Psalm 116 (Spurgeon)

Verse 1. I love the LORD. A blessed declaration: every believer ought to be able to declare without the slightest hesitation, “I love the Lord.” It was required under the law, but was never produced in the heart of man except by the grace of God, and upon gospel principles. It is a great thing to say “I love the Lord”; for the sweetest of all graces and the surest of all evidences of salvation is love. It is great goodness on the part of God that he condescends to be loved by such poor creatures as we are, and it is a sure proof that he has been at work in our heart when we can say, “Thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee.” Because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. The Psalmist not only knows that he loves God, but he knows why he does so. When love can justify itself with a reason, it is deep, strong, and abiding. They say that love is blind; but when we love God our affection has its eyes open and can sustain itself with the most rigid logic. We have reason, superabundant reason, for loving the Lord; and so because in this case principle and passion, reason and emotion go together, they make up an admirable state of mind. David’s reason for his love was the love of God in hearing his prayers. The Psalmist had used his “voice” in prayer, and the habit of doing so is exceedingly helpful to devotion. If we can pray aloud without being overheard it is well to do so. Sometimes, however, when the Psalmist had lifted up his voice, his utterance had been so broken and painful that he scarcely dared to call it prayer; words failed him, he could only produce a groaning sound, but the Lord heard his moaning voice. At other times his prayers were more regular and better formed: these he calls “supplications.” David had praised as best he could, and when one form of devotion failed him he tried another. He had gone to the Lord again and again, hence he uses the plural and says “my supplications, “but as often as he had gone, so often had he been welcome. Jehovah had heard, that is to say, accepted, and answered both his broken cries and his more composed and orderly supplications; hence he loved God with all his heart. Answered prayers are silken bonds which bind our hearts to God. When a man’s prayers are answered, love is the natural result. According to Alexander, both verbs may be translated in the present, and the text may run thus, “I love because Jehovah hears my voice, my supplications.” This also is true in the case of every pleading believer. Continual love flows out of daily answers to prayer.

 

Verse 7. Return, unto thy rest, O my soul. He calls the rest still his own, and feels full liberty to return to it. What a mercy it is that even if our soul has left its rest for a while we can tell it—”it is thy rest still.” The Psalmist had evidently been somewhat disturbed in mind, his troubles had ruffled his spirit but now with a sense of answered prayer upon him he quiets his soul. He had rested before, for he knew the blessed repose of faith, and therefore he returns to the God who had been the refuge of his soul in former days. Even as a bird flies to its nest, so does his soul fly to his God. Whenever a child of God even for a moment loses his peace of mind, he should be concerned to find it again, not by seeking it in the world or in his own experience, but in the Lord alone. When the believer prays, and the Lord inclines his ear, the road to the old rest is before him, let him not be slow to follow it. For the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. Thou hast served a good God, and built upon a sure foundation; go not about to find any other rest, but come back to him who in former days hath condescended to enrich thee by his love. What a text is this! and what an exposition of it is furnished by the biography of every believing man and woman! The Lord hath dealt bountifully with us, for he hath given us his Son, and in him he hath given us all things: he hath sent us his Spirit, and by him he conveys to us all spiritual blessings. God dealeth with us like a God; he lays his fulness open to us, and of that fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

 

Verse 9. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. This is the Psalmist’s second resolution, to live as in the sight of God in the midst of the sons of men…. but the truly gracious man considers the presence of God, and acts under the influence of his all observing eye. “Thou God seest me” is a far better influence than “My master sees me.” The life of faith, hope, holy fear, and true holiness is produced by a sense of living and walking before the Lord, and he who has been favoured with divine deliverances in answer to prayer finds his own experience the best reason for a holy life, and the best assistance to his endeavours.

Verse 16. The man of God in paying his vows rededicates himself unto God; the offering which he brings is himself, as he cries, O LORD, truly I am thy servant,rightfully, really, heartily, constantly, I own that I am thine, for thou hast delivered and redeemed me….Note how the sweet singer delights to dwell upon his belonging to the Lord; it is evidently his glory, a thing of which he is proud, a matter which causes him intense satisfaction. Verily, it ought to create rapture in our souls if we are able to call Jesus Master, and are acknowledged by him as his servants.

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