I love the LORD because He Listened to Me. A Sermon on Psalm 116:1–9
I love the Lord,
Because He Hears Me!
† In Jesus Name †
May you always respond with love and adoration to the God revealing His grace and mercy, and the love of God shown you in Christ Jesus!
Why Do We Love?
It is the topic of thousands upon thousands of songs, of poems and novels, artists in every form have tried to paint it.
The greatest philosophers tried to explain it, the greatest psychologists have no explanation for it, and no one comes near being able to explain it, it is a mystery. Even languages can struggle to define it.
Yet, a child can express it in ways that brings tears and joy to your heart.
This word. Love
cHesed in Hebrew
And phileo in Greek
It includes within it the words devotion, mercy, loyalty, adoration, honor and so many more in English. It is physical and spiritual, emotional and psychological.
And the psalmist dares to say…
I love the Lord….. and with the word because, explains what we need to hear today.
We love the Lord, for He hears our voice and our prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen……
The Despairs of Life
These words, sweetly said by a 2 year old their mother, or said during a wedding or whispered between two people in their 90’s as they look in their lives, seem more powerful than any words said by any president or king.
The truth in that second is clear, blunt, disarming, and said with everything aspect of our beings.
It doesn’t matter if the 2-year-old just opened a present, or just finished a tantrum and is near exhaustion. The same goes for a psalmist, the cries of love for God in scripture come from the times where God has blessed, but also when the blessing is harder to see.
That is the context for the Psalmist, the writer of these words,
He knows God hears, that God reaches down to him, even when life is as broken.
3 Death wrapped its ropes around me;
the terrors of the grave overtook me.
I saw only trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Please, Lord, save me!”
In the midst of the cries of love, are these pleas for mercy. It is as in the gospel story, as the father cries out in adoration and faith, there is also the desperate begging to heal, and even to given our broken faith the strength to believe, to trust, even to depend on God.
I love those words of the father,
“I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
Been there, done that, Even as recently as yesterday.
We can know every instance of people crying out in Scripture, we can know all the prayers, but what I needed to hear, and I know we all need to hear, is that God will.
He won’t write us off because we don’t have the perfect life or enough faith.
He won’t write us off because we struggle to see His plan…
He won’t abandon us to our own wisdom, our own brokenness, We don’t have to remain condemned by our own sin,
No one is beyond hope, no one beyond God’s hearing range.
This is the testimony of the psalms, read them, over and over, as life tries to crush the writers, they find God’s peace, even if their problems aren’t alleviated the way they think is best.
They find as the psalmist describes so vividly here….something amazing.
He Leans Down.. and Hears
Hear it again…
1 I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
2 Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!
Last week, when my friends Jon was here, his wife commented about something we take for granted perhaps. She noted that when people come over and greet Debbie, many bend down, so as to greet her at the same level. (For reader’s, she is in a wheel chair) She, a lady whose husband has played and pastored in huge churches, said the love we show each other in this church is incredible and beautiful. I’ve seen the same thing done as people get on one knee to greet a child here.
It is that action that the psalmist pictures God doing, bending down, not in condescension, nor in anger, but with a heart full of love, a love which causes Him to listen intently, to listen carefully, to hear each one of us.
God listening to each of us, not like a potentate or world leader listening to us, but listening to us, hearing us.
God bending over to talk to you, to me, his eyes making contact with us, and we have His attention. He hears us…. And we love Him for it
No wonder the psalmist responds,
Yahweh is merciful and upright, our God is tenderness. Yahweh looks after the simple, when I was brought low he gave me strength. My heart, be at peace once again, for Yahweh has treated you generously. He has rescued me from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling. I shall pass my life in the presence of Yahweh, in the land of the living. Psalm 116:5-9 (NJB)
I used a different translation here for a couple reasons, but none as good as this.
You see that word Yahweh?
A lot of translations use the term LORD there, in all capitals. LORD is a title.
But the Psalmist uses the personal name of God, the name God gave Moses to give to Israel to use when they talk or pray to them, We aren’t talking about some God distant across a galaxy. We aren’t talking about a god made of brass or wood. We’re not talking about a God is weak and tolerates evil, but Yahweh, who is patient, not willing that any person should perish, but that all have the ability to return to Him.
As Luther reminds us, it is not enough not to use God’s name in vain, but we need to
He doesn’t just tolerate our prayers; He wants us to call out to Him. God wants to hear us, listen to us, care for us.
And assure us that we will dwell forever in His presence.
And so we can say with the psalmist
My heart, is at peace once again, for Yahweh has treated you generously.
For He is our loving God, who bends down to hear us, who comes to us to care for us, to reconcile us, to heal us, to send us to others to send us to the world, to let them know He will listen to them as well, and love them even as He loves us, cleanses us from sin, and makes us hole, and holy.
This is why we adore Him, why we are devoted to Him, why we trust and depend on Him, why we honor and praise Him!
Why we love Him… Because He hears us…
And promises to give our hearts the peace and rest that comes from knowing the love of God. A love in which Christ keeps us forever. AMEN?