Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter – Psalm 116:1-14

1 I love the Lord, because he has heard
    my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
    therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me;
    the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
    I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
    our God is merciful.
The Lord preserves the simple;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
    for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For you have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling;
I will walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.

10 I believed, even when I spoke:
    “I am greatly afflicted”;
11 I said in my alarm,
    “All mankind are liars.”

12 What shall I render to the Lord
    for all his benefits to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and call on the name of the Lord,
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.

One of the things I really appreciate about the Lutheran Service Book is that it indicates the verses of the Bible which are behind the elements of the liturgy. The final verses of this psalm may be familiar to you as the words of an offertory which is sung as the offerings are brought forward. If you have a hymnal handy, you can find it in settings One and Two (pp. 159 and 176).

This psalm is simply best understood as the praise of an Easter person. Read it slowly and carefully. This really cannot be rushed. Let each line sink in and consider it deeply.

I delight in verse 7 myself. The psalmist urges his soul to return to his rest for the LORD has dealt bountifully with him. Anxiety takes so much energy. I have to admit there are days when I come to the late afternoon and am exhausted even though I have not done that much on that day. I think it is just the background anxiety of these days sapping my strength.

But God has delivered my life from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling. I said in my alarm that all men are liars. I was right. But God is not a liar. He keeps his Word. You and I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living. Rest in that promise today.

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