The Lord works in us to develop trust. This starts with our need for rescue, but our gratitude develops trust through voluntarily entrusting ourselves to the one who took a risk with us.

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Psalm 116:1

The writer of Psalm 116 was in trouble, so much so that he was calling out for mercy to the Lord. Mercy is very different from help. Help is when I am struggling, and need some extra resources to get through. Mercy is when I am overwhelmed and need the Lord to pull me out of something that is too big for me.

What strikes the Psalmist in this situation is that the Lord heard him. He responds in love and so this situation has brought them closer together.

Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. v2

The new place with the Lord is not only one of love, but it is also a place of assurance that gives him confidence to call on the Lord in the future.

The psalmist goes on to give the context in which he called on the Lord to save him.

The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, save me!” v3-4

The place of trouble is described in terms of overwhelming emotions.

Anguish – not mere anxiety, but such a sense of anxiety that he could think of nothing else and it was destroying his life.

Overcome – trouble and sorrow were so great that he did not have the emotional or spiritual resources to be able to handle the situation.

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. v5-6

When the Psalmist was in great need, the Lord stepped in and saved.

The Lord had waited until the Psalmist was willing to come to Him with a simple heart. All the attempts to hold on to his own agenda, his greed, his means of self-protection or anything else had to be surrendered. When he came with nothing but his cry for mercy, then the Lord saved him.

The Psalmists’ reflection is that he sees the Lord as gracious, righteous and full of compassion. Whenever the Lord steps in to save we are so grateful. Yet two more words are key.

The Lord was righteous.  The Lord was not going to be manipulated into intervening early.

The Lord is compassionate. The Lord has not followed a rule book here, he has been willing to save in a way that shows real heart.

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. v7

Having experienced the Lord’s goodness through being saved the Psalmist now has a new challenge. When faced with anxious situations He needs to reflect on how the Lord has been good to him in the past and choose to be at rest.

For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed; therefore I said, “I am greatly afflicted.” And in my dismay I said, “All men are liars.” v8-11

The Psalmist now has a new perspective on life. This perspective has come from two directions.

The Psalmist can see that the Lord’s rescue has opened the way for a greater degree of intimacy with the Lord.

In taking the Lord’s view of what has happened, the Psalmist is also confronted with a new understanding of the world around him. He has to recognise that the world is afflicting him and lying to him. These are uncomfortable truths, and yet we are taught to believe only what we experience through our senses. Believing God implicitly requires us to believe what our senses cannot perceive.

How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. v12-14

The Lord has revealed himself as trustworthy. Now the stakes are increased. In the previous situation the Psalmist was driven to the Lord by an overwhelming situation. Now the Psalmist makes a conscious choice to entrust himself to God voluntarily.

Cups in the Bible symbolically are linked to suffering, and yet suffering with a purpose of some future good. Many want the goodies from the Lord while being unwilling to trust Him in the hard times.

The Psalmist is willing to entrust his life and his reputation to the Lord and trust Him for his protection.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. O Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains. v15-16

The place of surrender by the Psalmist of his wellbeing in receiving the cup and being willing to look somewhat ridiculous in public is the death of the saints. This is precious to the Lord.

The Psalmist has been freed from the chains of insecurity so he can be himself. He can be the person God has made him without being hemmed in by fear of what people might think of fear of suffering.

I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord– in your midst, O Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord. v17-19

Now at the end of the Psalm we see that there is far richer sense of salvation and thankfulness than might have been suspected at the beginning.