(Today’s post by Wayne Bunting)
Psalm 116 is a Psalm of thankfulness that exalts the goodness of God and also shows what man’s response to that goodness should be. It is one of the 6 Egyptian Hallels, from Psalm 113 to Psalm 118 (Hallel referring to Hallelujah –translated as “Praise the Lord”- in verse 19), a series of Psalms that give thanks to the Lord for delivering Israel from Egypt. This Psalm, however, is significant in that it focuses on the life of one person, as opposed to the life of an entire nation.
Verses 1-12 focus on detailing what the Lord has done for the Psalmist. Interestingly, in verse 12 the author of this Psalm shifts gears and asks “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?” In verse 13 he says that he will first “lift up the cup of salvation.” Many state that this verse ties in to the cup of wine in Exodus 29:40 where there the image of a sacrificial lamb is described. Taking place just after the Jews’ exodus from Egypt, this lamb was what God told Israel to sacrifice just outside of the Tabernacle (tent of meeting). In Exodus 29:43 the Lord says that that when this lamb was sacrificed “I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory.” The cup of wine here is part of this process of taking away the sins of the people. Jesus took on this “cup of salvation” and became the permanent sacrificial lamb that took away the sins of God’s people, and allowed for God to meet with His people. We as Christians take communion in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice to bring us salvation.
Next, in Psalm 116:13b, in order to “render to the Lord” for all that he has done, the psalmist says that he will also “call on the name of the Lord.” This recalls what he said earlier in verse 2, and adds to the idea that subsequent to salvation is communion with God. This is extremely important for us to understand. God did not just save us for the sake of saving us. He saved us because He once had communion with man, that communion was broken by sin, and so He restored that communion through the blood of Jesus’ permanent sacrifice which was done in the model of the Levitical sacrificial system. The old sacrificial system in the Old Testament required the repeated sacrifice of a lamb to atone for the sins of the people and allow for communion between God and the people. Jesus’ permanent sacrifice allows for permanent communion between God and His people. In other words, He wanted to know us and have a relationship with us.
Our salvation allows us to know God, to know the creator of the universe and have Him live in us. This is no small thing. So what does this mean for us? Our servitude of Christ is to be full devotion to Him, not just slight devotion on Sunday. If we are truly slaves of Christ then our lives would evidence that servitude in every way. This is what Christ wants, for us to be fully sold out to Him. I would never entertain the idea of sharing my wife with any other man. How much more does God feel about sharing us with the world, especially since we are His bride? So let’s purge ourselves of anything that is not God and live for Him fully! I don’t know about you, but I am sick of seeing the church settle for less. I am sick of seeing so many Christians fill the world, the workplace, politics, families, and barely leave an impression on it for Christ because they are afraid of rocking the boat. I am tired of seeing Christians settle for less for the sake of the money they make at a job, or the comfort that they receive in this life. Is Christ not worth it? If we truly saw who He is we would sacrifice anything to have Him. Isn’t that exactly what He did for us? So why do we choose personal gain in this temporary world over Christ who is eternal? Why do we dumb down His light in us because it might mean losing something, or some comfort, or that we might have to face hardships and persecution?
I want more in this life. I want to live for Christ. I don’t just want a job where I work and then come home. I want a life that is marked by showing the world Christ in whatever setting that may be in. This is not to say that I have it all figured out, and that I am a perfect representation of this, but that this is what we are meant to aim for. If everyone in the church right now stood up for Christ where they were currently in their lives, gave up their own life, themselves, and their own personal attainments, and showed the truth and light of Christ fearlessly to those around them then society would shake under the power of the Lord and of the Holy Spirit. We would change the world if we truly submitted to Christ as Lord and lived for Him instead of ourselves. The outcome would be incredible, and Satan would run terrified, leaving people, families, churches, and nations free from darkness and oppression.
So what are you doing to let the light of Christ shine to the world around you? To the immediate context that you are in? Are you afraid of standing up for Christ because you know the outcome might result in a loss of something? I pray that we all would be willing to do whatever it takes to show who Christ is to the world around us, to face persecution and loss if needed for the sake of living who we are truly meant to be in Christ. Start right where you are and ask the Lord to use you. Most importantly, the degree to which we know the Lord is the degree to which we will be able to show the Lord to the world. So know Him, and make Him known.