Psalm 116 – Conditional Love for the Unconditional Lover

We are not like the Lord in terms of our love for him.  God loves us because of who he is, and not because of who we are.  We love God also because of who he is, and because of what he does.  His love is unconditional toward us… oh to have that kind of love!

1 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

8 For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.
Psalm 116:1-2, 8-9, 15

Our love toward him is absolutely conditional.  The psalmist links his love of God to God’s hearing of his cries and coming to his aid.

This is natural for us to respond to God in this way, even though some might say that we ought to always respond as Job, “‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing,” (Job 1:21-22). The Job response is a love and respect for God which is independent of our circumstances.

I might suggest that we can only respond to God with love and respect in tough times if we have known his blessing in good times.  It is the knowledge of God’s goodness and his faithfulness which allows us to see those aspects of his character even when we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

The psalmist is thankful to know God, who delivers him from death and his feet from stumbling.  This is what we all want in our relationship with our Maker. We desire for his protection and his rescue and his guidance.  Because of his presence in our lives we can walk in the light of life.

Just know that somehow the truth of vs. 15 is part of the story of God and his people.  He considers our deaths as precious in his sight.  Not that he is bent on reducing our lives and killing us off.  Rather, I think God desires to spend eternity with us in a relationship in which we are no longer limited by our humanity.

In the meantime, we call out to the one who hears our voices and saves us…


Marc Kinna

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