Highland Presbyterian Church
May 19th , 2020
Hunkered Down Devotions
Psalm 116:1-14 (MSG)
1-6 I love GOD because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy.
He listened so intently as I laid out my case before him.
Death stared me in the face, hell was hard on my heels.
Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn; then I called out to GOD for help:
“Please, GOD!” I cried out. “Save my life!”
GOD is gracious—it is he who makes things right, our most compassionate God.
GOD takes the side of the helpless; when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.
7-8 I said to myself, “Relax and rest. GOD has showered you with blessings.
Soul, you’ve been rescued from death; Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears;
And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.”
9-11 I’m striding in the presence of GOD, alive in the land of the living!
I stayed faithful, though bedeviled, and despite a ton of bad luck, Despite giving up on
the human race, saying, “They’re all liars and cheats.”
12-14 What can I give back to GOD for the blessings he’s poured out on me?
I’ll lift high the cup of salvation—a toast to GOD!
I’ll pray in the name of GOD; I’ll complete what I promised GOD I’d do, and I’ll do it
together with his people.
What I love about Psalm 116, one of the ‘evening Psalms’ for today’s daily lectionary is
that it gives this beautiful, clear and succinct picture of what our relationship with God is and
what it should be.
The Psalm begins by stating clearly the nature of the relationship: First, that remarkably,
God has listened to us, cares for us, and has saved us. And second, that it is because of what
God has done for us that we love him.
God’s love for us and care of us is not dependent on what we say or do. God isn’t
waiting to see if we deserve saving, or if we ask in the right way, or if we are ‘good enough’.
God acts towards us with love, grace, and mercy before we have any say or knowledge about it.
The Psalmist reminds us that if we want to seek out God, if we wonder where God is and
where God is moving in our midst, we need only to look for those in need because, ‘God takes the side of the helpless’. Our God is a God for people ‘at the end of their rope’.
All of us should be able to recognize, like the Psalmist, that we have been showered in
blessings from God. And, this is such a critical aspect of all of this, our response to what God
has done for us should be clear.
When the Psalmist asks a question that is (or should be) on all of our hearts and minds,
‘What can I give back to God for all the blessings He’s poured out on me?’, the clear and simple answer immediately follows.
The response is simple: Praise God with our words – we are called to worship God. To
pray to God – we are called to be in relationship and conversation with God. And, finally, to do what God has called us to do. That last response, doing what God has called us to do (and what we promised to do when we claim to follow Jesus) comes with a catch: it isn’t an individual command.
Part of what God calls us to do is to work together to accomplish his will on earth. In
part this is because God’s plan for his people is far bigger than any of us could complete on our own, but it is also because while we work together to do the will of God we are bearing witness to the world about what the community of God – the family of God that is the Body of Christ (the Church) – looks like.
So let us worship God, turn to God in prayer and, together, do the work of God in
community led by his Holy Spirit.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: We praise you, O God, for all that you have done for us. For your saving love
and grace shown to us not because we have earned it, but because you love us. Help us
respond by working together to do your will and share your love. Amen.