Text: Psalm 116:10-19
I believed, therefore I spoke, “I am greatly afflicted.” I said in my haste, “All men are liars.” What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints. O Lord, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people, In the courts of the Lord’s house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!
We have thousands of things for which to thank the Lord, but we forget to do it. In peacetime we become secure. In times of danger we always rely on human strength. So the Lord must lead us into deep misery, so that we can believe in Him alone and praise His name.
“I believed, therefore I spoke,” says our psalmist. The Lord led me into great affliction, and then I learned to put my trust in Him. Thus my speech testified, in that I said: “All men are liars.” I and all human beings are not to be trusted. But the Lord is my Rock. He freed my soul from death, my eyes from weeping, my feet from falling. Pay attention to His Word, dear friend: “I believed, therefore I spoke, ‘I am greatly afflicted.’ I said in my haste, ‘All men are liars.'” Here we are told that faith is born in “affliction.” Here we learn that faith “speaks,” and we hear this remarkable thing, that whoever confesses “men to be liars” believes in God.
But when the Lord chastens me with troubles, when He helps me to believe and to be saved, how shall I then repay these good deeds of His? With three things: 1) “I will take up the cup of salvation.” I will accept His salvation, and let the Lord save me, as He desires. I will rely on Him, entrust myself to Him. He takes pleasure in mercy. I will also taste it. These are good terms of payment! 2) “I will call upon the name of the Lord.” He is glad to have us call on His name, pray, and give thanks.2 But what is sweeter for us than His name, and what is more precious than to praise Him? Good terms He has set for us! 3) “I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people.” An Israelite’s “vows” consisted mostly in thank-offerings, and in connection with them there was always a sacrificial meal with other believers, who rejoiced in his deliverance. I will spread the joy of salvation around me, eat the rich things physically and spiritually, gather with God’s people, kindle their devotion, and be kindled by them. Truly, “I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people, In the courts of the Lord’s house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!” So ends the affliction of God’s people.
Lord God, let me never again complain and never put my trust in the flesh, but believe in You, take the cup of salvation, call on Your name, give thanks and praise You and pay to You my vows. I am indeed Your servant. I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. Alleluia!
Lord, I will tell, while I am living,
Thy goodness forth with every breath
And greet each morning with thanksgiving
Until my heart is still in death;
Yea, when at last my lips grow cold,
Thy praise shall in my sighs be told.
O Father, deign Thou, I beseech Thee,
To listen to my earthly lays;
A nobler strain in heav’n shall reach Thee,
When I with angels hymn Thy praise
And learn amid their choirs to sing
Loud alleluias to my King.
Mentzer: O that I had a thousand voices L 514:9-10 TLH 30:5-6 tr. Composite;
tune: O dass ich tausend Zungen (König); alternate hymn: O that I had a thousand voices ELH 443