Psalm 116:1 – Why every believer prays (Part 1)

INTRODUCTION. The first of several posts on Psalm 116:1-4. These four verses of this psalm tell why every believer prays and how every believer was rescued.

I love the Lord, because He hears
My voice and my supplications. – Psalm 116:1

Psalm 116 is an outpouring of thanks to the LORD for His amazing grace extended toward the psalmist. The LORD has taken all the initiative in rescuing this helpless sinner from his sin and from the cords of death and has dealt bountifully with him and has placed in his hand the cup of salvation. The psalm, then, is thanksgiving for the goodness of the LORD. In this post we will be meditating on the first verse.

116:1 THE AMAZEMENT AND THE PEACE OF THE ONE WHO LOVES THE LORD

116:1a. – “I love the LORD.”

First, this love for the LORD is required to be a believer. Every believer loves the LORD and only believers love the LORD. Every believer cries out with the psalmist in an unashamed shout, “I love the LORD.” This is the deepest possible love of emotion and passion, a love of heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is the believer’s love for the LORD.

But second, “I love the LORD” defines the believer. There are many ways to describe a Christian. Born-again. Saved. Converted. Repented. Trusted in Christ. And, of course, there are others. But “I love the LORD” is the most unambiguous. This expression clears away all the mists and all the doubts. A believer is best defined as one who loves the LORD.

Third, “I love the LORD” demolishes any lukewarm counterfeits. The question that blows away the smoke and breaks the mirrors is the question, “Do you love Jesus?” Don’t tell me of your church attendance or of your giving to the church, of when you “prayed the prayer” or of how religious your grandmother was. Don’t impress me with your good deeds done for the church or with how you feel about Christmas. The question on the table is, “Do you love Jesus?” And, if you claim to love Jesus, how do you demonstrate that in your life? The life that overflows with love for Jesus will broadcast that love to others and will serve as an ongoing testimony to Jesus. This is what the psalmist expresses when he say, “I love the LORD.”

Before I knew Christ, I could love no one, for all I had was the twisted, selfish love of self. But now my heart overflows to the point of bursting with my love for the Lord, and that love for the LORD pours out in my love for others. But this love for others is strictly secondary for the psalmist in this psalm. This is a love-psalm from the disciple to the LORD. If this phrase were the entire psalm, the psalm would be complete. These four words express a complete thought and contain enough truth to fill entire books. How is it that the LORD would set His affections on this wretched man (Luke 5:8) and would make it possible for me to love Him (1 John 4:10, 19) “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37). “I love the LORD!” I long to shout it from the housetops. The Holy One of Israel is my King!

Next the psalmist adds the reason He loves the LORD.

116:1b. – “because He hears my voice and my supplications.”

How can it be that the LORD of the universe bends down from His holy throne to hear the pathetic cries of His feeble servant? Why would one so great pay any regard to one of such immense insignificance? How can we explain such grace? Consider these verses.

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry. – Psalm 34:15

He (the LORD) heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears. – Psalm 18:6

How can these things be? The answer is that God hears my voice and my supplications because, before time began in eternity past, He chose me in Christ to be His adopted child (Eph. 1:4-5) and because the Father sent the Son into the world to be the propitiation for my sins (1 John 4:10), and because God, by the power of His Holy Spirit, at a point in time, made me alive together with Christ (Eph. 2:4-6) and He made me His child (John 1:12); God hears my voice, I say, because I am His child.

My next post (on Psalm 116) will consider Psalm 116:2 and what the believer does in response to the amazing news that the LORD hears my voice and supplications.

SDG                 rmb                 4/14/2022                   #516