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.
The psalmist describes his circumstances: "I suffered distress and anguish ... I was brought low." In his anguish he calls out to God for help and his prayer is answered: "He saved me" (see Psalm 116:3, 6). The psalmist then encourages his exhausted soul: "Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you." In the face of distress and anguish, our souls can rest easy because God, in His overflowing grace through Jesus our Savior, has dealt bountifully with us.
We can be at rest because God has delivered our souls from death. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has delivered us, soul and body, from death. The apostle Paul prays that these blessings of salvation will be ours, now and forever: "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Our souls are at rest because God delivers our eyes from tears. During our earthly lives, we will know sorrow and grief. We will shed tears. Yet even in days of distress we have the confidence of our hope in Christ. We do not grieve "as others do who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13b). When we live in God's presence forever there will be no "mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore" (Revelation 21:4b).
God delivers our feet from stumbling. We follow our Savior, bearing the cross as He said we must. When we stumble through sin and fear, we rely on the promises and guidance of God's Word, a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (see Psalm 119:105). By grace through faith in Jesus, our stumbling steps are forgiven and finally we will be presented blameless in God's eternal presence.
The words of our psalm may have been part of a hymn and a prayer for our Lord Jesus on the night He was betrayed. After Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Passover, "when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives" (Mark 14:26). Before He took up His cross, Jesus wept in an agony of prayer in Gethsemane (see Hebrews 5:7). He knew that He would be delivered into death. His feet would stumble as He bore the weight of His cross. Yet with confident hope, our Savior would have prayed these words: "I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living." With hope and trust in our Savior, who rose triumphant over death, that is our prayer, too.
WE PRAY: Lord and Savior, in You alone my soul is at rest. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. When life is difficult, how can we find peace and rest in God?
2. How did Jesus find strength to face the cross?
3. How can you be a source of strength and support to those in distress?
Today's Bible Readings: Judges 9-10 Luke 14:1-24
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