Friday, 4 September, 2020
Title: A moment waits for me
By: Ps. Cheng Cheung
Preamble to Psalm 116
This Psalm is acknowledged to be one of a series of Psalms from 113 to 118 (Hallel Psalms) which were sung, chanted and recited as part of the Jewish Passover celebrations. Both Matthew and Mark recorded that Jesus and the disciples in the upper room sung hymns during that final supper. This would have been a few hours before Jesus’ betrayal and arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, His trial, and His crucifixion. Tradition says that Ps 116 would have been one of the hymns sung by Jesus and his disciples after the meal. In this context, the words of the Psalm are especially significant, given that Jesus would have been fully aware of the fate that awaited Him.
Psalm 116 is intensely personal. The pronouns “I” and “my” occur in every verse except two. The opening declaration is “I love the Lord”. People often tell openly of their “loves” – for their EPL team, a particular quaint restaurant, a movie with a twist or one’s home town. May we be as eager and spontaneous in expressing our love for the Lord God. Let us, like the psalmist, not be reticent in telling of our love for Him.
And why might this be so for the psalmist? His testimony of love and thanksgiving was borne out of deliverance from deep distress and anguish, according to this Psalm.
3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, save me!”
One’s suffering may pass. But the trauma of the pain and distress may take a long time to pass from one’s memory. What we learn during those deep experiences can be our treasure forever. Misfortune never leaves us where it found us. The psalmist went through distress, anguish and possibly a brush with death. In his desperation, he called out, ”O Lord, save me!” The Lord rescued him and now he is able to testify: ”I was brought low, and He saved me.”
Brothers and sisters, have you not known these three-fold blessings from God?
• His salvation – He has delivered our souls from death;
• His solace – He has comforted us in our tears;
• His steadying presence – He has kept our feet from stumbling.
The blessings of God above elicited a sense of responsibility in the psalmist. In verse 12 he asks ”What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?” Privilege entails responsibility. This privilege was conferred upon finite beings by the eternal God.
Twice, in verses 14 and 18, the psalmist gives his word: ”I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people.” Might we not say the same? Have we not vows to keep? Some of us have made sacred promises to God. Some have entered into private covenants; some have entered into public ones. God has been faithful to us and He has never gone back on any of His many promises to us in His Word. On our part, let us be faithful and keep those sacred vows we have made.
15 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints,” writes the psalmist. What a comfort this verse is to the believer. When God created the world, he looked upon the work of His hands and pronounced it ‘good’. But none of that handiwork was called precious in His sight. God’s people, His saints, are of far greater worth to Him than all the planets and stars of His creation. Brother and sister, that means you and me. And the death of His saints is precious in His sight.
That is the moment in which the believer is received in the eternal embrace of His heavenly Father. It is the moment in which the soul goes from the toil of the world to the rest God has prepared for him, from the labours of the earth to the rewards of eternity, from the sorrows of the cursed ground to the eternal joys of heaven, from the temporal fellowships of earth to everlasting communion with God and God’s people who have gone ahead. For the saint, death is a coronation, the last step of life that leads into God’s presence forever.
Guide and direct my uncertain steps on my heavenward journey, O mighty Jehovah.
Ever present is the thought,
that a moment waits for me.
When unworthy as I am,
Your glory I will see.
I will empty all my praise,
before your throne, O Father.
Every tear wiped away,
when I go home.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
诗篇116是非常个人化的。除了两节经文以外, 代词“我”和“我的”出现在每节经文中。 开头的宣言是”我爱耶和华”。 人们通常会公开地讲述自己的所爱— 他们的EPL团队，一家特殊的古朴餐厅，一部有曲折的电影或一个人的家乡。 愿我们也如此热切和自发地表达我们对主上帝的爱。 让我们像诗人一样，在表达我们对他的爱时不保持沉默。
一个人的痛苦可能会过去。 但是，痛楚和悲痛所带来的的精神创伤可能要花很长时间才能从一个人的记忆中消失。 我们在这些深刻经验中所学到的事情可成为我们永远的宝藏。 不幸绝不会让我们在它找到我们的地方离开我们。 诗人经历了悲痛和苦恼，还差点丧命。 在绝望中，他大声喊道：“耶和华啊！求你拯救我。” 上帝救了他，现在他可以作见证：“我落到卑微的地步，他拯救了我。”
在第14节和第18节中，诗人两次说：“我要在耶和华的众民面前，向他还我所许的愿。” 我们不也这样说吗？ 我们不也有誓言要遵守吗？ 有些人向上帝作出了神圣的承诺。 有些缔结了私人契约。 有些缔结了公共契约。 上帝对待我们是信实的，他从未在他话语中给我们的许多应许上失信。让我们忠实并遵守我们所作的那些神圣誓言。
诗人写道：15“在耶和华的眼中看来，圣民的死极为宝贵。” 这节经文对信徒是多么地安慰。 当上帝创造世界时，他看他所造的一切都很好。但是，这些手工都没有被称为‘在他眼中看来极为宝贵’。 弟兄姐妹，这意味着你和我。 在他看来，圣民的死是宝贵的。
这时刻是信徒接受天父永恒的怀抱。 这是人从世界的辛劳到上帝为他预备的休息时刻，从地上的劳苦到永恒的报酬，从被诅咒土地的悲伤到天堂永恒的欢乐， 从世上短暂的团契到与上帝和那些已离世的上帝子民永恒的团契。 对于圣徒来说，死亡是加冕，是生命通向上帝永远同在的最后一步。
万能的耶和华啊，在迈向我的天堂之旅，引导并指示我那不确定的步伐。总是在脑海中想起 ， 有个片刻在等我。当我如此不配时， 我会看到你的荣耀。父啊，我会在你的宝座前尽情赞美，当我回家时，每滴眼泪都擦干了。奉耶稣的名， 阿们。