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The response of love in the Lord's people, to the grace that had delivered them when at the point of death.
(vv. 1-2) The end of the Lord's dealing with His people is to surround Himself with those who respond to His love and confide in Him. This end is reached in the godly soul that can say, “I love the Lord,” and “I will call upon him as long as I live” (cp. Eph_1:4 ; 1Jn_4:16-19 ).
(vv. 3-6) In the verses that follow the psalmist describes the circumstances which revealed the love of the Lord, and called forth his own love. He was brought nigh to death and found trouble and sorrow. When at death's door, beyond all human help, the godly man had called upon the name of the Lord. In response to his cry, he found the Lord to be “gracious,” “righteous,” and “merciful” - One who is the preserver of the simple, and the helper of the helpless. The simple man is not necessarily a wicked person, but one that may be easily deceived by the wicked.
(vv. 7-11) The psalmist proceeds to describe the effect upon his soul of the Lord's gracious dealings with him in the time of trial. First, he is brought into rest, as the outcome of the Lord's bountiful dealings - the rest that comes from confidence in God. Then he gladly ascribes every blessing he has received to the Lord. He can say, “Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” The Lord has done it all. The Lord has given him rest of soul, and deliverance from death: He has dried his tears and kept his feet. Thus he can look on with confidence to the future and say, “I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” Rest of soul leads to a godly walk that has the Lord for its object.
Moreover, confidence in the Lord opens his mouth to witness to the Lord; “I believed, therefore have I spoken” ( 2Co_4:13 ). If his affliction drew out his confidence in the Lord, it also destroyed his confidence in man, as such. In his haste, or “agitation,” he had said “All men are liars.”
(vv. 12-15) The delivered soul owns its indebtedness to the Lord. The cup of sorrow has been exchanged for a cup of salvation. The psalmist gladly takes this cup, and confesses the name of the Lord. His vows, made in the presence of death, will be paid to the Lord in the presence of all His people. If indeed, he had succumbed to death, instead of being recalled to the land of the living, his death would have been precious in the eyes of the Lord.
(vv. 16-19) He now delights to own that he is the willing servant of the One who has set him free. In the presence of all His people in the courts of the Lord, in the midst of Jerusalem, he will pay his vows, and offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Thus, the Lord secures a loving and praising people to fill the courts of His house.
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Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 116". "Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany