s praises publicly so others will know God’s character.
And he’ll keep whatever promises and vows he makes to the Lord. I don’t think this is about any bargains he may have tried to make with God in the troubled time. I think it’s about integrity in his ongoing relationship with God and in the presence of witnesses.
He also commits to be part of corporate worship as well as private worship. I’m not sure if it’s for his own need or in honour of God, but despite any irritating, flawed or hypocritical people in his faith community, he won’t walk away. His example of faithfulness and his declarations of praise will encourage others’ faith, and theirs will encourage his.
As I pray for people struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and other disasters, and as I pray for people digging themselves deeper into trouble of their own making, I’m sad that sometimes we have to reach despair before we cry out to God for help. Yet He’s waiting like the prodigal’s father, arms outstretched, longing to bring good into our lives.
God, You are our Creator and Sustainer, our Saviour and our King. Your kindness reaches for us even while we’re running away from You. Soften the hearts of those who know You and of those who don’t, and help us all to look to You for help. Yes, we can fear Your discipline, but it’s when we experience Your love and Your mercy that our hearts are undone. We love You because You loved us first. Help us live in light of Your love.
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.