This week my focus has been the goodness of God—how He continually blesses us with the gifts of health, home, redemption, and protection, even though we are undeserving of His kindness. Today the question I want to pose is this: How do we respond to Someone who is so gracious and kind? The best answer is given in another psalm, this time Psalm 116:12-17, where the Psalmist describes three ways in which you and I ought to respond to the goodness of God—
Response #1: Salvation. First, he asks: “How can I repay the LORD for all His goodness to me?” The answer is then given. “I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.” Think about it like this. If you sacrificed your child, so that another child might live, what would you expect in return? I would expect that child to receive the gift of life with gratitude, wouldn’t you? So it is with our Heavenly Father! The Bible says He gave His very own Son to die for our sins. Therefore, what He now expects of every person in every place, no matter what else they accomplish in life, is to accept His Son as their Savior. “For how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” Hebrews warns. The greatest need of every sinner, then, which is what we all are, is the forgiveness found in Jesus Christ. But that isn’t hard to find. The Bible promises, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved!” (Rom. 10:13)
Response #2: Appreciation. But the Psalmist doesn’t stop there. Verse 17 adds: “I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD.” In other words, we’re to have an attitude of gratitude in light of all that Christ has done for us. The story is told of an army captain who was shot during World War II while dragging a friend to safety. Sadly, only the friend survived. The captain was killed. Hearing about their son’s bravery, his parents invited his friend to dinner one night. They wanted to meet the man their son died to save. The man accepted the invitation, but arrived late, was drunk, and showed the worst manners possible—gobbling down his food, belching at the table, and never even mentioning their son. Afterwards, the mother burst into tears. “O why, O why, did our son have to die for such an ungrateful person!”
Let’s accept the gift of salvation and thank God continually for the grace He’s shown us. Finally, verse 19 describes the third way we should respond—
Response # 3: Dedication. He concludes, “I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the house of the LORD—in your midst, O Jerusalem.” It may interest you to know that the Hebrews had no word for private thanksgiving. They knew that in order for it to be real, praise had to be expressed publically and involve the dedication of the person to God.
Let me ask you. Have you taken that step of commitment? Have you, by a conscious act of faith, received the Lord Jesus as your Savior, and in heartfelt thanks for all that He’s done for you, have you expressed your praise in a public way, letting others know of your love for Him? The Bible says the first way we ought to do that is by being baptized as followers of Jesus. If you haven’t yet taken that step of obedience, I encourage you to find a Bible believing church where you can be baptized and let others know of your love for Christ. But don’t stop there. Make it your habit in life to regularly testify to His goodness, not only in the congregation of believers, but also to those who don’t know Him yet and need to hear from you how good God is to those who follow His Son.
My wife doesn’t know I’m writing this, so I feel free to brag about her a bit. Cheryl is the most winsome children’s worker I’ve ever known. Wherever she goes, children follow. That’s been true of churches where we have served. In one church, there was no children’s music program. So she started one, and within a few weeks she had 60 young people singing to the glory of God. In Romania it was the same. We attended a village church near our home and noticed that they had no children’s ministry. So she started one, and within a month we had 100 children coming, learning about Jesus, and calling on Him for salvation. It was also true in our home. Cheryl ran a daycare for years, and of all the people who interviewed her as a potential caregiver for their child, I can’t remember even one who decided “No.” Why are children drawn to my wife? Because she is good to them! In fact, in many cases, she treated them with more love and kindness than their own parents. So why wouldn’t they love her in return!
I share that to remind you that what’s true of Cheryl is infinitely truer of Jesus. The reason people are drawn to Him is because He’s good to them. The Psalmist concludes, “I love the LORD because He heard my cry for mercy. Therefore I will take the cup of salvation, offer Him a thank offering, and fulfill my vows in the presence of all His people.” What about you? Has God been good to you? Then let someone know it today. “O, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”