(7) Return, my soul, to your resting place, for Yahweh has dealt bountifully with you, (8) for you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling. (9) I will walk before Yahweh in the land of the living. (10) I had faith even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.” (11) I said in my alarm, “All humans (are) liars!” (12) How can I repay Yahweh for all his benefits to me? (13) I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of Yahweh. (14) I will fulfill my vows to Yahweh in the presence of all his people.
Two words are repeated in these eight verses: “soul” twice (vss. 7 & 8) and “Yahweh” five times (vss. 7, 9, 12, 13, & 14). One grouping of related words helps us grasp the message of the section: “resting place” (vs. 7), “delivered” (vs. 8), “walk before Yahweh” (vs. 9), and “I believed” (vs. 10). Because of Yahweh’s deliverance, the believer amidst afflictions and surrounded by deceivers can still experience rest or contented joy (vss. 7-11) and express the kind of worship that honors Yahweh (vss. 12-14).
I. My walk: trusting in Yahweh in all circumstances (7-11)
II. My worship: calling on Yahweh no matter what happens (12-14)
Yahweh’s faithfulness should inspire in us trust and devotion no matter what happens.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus gave his disciples a parable about a king whose servant owes him ten thousand talents (think of ten million dollars in today’s currency). This represents an amount greater than the man could ever have repaid. When the servant begs for mercy, the generous king forgives the debt and frees him. The remainder of the parable was focused on the forgiven servant refusing to show mercy to a second debtor who owes him one hundred denarii, a comparatively insignificant amount. Because he refuses to show mercy to the one indebted to him, the first debtor will now be treated with the same harshness he has shown to the one who owed him so little (Mt. 18:28-35).
From this parable we can formulate an answer to the question raised by the psalmist, “How can I repay Yahweh for all his benefits to me” (vs. 12)? Our immediate response to this question should be, “We can never repay Yahweh for the overwhelming grace he has shown us.” However, upon consideration, there is a better answer to this question. We can repay our debt to Yahweh by showing to others the same grace he has shown to us. The two great commands point the way. First, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and then, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 22:37 & 39).
Yahweh’s great love for us not only enables us but actually compels us to treat our neighbors with the same response of mercy and compassion God has shown to us. Remember Jesus’ words in the prayer he gave his disciples: “Forgive us our debts as (in the same way that) we forgive our debtors” (Mt. 6:12). When we forgive others the small debts that they owe us, we are actually repaying Yahweh for the undeserved love he has constantly demonstrated to us. Viewed in this way, we see how important a forgiving spirit is for those who claim to be followers of Jesus.