A Testimony of Answered Prayer (The God Who Hears and Saves) - Psalm 116
There’s something powerful about a hearing a testimony of how God has worked in a person’s life – especially when they’ve endured something difficult and God has carried them through. It can be easy think that our situations are too big or that God is unconcerned with our lives – but thankfully the Scriptures are full of testimonies and stories of people whom God has helped – even in their weakest moments.
The psalms in particular are a treasure for the people of God. In the psalms we get to hear from brothers and sisters who have been through all of the highs and lows of life – and we get to hear how God has interacted with them in those moments and seasons.
In Psalm 116 we have the testimony of a man who was at his lowest point. He feared his life was over – but then he cried out to God. This psalm is the testimony of how God saved him. It’s a testimony to the character of God, of His love for His people and how we should respond to a God who has gone to great lengths to save His people.
An overview of the psalm (116:1-2)
- In the first two verses the psalmist provides a summary of the story of the psalm: He loves God and has confidence in God because God has heard him and answered his cry for help.
A prayer for help and the God who hears (116:3-7)
- The situation (v. 3) – The psalmist finds himself near death. Perhaps he’s ill or maybe there are those who are threatening his life. It’s also possible that death is symbolic for a time when he felt like he had lost everything. But either way it is clear that he is at his lowest point.
- The cry for help (v. 4) – In the midst of his distress the psalmist cries out to Yahweh – a God who he believes is able to save him. It’s worth noting that he’s not calling out to an ambiguous higher being. He calls on the Lord by name and trusts that He is able to deliver him.
- The God who answers (vv. 5-7) – In verses 5-7 we get a reminder of who God is and of His disposition toward His people.
- A God of grace, righteousness and mercy (v. 5)
- A God who protects the weak (v. 6) (Isaiah 55:1)
- A God who gives rest (v. 7) (Matthew 11:28-30)
- Application: It can be easy to doubt the goodness of God in the midst of our trouble. But this testimony reminds us of the character of God – He longs to help those who cry out to Him and He gives rest to those who are weary.
An answer to prayer and the nature of the salvation (116:8-11) – In verses 8-11 the psalmist describes the salvation of God and the way God has changed his life. He has taken away his suffering and set him free to live in obedience and faith.
- The gift of life (saved from death) (v. 8)
- The gift of peace (no more tears) (v. 8)
- The gift of stability (no more stumbling) (v. 8)
- The gift of life in the presence of God (walking before the Lord) (v. 9)
- The gift of a God who can be trusted (vv. 10-11) (2 Cor. 4:11–14)
- Application: It’s good for us to be reminded of the radical change God can bring to those who cry out to Him. He can take us from a place of death, tears and stumbling to a place of life, peace and stability.
A response to salvation and the God who saves (116:12-19) – In verse 12 the psalmist asks the question: what can I do for God after all that He’s done for me? While there’s no way to repay God, the psalmist describes the ways he hopes his life will honor God.
- A response of praise (v. 13)
- A response of vows kept (v. 14) (Psalm 66:13-16)
- A response of confidence in God (v. 15)
- A response of submission (v. 16) (1 Peter 2:16)
- A response of public praise (v. 17-19)
- Application: As those who have been reconciled to God through Christ, we should long to respond in praise and obedience – as willing servants to the One who has saved us.