Psalm 116 - The God Who Hears

Psalms  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Tonight our prayer guide mentioned the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Of all the information cited there, you might notice that the life expectancy is only 43.6 years.
That means that in Afghanistan at 41-years-old I might be considered a senior adult! I’d be the ‘Almost Home’ or ‘One Slip from Glory’ Sunday School class!
But no matter who we are, how old we are, or where we live—death comes for us all.
The great problem with living is dying and the only solution is to call on the name of the Lord.
Psalm 116 is apart of the Egyptian Hallel which Israel sang as they remembered their rescue from slavery in Egypt by the mighty hand of God. In Egypt, Israel was near death but God heard their cries for mercy (Ex. 2:23-25) and rescued them. In response, they were called to love God and worship Him alone.
Like this psalmist in Psalm 116 and like Israel in Egypt, we Christians were once in danger of dying but Jesus died to rescue us from death and rose so that through faith in Him we could live.
We must call on Jesus to be saved from death.
We must love Him and worship Him if we have been saved by Him.
Let’s think about this psalm by thinking about this summary statement: I love the Lord who hears because He saved me, so I will worship Him.

Major Ideas


He hears my supplications (v. 1)
'hears' shama - The Shema (Deut. 6:4-9) was a response to what they heard from God; but here the shama (the hearing) so precious is God's hearing them
He inclines His to hear me (v. 2a)
'inclined' natah - the word is sometimes translated as 'stretched out' or 'bowed' or even 'pitched'; God stretches out, bows, or pitches His ear to hear every word from His people
[ILLUS] Squatting to talk with Madelyn; her usually responding with a hug
I shall call on Him (alone) (v. 2a)
As long as I live (v. 2a)
He heard me even as death, terror, distress, and sorrow engulfed me (v. 3)
'cords' chebel - snares, sorrows, ropes, pains/ 'terrors' metsar - straits, pangs, pains, torments
terrors of Sheol (Ps. 18:4; Acts 2:24 = allusion)
Psalm 18:4 NASB95
4 The cords of death encompassed me, And the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.
Acts 2:24 NASB95
24 “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
It was then that I called upon Him and He heard (v. 4)
'called' qara - cried (same as 'call' in v. 2)
'life' nephesh - soul, life, person, mind, heart, creature, body; NASB has 'save my life' while ESV and KJV have 'deliver my soul'; it refers to the whole person body and soul (e.g., 'fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell forever' Matt. 10:28)


The Lord saves because of who He is… (v. 5)
This is how the Lord first revealed Himself to His people after the Exodus
Exodus 34:6 NASB95
6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;
The Lord saves the humbled (v. 6)
'simple' pethee - sometimes translated as foolish or naive; perhaps the idea is innocent; HCSB has inexperienced; most likely 'humble' seeing as the psalmist's crying out to the Lord was an act of humility and in v. 6b he says, "I was brought low..."
Brought low
'brought low' dalal- also 'dried up', 'emptied', 'impoverished'; HCSB has 'helpless'
In salvation, the Lord provides… (vv. 7-9)
For our souls
Rest that we need to return to
[ILLUS] Noah's bird looking for a place to rest. / Augustine's quote: Our soul cannot rest until they find their rest in Thee.
From crying and stumbling toward death (v. 8) to walking before the Lord in the land of the living (v. 9)
[ILLUS] Stan and Jan’s kitchen sign, “Watch Your Step” / Jan pretending to stumble
The Lord saves from great affliction (v. 10)
Affliction is greater still when we didnt’ do anything to deserve it.
'afflicted' anah - also translated as 'humbled' in other places; affliction humbles and God exalts the humble
'believed' aman- trusted (Ps. 27:13; 2 Cor. 4:13)
What did the psalmist believe? That God would deliver Him.
Psalm 27:13 NASB95
13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.
That he was suffering for practicing righteousness.
2 Corinthians 4:13 NASB95
13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak,
Paul listed affliction after affliction but believed that he was suffering for following Jesus. He also believed that God was working his affliction for the good of others (2 Cor. 4:12). And he knew that God was able to deliver him.
The psalmist and Paul. Do you?
1 Peter 3:17 NASB95
17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.
The Lord alone is Savior (v. 11)
'alarm' chaphaz - to be in a hurry, be alarmed or afraid; we often speak too quickly when we are afraid but the psalmist speaks the truth to some degree here
Psalm 31:22 NASB95
22 As for me, I said in my alarm, “I am cut off from before Your eyes”; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications When I cried to You.
Paul alludes to this verse in saying that God is just in condemning sinners because all men are liars.
Romans 3:4 NASB95
4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, That You may be justified in Your words, And prevail when You are judged.”
Men make false accusations
Men turn out to be false saviors
The Lord alone speaks the truth when He says, “I can save you.”


By recognizing
Lifting the cup of salvation (v. 13a); the cup of salvation has come from the hand of God
In devotion
Call upon the Name of the Lord (v. 13b, 17b)
By obeying
Pay my vows (v. 14a, 18a)
By testifying
In the presence of all His people (v. 14b, 18b)
By trusting
Precious in His sight is the death of His godly ones (v. 15)
'precious' yaqar - valuable, prized, weighty, rare, splendid; perhaps this means that God doesn't take their death lightly; it doesn't happen frivolously; if they die, there is purpose in their dying because they are precious to Him
By serving
Surely I am Your servant (v. 16)
'servant' ebed - slave; remembering that this was sung during Passover, Israel has exchanged forced slavery in Egypt for grateful service to God; cf. Rom. 6:22-23
Romans 6:22–23 NASB95
22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
By thanking
I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving (v. 17a)
By recruiting
In the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem, Praise the Lord! (v. 19)


LOVE - We must love for the LORD who saved us from death (Eph. 2:4-5; 1 John 4:19).
Ephesians 2:4–5 NASB95
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
1 John 4:19 NASB95
19 We love, because He first loved us.
THANKFUL - We should thank God for saving us from death (1 Cor. 15:53-57).
1 Corinthians 15:53–57 NASB95
53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
CALL - If we haven’t, we should call on the name of the Lord for salvation (Rom. 10:13).
Romans 10:13 NASB95
13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
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