Psalm 116 - NIV
1 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
5 The Lordis gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
6 The Lordprotects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lordhas been good to you.
8 For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
10 I trusted in the Lordwhen I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
11 in my alarm I said,
“Everyone is a liar.”
12 What shall I return to the Lord
for all his goodness to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will fulfill 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 faithful servants.
16 Truly I am your servant, Lord;
I serve you just as my mother did;
you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfill 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, Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord
Devotional from Steve Stockman
When I was a teenager, growing up in Ballymena in the 70s, Queen’s University’s Rag Week magazine was the closest thing we got to porn! Every year a few copies found their way across our classrooms faster than a modern day Tweet.
When I came to faith in Lower Sixth I gave up PTQ. The jokes and images were not in keeping with my following of Jesus.
Little did I know though that the dirty magazine got its title from a Psalm.
The notorious magazine’s title came from the City of Belfast’s Latin motto "Pro tanto quid retribuamus." This is taken from Psalm 116 Verse 12 in the Latin Vulgate Bible and is literally "For (Pro) so much (tanto) what (quid) shall we repay (retribuamus)"
The verse has been translated in Bibles differently – for example as "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?" It is also translated as "In return for so much, what shall we give back?”
In 2001 I was sent a photograph of something gaffer taped to the stage of the U2 Elevation Tour. It was those words from Psalm 116 (12-14), this time Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase in The Message:
What can I give back to God for the blessings he's poured out on me?
I'll lift high the cup of salvation - a toast to God!
I'll pray in the name of God;
I'll complete what I promised God I'd do
And I'll do it together with his people.
Bono would read these words every night of that tour before singing Where The Streets Have No Name.
These are powerful words of commitment. They are a recognition of all that God has done for us. They are seeking deep down in the soul how we might respond to such blessing. The answer is a vow of commitment to lift up the gift of salvation, not squander it and then to fulfil those vows in the community of God’s people.
The Psalmist’s words that named a filthy rag, then prayed by the biggest rock band in the world on stage have been words I return to again and again to renew my passionate commitment to God and his Kingdom.
Steve Stockman is minister of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church. He is also a writer who blogs daily at Soul Surmise, contributes to Thought for the Day on Radio Ulster and Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2. He is also a Director of the 4 Corners Festival. He is married to Janice and has two daughters Caitlin and Jasmine who love Summer Madness. He also loves his dog Jed, music, Uganda and Manchester City,