The Secret of Psalm 116
October 4, 2001 • By Ed Wrather
We’ve heard the testimonies again and again of those who survived and those who lost loved ones in the attack of September 11. I am still brought to tears when they share how their normal lives were attacked and destroyed in such a short period of time. I marvel at how these people who should be the ones being ministered to and helped are instead the ones ministering to everyone else. Their faith has been on public display and my heart sings when I hear them speak. What is their secret? How can they do this? How can they keep going on?
It may be that they have learned the secret of Psalm 116. The Psalmist knows what it is like to grieve because in verse 3 he says “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.” We find the first secret of the Psalm in the next verse where the Psalmist says (v. 4) “Then I called upon the name of the Lord: ‘O lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!’” The secret? Tell God your problems because He hears you.
Secret number 2 is found in the next two verses (vs. 5 & 6) “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.” The secret? God is the One to go to for help, to pour out our troubles to Him, because He has the power to help you.
Secret number 3 we see in verses seven and eight “Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” The secret? We must remember what is true about God, no matter what may happen. With all of the turmoil this may be a good time to go outside and remind ourselves of the order, purpose, and beauty of creation that still exists. Go outside on a clear night and you will notice that the stars are still in their places. Open up God’s Word and you will see that His Words are still true. Even if the stars come crashing down the Word of God is still true and we can stand upon it.
Secret number 4 the Psalmist closes this Psalm with praise and thanksgiving “I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.” “Praise the Lord!” The secret is obvious in that we too should praise our God because we have been graciously delivered. We who know the Lord have been delivered eternally through Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Psalmist in verse 9 says “I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” We are still in the land of the living and there is a reason for our being here. We have work to do and as we do so let us remember the secret of Psalm 116.