1 I love the Lord, because he has heard
my voice and my pleas for mercy.
2 Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The snares of death encompassed me;
the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”
5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
our God is merciful.
6 The Lord preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
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8 For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling;
9 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.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his saints.
16 O Lord, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!
This psalm is a hymn of thanksgiving for salvation. It was most likely written by David, and recounts his pleading with God during a crisis, and his experience of deliverance. From beginning to end, the psalm is a confession of the psalmist’s affectionate love for God.
It can be divided like this:
In verses 1-7, David confesses: “I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.” God is full of mercy, justice, and compassion.
In verses 8-11, David faithfully walks through great suffering. He declares he will continue in his belief.
Finally, in verses 9-12, David is moved by God’s grace, and promises to repay God’s kindness by proclaiming his name, glory, and the good news of his salvation throughout the world. David says he will worship and serve God among his people.
As I meditated on this psalm, my own faith was strengthened. David’s vivid account of re-birth reminded me of my own experience. As David begged for deliverance (vv. 3-4), so I prayed to heaven: “Who is in charge of my life?” This merciful God, who humbled himself to become flesh and enter this world, told me he was my Lord and Savior. He tasted death and entered Sheol to bear our sins and transgressions. He did this to save us from the judgment due to the wages of sin, and to reconcile us to God for eternal life. God’s goodness, justice, and mercy were given to us through the cross, so we might know what love is, and, like David, make a heartfelt confession that “I love the Lord.”
In September of 2014, shortly after I came to faith, I was arrested for illegally gathering to worship. I was shocked at the truth of the biblical revelation that the world hates Christ for no reason. When I was interrogated, when I was stripped naked and humiliated, I was speechless, silently shrouded in fear. Then I deeply felt the humiliation and death Jesus suffered for my sins. While my heart was struck by his love, my flesh was weakened by fear.
His word appeared in my heart: “I will be with you; I will prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies.” Slowly, I regained my peace. I believe that if God has allowed something, it is his good will. During the month in the detention center, God miraculously helped me through every difficult day. Meditating on his words became my motivation to live.
David not only cried out in the midst of hardship, but he also meditated on God’s righteousness, love, and faithfulness. He gave thanks and praise to God. My faith was strengthened, and courage and love flowed out of me to preach Jesus’s name to other prisoners. At the same time, our church grew stronger because of the persecution. Eight years later, our church has been divided into two congregations, and several brothers have been raised to shepherd the church.
Saints who have experienced the salvation of the cross have a strong and sincere confession of faith. These saints know the purpose of both their life and their death is to preach Christ, and to proclaim how he brought us from death into life. Although our service to him does not add one iota to his glory, the lives of God’s saints are precious. We have been redeemed with the blood of the Father’s only begotten Son, and we are his beloved sons in Christ.
Muzi is a pseudonym for a Chinese Christian sister who has been a single mom for many years. At first, her church was established by a group of women who described themselves as “those who go to the battlefield armed with diapers.” They had no pastors, only the Bible and prayer. In God’s timing, their faith was nourished and watered, the church grew, and God graciously provided a shepherd.
Thank you for the love of the cross. Through the cross, you encourage us to enjoy Christ’s immeasurable riches. You are with us, giving us peace of mind in high and in low places. We give you all glory forever!
Father, you know the needs of your family. Grant us your power and heavenly gifts, and remember the labor of those who preach. Bless their families; provide for the church’s needs; and raise up more brothers to serve as preachers. May your righteous hand fight for the church and deliver us from evil. Guard our places of worship; guard our children as they learn your truth. Keep the church united in love and diligent in prayer.
Father, we pray for the spiritual environment in China. Destroy the power of the anti-Christ. Allow the gospel message to go where it is needed, even when the Internet is tightly controlled. Save the souls of those in power, for their eyes and hearts are blinded by sin. Awaken their consciences from the hand of the devil, and revive the darkened hearts of the ignorant. Set apart that which belongs to you alone.
Father, may the Holy Spirit help us have a humble heart and a teachable spirit. May we examine ourselves, hear the Word and do it, and live out love so others may recognize us as disciples of Christ and give glory to you.