4 Ways to Thank the Lord
15 June 2017 Year A
The psalmist spends the first half of this psalm praising God for how God has helped him. The psalmist loves the Lord (Psalm 116:1) and reminds himself of the ways in which God has shown both mercy and grace. Psalm 116:1-11 sounds like a plea from a dying man for help. Perhaps this is one reason why scholars believe the psalmist is attributed to King Hezekiah.
So the psalmist has been knocking on death’s door and recognizes that God healed him. He asks to repay God for this “good He has done.”
“How can I repay the Lord for all the good He has done for me?” (Psalm 116:12, HCSB)
The psalmist can’t possibly repay God enough for what God has done. Yet, He can thank Him. Here, the psalmist reveals four different ways he can thank the Lord. I believe that when we come to any kind of difficult circumstance, we can also thank God for what He has done in our lives.
FOUR WAYS TO THANK THE LORD
1. Spend time with God thanking Him (Psalm 116:13)
“I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of Yahweh.” (Psalm 116:13, HCSB)
Did you know that this is what the Lord’s Supper is all about? It is communion with God. It is simply spending time with God and thanking Him for His goodness in my life.
You know that when we celebrate Thanksgiving, we spend time with other people. We come together to play games, watch some football or a parade, and then we sit down to eat a Thanksgiving meal.
Why not do the same thing with God?
Take some time to read the Bible, and spend time thanking Him for what He has done. Dine with Him over the Lord’s Supper and thank Him for His goodness in your life. The first way God showed goodness in your life is by creating you. The second way is by saving you. So in essence, when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we eating a Thanksgiving meal every time we celebrate Jesus’ death.
The first way to thank God is to spend time with Him. The second way is to keep my promises to Him.
2. Keep my promises to God (Psalm 116:14)
“I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people.” (Psalm 116:14, HCSB)
When I keep a promise to someone it shows that I value them. The psalmist is reminded that because God kept His promise, he will return by keeping his promises to God. The psalmist says that he will keep himself honest by keeping these promises in public view of others. Perhaps he announced what he plans to do to the public to keep himself accountable.
Even if he made his vow public, God still expected him to keep the vow. Because your word is your bond. It shows how much you value the other person. If I want to value my relationship with God, I will keep my promises to Him.
3. Offer my service to God because I value Him as much as He values me (Psalm 116:15-16)
“The death of His faithful ones is valuable in the Lord’s sight. Lord, I am indeed Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your female servant. You have loosened my bonds.” (Psalm 116:15–16, HCSB)
When a person offers their services to you, they are telling you that they have value they want to impart. They don’t offer their service for selfish reasons. They offer their services to you (whether it is a favor, to represent them in court, or to help them in a situation) because they value the relationship that they have with you.
God values you. He created you, saved you, and when you die, He looks forward to you being with Him. Right now, God can be with me, but I can’t be with God. I can’t leave Earth and walk into Heaven and spend time with Him. God can leave Heaven and spend time with me, but I have to die in order to see God. That is why my death is valuable to God. He values that relationship with me. That is why He created me and saved me. In return, I should value that same relationship with God. I should offer my services not because I owe “the Man upstairs” but because I value my relationship with Him.
I show that I value my relationship with God when I spend time with Him, keep my promises to Him, and when I offer my services to Him.
The fourth way I can thank God is to spend time in worship with a joyful heart.
4. Worship God with joy (Psalm 116:17-19)
“I will offer You a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of Yahweh. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the Lord’s house— within you, Jerusalem. Hallelujah!” (Psalm 116:17–19, HCSB)
Worship comes from the heart. When I want to thank God, I can say so through worship. Worship is a unique expression of thanksgiving to God. No one expresses thanksgiving to someone begrudgingly. If you really want to give thanks, then it will truly come from the heart. That’s how one should thank God in worship – with a heart that expresses joy.
I praise God not out of obligation, but from a sense of joy in the relationship I have with God. I can spend time with God, keep my promises to Him, offer my service as well as my worship, all from a thankful heart.