These last eight verses of Psalm 116 continue the theme of gratitude for deliverance. The psalmist’s vows to the Lord and offerings of sacrifice are thankful expressions of joy.
The Hebrew word yaqar, often translated as “precious,” can also be translated as “costly.” The death of the faithful is costly to God because God works on our behalf to bring life to all parts of our existence. In mind, body, and spirit, God nurtures life in us. In our relationships, our work, and our play, God desires renewal.
Too few of us grew up in churches and families that taught about God’s great joy for us. If we received a religious education, we oftentimes came away with ideas of a God who is displeased with us. We may even have been taught that our suffering is a result of God’s anger or that we owe something to this resentful God and must make sacrifices to get on God’s good side.
The psalmist affirms our relationship to God as cherished and beloved ones: children who are precious, costly. This psalm tells us that God yearns for a living relationship with us, not fearful sacrifices. The very act of calling to God for deliverance, resurrection, and new life is an act of thanksgiving and joy.
Perhaps today is the day to breathe in the reality that God seeks to resurrect any area of your life where death seems to have a foothold. Can you call out to God for help and believe this call is precious to God? Can you take a chance on such an act of thanksgiving? Or perhaps you have seen evidence of life renewed in you. How can you act in a way that joyously honors God’s saving work?
God who cherishes my life, I call out to you for deliverance. Help me believe that you desire for me the same resurrection you gave the world through Jesus Christ. Help me act in this joy and thanksgiving today. Amen.
As we consider further the power of Jesus’ resurrection, how should we respond? This is the question posed to Peter in the reading in Acts. Peter’s first instruction is to repent, to change course in our thinking and our living to align more with God’s way. The psalmist proclaims his gratitude to God because God has heard his cry, but the process began with the psalmist turning to the Lord. First Peter states that because we have turned and have faith and hope in God, we ought to love one another deeply from the heart. Luke tells the story of two men who meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus. They recognize him only as he breaks the bread, symbolizing that Christian fellowship is also part of a changed life.
Read Acts 2:14a, 36-41. How might you allow Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection to disrupt your life or your faith? How would such a disruption change you?
Read Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19. When have you learned of God’s great joy for you? How do the Psalms remind you that you are beloved?
Read 1 Peter 1:17-23. How can you take the author’s advice to “act like someone who knows [you are] loved”?
Read Luke 24:13-35. Recall times throughout your life when Jesus has been revealed to you. Which of these encounters have been logical? Which have been supernatural?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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