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. (Psalm 116:1-2)
Success in Running and Life
Jess Movold is a runner and coach in New York City. In a 2020 interview, she discussed principles for successful running like self-discipline, workout plans, confidence, getting through the season, and getting off unnecessary medications. But number one on her list is finding what really drives you. She says: “Identifying this unlocks everything….Understanding why you put on your running shoes can be used to hold yourself accountable when you’re distracted or discouraged….Those inner passions will persist to drive you.”1
Scripture describes the Christian life as a long-distance race, a marathon. But often our intentions, goals, and plans go astray and we wonder why. The Bible says that loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength must be our highest motivation for everything.2 King David began Psalm 116 saying, “I love the Lord, for He heard my voice.” The rest of the Psalm describes his love for God who first loved him in various ways. Loving God can help us maintain a long obedience in the same direction and a life worth living for Christ.
This post builds on I’ll Hasten to His Throne.
I Love the Lord Because He Delivers Me from Death (Verses 3-4)
Scripture: The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called: “Lord, save me!”
Comments: As I mentioned in the last post, King David has had a life-threatening experience. Maybe it was severe sickness, maybe an enemy attack in time of war. As I write this, Russia is still invading Ukraine in Eastern Europe, so I was reminded to pray for the people there. Thankfully, God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) intervenes in human history constantly and He uses our prayers in the unfolding of His plans. Matthew Henry said that when God plans to bless us, He gets us praying. The Psalmist does not deny or minimize his trouble and grief, but he looks up to the Lord to rescue him from this crisis. He uses God’s personal Old Testament name, Yahweh in Hebrew. The Psalmist knows the Lord, and knows what he needs and wants, so he begs God for help.
Fritz Chery reminds us that many people hate to ask others for help. We want to do it on our own. When something is broken at home, we try to do it ourselves, even when we don’t know how. At work, we may be overwhelmed by a challenge, but refuse to ask co-workers for help. Maybe we don’t want to be a burden, don’t want to be rejected, don’t want to take a hand out, or want to pretend we have everything under control. The Bible encourages Christians to ask God for help perpetually because we will fail in our own strength. When God puts us in tough situations, He wants us to honor Him and call on Him.
Help Me Prayers
The Psalms are full of “help me” prayers. Here are just a few we can use: Do not be far from me, for trouble is near….You are my strength; come quickly to help me….Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my Helper. Do not reject me or forsake me….Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior.3
Scripture says: “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission.”4 If Christ the Son of God needed to ask God the Father and God the Spirit for help, surely you and I must not be so proud to think we can survive on our own for a moment.
Remember, the Lord first loved us and sent His Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.5 So surely He will rescue us from all kinds of troubles along the road to Heaven.
I Love the Lord Because He Protects the Unwary (Verses 5-6)
Scripture: 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.
Comments: King David puts his confidence in God’s unchanging character, not his own strengths.
- The Lord is gracious, generous, and merciful. He bends and stoops down to show kindness to needy people. Remember that Jesus came from the Father, full of grace and truth. He is not aloof. Christ comes down to reconcile the holy God to us, to adopt us, and to bless us with God’s steadfast love and faithfulness.
- The Lord is morally pure, blameless, and always does what is right and just and fair for all. Remember that sinless Jesus is the Holy and Righteous One who went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.6 And Christ gives us His perfect record. And Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.7
- The Lord is full of compassion, love, and pity, especially for hurting people. Remember how Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law from a fever, the deaf-mute of Decapolis, and the man who was blind from birth. He cured paralytics, lepers, and demon-possessed people. He healed the woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit for 18 years. She was completely bent over and could not straighten up until Christ cured her.8 He raised three people from the dead. And He did many more miracles. The Lord Jesus still has this compassionate heart, so we can approach God’s throne of grace with confidence and get His help in our time of need.9
Who Are the Unwary?
Psalm 116:6 says: The Lord protects the unwary (pthiy in Hebrew). In Proverbs, it is translated simple. Here it means humble people who are ordinary, inexperienced, untrained, defenseless, and weak. The Message paraphrases verse 6: “God is gracious—it is He who makes things right, our most compassionate God. God takes the side of the helpless. When I was at the end of my rope, He saved me.”
In Matthew 18, Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position…is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Children didn’t have many rights in the ancient world. They were seen and not heard. They were powerless, defenseless, and naive about all the dangers around them, so they needed special protection. We are all like that. So the Apostle Peter warns us, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”10
Let us love the Lord, praise Him, and keep on calling on Him because He protects the vulnerable. When we are brought low, He saves us over and over again. Bless Him!
To be continued
Notes (various Bible translations): 1 Hayley Glatter, “Coach Jess Shares Her Best Advice for Running Strong, Getting Faster, and Staying Healthy,” Runner’s World (7-21-20). 2 Mark 12:30. 3 Psalm 22:11,19; 27:9; 38:22. 4 Hebrews 5:7. 5 1 John 4:10. 6 Acts 3:14, 10:38. 7 1 Peter 2:22. 8 Luke 13:10-17. 9 Heb 4:16. 10 1 Peter 5:8