Psalm 116:7-9 - 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; I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
"Return, O my soul, to your rest." We may be inclined to ask, "What rest?" So often we are restless and feel as if we are stumbling through life from one crisis to another. We may feel distressed and fearful because of difficult circumstances—illness, grief, family strife, or financial worries. Our souls may feel sorrowful and dissatisfied. We pray to be delivered, offering up to God our desperate pleas for rescue. In our psalm, the Lord gives us a word of reassurance. He has already dealt bountifully with us.
The Lord who delivered us felt within Himself the sorrow and fearful stumbling that we know so well. On Thursday of Holy Week, the last week of Jesus' earthly ministry, He celebrated the Passover with His disciples. After the meal, "when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives," to Gethsemane (Mark 14:26). That hymn may have been part of the Hallel, Psalms 113 to 118, a part of the Passover celebration. On the night before He went to the cross, Jesus may have sung or recited these words from Psalm 116: "The snares of death encompassed Me ... I suffered distress and anguish" (Psalm 116:3).
Jesus was delivered into death for the sake of our salvation. His feet stumbled as He carried His cross to Golgotha. There the innocent Son of God took our sins onto Himself and suffered the penalty of death in our place. Yet on the night before He died, Jesus may have sung of the life and hope that lay beyond the cross. "You have delivered my soul from death ... I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living." On the third day after He died on the cross, Jesus was raised bodily from death to once again walk on this earth "in the land of the living."
The prayer of this psalm finds fulfillment in Jesus' death and resurrection. The Lord has dealt bountifully with us. He has, in Christ Jesus, delivered us from sin and death. When Jesus returns, by God's grace through faith in Jesus, we will be raised from death as He was raised. We will "walk before the LORD in the land of the living," in paradise. We will have rest, body and soul, in Jesus' presence forever. Until that day of resurrection, our souls may feel restless and our feet will sometimes stumble as we walk through this earthly life. But we always find rest, not in possessions or health or relationships, but in Jesus, who calls to us each day, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
THE PRAYER: Lord, walk with me now until I rest in Your presence forever. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. How has the Lord already dealt bountifully with you?
2. Is there "rest" here and now in knowing our souls have been delivered from death?
3. Where do you go to find rest when you're having a hectic day?
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