“The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!’ Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you” (Psalm 116:3-7).
Have you ever lost something that was important to you and then found it? This would be an occasion for great rejoicing for you. On the other hand, how to you feel when you are at peace and find something you wish you did not? How do you react when you find trouble and sorrow?
In psalm 116, the author mentions he found “trouble and sorrow” (Psalm 116:3). Whatever it was he found, it was very serious because it threatened his life (Psalm 116:3). The situation appears to have involved some men who had lied to him because one of the author’s initial reactions was towards them: “I said in my haste, ‘All men are liars’" (Psalm 116:11). However, he also reacted by calling on the Lord: “Then I called upon the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!’ (Psalm 116:4); “I believed, therefore I spoke, ‘I am greatly afflicted.’” (Psalm 116:10). Because the nature of the Lord is to be gracious and merciful (Psalm 116:5), the author notes God delivered him from death (Psalm 116:6). The trouble he had found now left him and the psalmist says to his soul, “Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you” (Psalm 116:7).
As the writer reflects upon God’s nature, he finds comfort in how God views the death of His saints: “Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15). Knowing that God watches over His followers and views their death as something which is “precious”, the psalmist by faith and trust in God commits himself fully to God’s protection and states, “I will walk before the Lord In the land of the living” (Psalm 116:9).
He then considers, “What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me?” (Psalm 116:12). He will pay to the Lord the vows he has made and will focus on worshipping God and praising Him: ‘”I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people” (Psalm 116:13-14). He strongly desired to worship God because of all God had done for him: “O Lord, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the Lord's house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 116:16-19).
Unfortunately, in life all of us at times will find “trouble and sorrow”. How will I react if I find trouble and sorrow this day: In fear or in faith? I take encouragement from this psalm that, by trusting in God and remembering that He views my death as something that is “precious”, in faith I can believe that, if it is His Will, God will deliver me from whatever trouble and sorrow comes my way. If it is not His Will to deliver me, but to call me to my heavenly home, then I can rejoice as did Paul, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Whichever is the case, I don’t have let the trouble and sorrow that I may find this day rob me or my peace, love, and joy I have in Christ. I can say to my soul, “Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you” (Psalm 116:7).
“You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield” (Psalm 115:11).