1 I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. 2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. 3 The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. 4 Then I called upon the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!” —Psalm 116:1-4
We don’t know who the author of this psalm is, but a traditional association with the Passover has been made over the years. It’s good for us to remember that connection, because it reminds us that deliverance isn’t limited by our circumstances. In fact, God is able not only to deliver individuals but entire nations from the grip of death. So what we really have here is a personal testimony that is shared on a night where a national deliverance was celebrated!
Notice that the author of these verses implores the Lord to deliver his soul. The Exodus, as incredible as that deliverance was, removed the people from their physical suffering in Egypt, but this psalmist seeks help for his soul. He declares his love for the Lord, thankful that God hears his voice and supplications. In verse two, because of his confidence that God hears him and cares for him, he says that he will call upon Him as long as he lives.
Although we don’t know what the pains were that surrounded him, we know that they were serious by the way he refers to them as the “pangs of Sheol.” Thus he called upon the Lord to deliver his soul from death.
For believers today, because of the cross of Christ and His resurrection, we know that He has put our sins behind us, we have been made alive in Him, and thus we should praise Him all the days of our lives. It’s because of what Christ did that our souls have been delivered, and that also means that we can call upon Him as long as we live.
To bring this home, we can say that the end result of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus includes this wonderful assurance: We have lifetime access to supernatural help. The book of Hebrews tells us that we can “ . . . come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
What it all comes down to is this: In order for man to approach God, a change in his state needed to take place. Man had to be made holy. He needed to have a right standing before God. It was necessary for his sinful state, which would result in eternal death, to be changed. Because of what Christ did on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead, we now have lifetime access to supernatural help. God is a very present help in all times and for every need. In comparison with eternity, we are all living on the brink of death in this life that the Bible describes as but a vapor. The end result of the cross and resurrection was our being made alive, and we now have access to God through Christ and can call on Him, knowing that He will incline His ear to us all the days of our lives.
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