Summary: If it is true that we often talk about the things and people we love, then it's fair to ask "Do you love Jesus? How often to you speak of Him?"
“Soul Talk: I Love You Lord”
When we truly love someone or something we readily talk about the object of our love. Think about what you truly love – your heroes, your sports teams, your job, your favorite activities, your favorite food, your spouse, your boyfriend/girlfriend, your family. How often do you talk about what you love? Probably frequently – because we do readily talk about the object of our love.
So it was natural for the Psalmist to talk about his Lord and his love for His Lord. Psalm 116 is very personal, so much so that it is what we can all a first person testimony. The Psalmist shares, first, REASONS FOR HIS LOVE. Reason number one is in verses 1 & 2: “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” I love the Lord because HE PAYS ATTENTION TO ME. We all like people who pay attention to and listen to us. We like people who put down the newspaper, lay aside the remote, set aside the IPad, tablet, or computer and look at us when we talk to them. So, says the Psalmist, God listens to and hears us – He pays attention to us. When we call out to God there is no busy signal, and no recorded message. He listens, he hears, He remembers.
The Psalmist, in fact, uses two different words for ‘heard.’ “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice…;” here ‘heard means simply ‘listened.’ But in “…he heard my cry for mercy…” the word means God ‘inclined to me.’ That’s what’s emphasized in the next sentence: “Because he turned his ear to me…” The same word is used in Prov. 7:21 to describe the response of a man who is seduced by a harlot and turns aside to her; and it appears in 1 Kings 11:4 where it describes how Solomon’s wives turned away his heart after other gods.(1) So, says the Psalmist, God turns aside from what He’s doing to bend towards us. It brings to my minds the olden days before hearing aids – people with trouble hearing would place a funnel type device in their ear and turn it towards whoever was speaking so they could hear better. Or it’s like leaning over to hear the faint voice of someone lying in bed in a weakened condition. It’s what God does to us whenever we call upon Him.
Why does God pay such attention to us? BECAUSE HE LOVES US. It goes back to Dt. 7:7-8 (MSG) where the Israelites were told: “GOD wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important—the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. GOD stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” God pays attention to us NOT BECAUSE OF WHAT WE ARE BUT BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS. That’s why He hears our cries and prayers, why He bends down to us.
The Psalmist knew the Lord paid attention to him because he knew the LORD DELIVERS ME. (3-4) “The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD: “LORD, save me!” Trapped in a difficult, perhaps life-threatening situation the Psalmist called on the Lord. And he experienced deliverance THROUGH THE PROTECTION OF AND SAVING BY THE LORD. (5-6) “The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the unwary… when I was brought low, he saved me.” God saves us and give us life as well. In 2 Cor. 1:8-10 (NLT) Paul wrote, “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.” Through Jesus’ death God has saved us from the penalty of sin, and will – as we see in Revelation – save us from the presence of sin. In the meantime, as Paul indicated, He is saving us from the power of sin – He will continue to rescue us and give us life.
The Psalmist also loves the Lord because, he says, HE CARES BOUNTIFULLY FOR ME. Here he speaks to his soul (Verse 7): “… for the LORD has been good to you.” The word ‘good’ has the meaning of ‘bountiful.’ GOD PROVIDES IN EXCESS. (Phil. 4:19) “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” With God it’s not just mercy, it’s tender mercy; not just kindness but loving kindness; not just life but abundant and eternal life. It’s not just provisions, but abundant provisions (2 Cor. 9:8-11 MSG) “God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done... This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way…”