Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the simple; when I was brought low, He saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. For you 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 kept my faith, even when I said, "I am greatly afflicted;" I said in my alarm, "Everyone is a liar." What shall I return to the LORD for all His bounty to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people. (Psalm 116: 5-14)
- - - - -
David's life, before becoming king, was anything but delightful. In this passage, David is alluding to a stretch of time where he was being pursued by King Saul.
In an effort to kill David, Saul turned many people against him. David's friends became enemies and everyone's words became untrustworthy. The whole world seemed to want David dead.
But in this, he discovered God's power. The LORD "dealt bountifully" with David; He rescued him from death, dried his tearful eyes, and strengthened his stumbling feet. And what we find is that God's great and very personal deliverance brings David towards making a great - and very public - response.
In fact, personal [or inward] deliverance should always result in public [or outward] praise.
Though many of us will never experience the fear in being the "prize catch" of a kingdom-wide man hunt, we have all experienced times where we felt afflicted, afraid, alone, and in need. And without a doubt, we all - as Christians - have experienced the Lord's deliverance from both death and a world of destruction.
Like David, the Lord has "dealt bountifully" with all of us: He has saved us. Rescued us. Redeemed us. Satisfied us. Called us. Named us. Graced us. Blessed us.
But what happens in our overly Christianized culture is that we forget our need to respond to God with public praise.
I think that we could learn a lot from David's two outward responses:
1. "I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD..." Like an honorable toast at a large banquet, David is saying that he will lift a cup to the Lord, making it known that God is the one to thank for his deliverance; his salvation.
But what David is saying goes even deeper than this. By making known his deliverance, he also is making known what he was delivered from; that he was needy, fearful, and imperfect.
You see, David is vowing to be vulnerable.
How often do we take chances to stand up, call for everyones' attention, and place that attention on the Lord's work in our lives? How often are we vulnerable enough to show the true extent of deliverance and grace that He has given to us?
When we deny vulnerability, we deny people the full view of those "bountiful dealings."
2. "I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people..." David also commits to serve God vividly in "the presence of all His people."
It was not enough for David to give God thanks both privately and publicly, he also wanted to "pay his vows" - or live in obedience - both privately and publicly. He lived righteously so that others would see him obey, hear him testify, experience him in freedom, and be encouraged that they too could do the same.
Over the past few years of pastoring, I have come to realize a trend among most new believers: When it comes to their faith, they almost always feel like they are alone. They look around and feel as if no one else is genuinely living out their faith. And when people feel alone, they tend to give into compromise.
David is saying that despite others, he will choose to live in obedience both privately and publicly. And what we do not realize is that it often takes just one person to step up and live righteously for others to be encouraged to join in.
So today, I challenge you with David's responses: Be vulnerable. Do not let the "bountiful dealings" that God has done in your life go unspoken today. Make Him known. And serve him both privately and publicly.
We would love to know: What stood out in today's devotion? Feel free to let us know by commenting in today's Instagram post! You can find it at instagram.com/declareglory
Greg, Declare Glory