Sunday, November 18, 2007

Rendering to the Lord

What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people. --Psalm 116:12-14

As we approach Thanksgiving this year my heart and mind have been thinking about all the blessings that God has given me and my family. I asked myself, "How could I show the Lord how much I appreciate His blessings?" While thinking about this, I was reading this Psalm and saw that the Psalmist had the same question. "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?"

I want us to look at this question this morning in light of Thanksgiving time.

Let's look first at the benefits the Lord gives to everyone. It would be impossible for me to cover all the blessings of God for my life this morning so I want to share with you just three blessings that I think cover them all.

1. The planning that God had for me.

I was not an accident and neither were you!

Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb. --Isaiah 44:2

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being un-perfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! --Psalm 139:15-17

Have you ever thought about why you were ever born? Well, there is one answer and one answer only for that question! God created you so that He could love you! He wants to express His love to you. This is a great benefit from God to me.

2. The purpose of God for me.

Rick Warren said in his book, The Purpose-Driven Life that "We discover purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ." Then He gives five great benefits of living a purpose driven life. I want to give them to you.

  1. Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life. "Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning."
  2. Knowing your purpose simplifies your life. "It defines what you do and what you don’t do."
  3. Knowing your purpose focuses your life. "It concentrates your effort and energy on what’s important. You become effective by being selective."
  4. Knowing your purpose motivates your life. Nothing energizes like a clear purpose. George Bernard Shaw wrote: "This is the true joy of life: the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one ; self being a force of nature instead of a feverish , selfish little clot of ailments and grievance, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."
  5. Knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity. One day you will stand before God, and he will do an audit of your life, a final, before you enter eternity.

From the Bible we can surmise that God will ask us two crucial question.

  1. What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?
  2. What did you do with what I gave you?

3. The promises that God has given me.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." --I Corinthians 2:9-12

The promises include every day blessings, but more than that, they include things of eternal value. Every promise that God gives leads to eternal life.

What shall I render unto the Lord for all these benefits?

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits [treatments], even the God of our salvation. --Psalm 68:19

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits [treatments]: --Psalm 103:2

What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits [bestowments] toward me? --Psalm 116:12

It is interesting to me that in Psalms 68 and 103 the word benefits means treatments and in our scripture lesson in Psalm 116:12 it means bestowments.

  • Treatment: To act or behave in a specified manner toward.
  • Bestowment: To present as a gift.

I think we could easily say that God does both for His children, that is, He treats us with His love and bestows His love upon us.

The Psalmist, in116, gives three things that he would do to render unto God for all He has done for Him.

I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. --Psalm 116:13

The Jews sometimes had a cup of blessing, at their meals, which the master of the family drank first with thanksgiving to God and then all at the table would drink also, giving God thanks.

At the close of His life on earth , God offered Jesus a cup. But what was in His cup? A cup of sorrow, a cup of suffering, a cup of pain, a cup of death.

Then said Jesus unto Peter, "Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" --John 18:11

And he saith unto them,
"Ye shall drink indeed of my cup." --Matthew 20:23

And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying,
"O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." --Matthew 26:39

He took the cup of death so we could have the cup of life. We need to accept this cup of blessing from the Lord.

In this cup of Psalm 116 we find everything we need to get to heaven. Let me name a few:

  • Divine Love
  • Atonement
  • Justification
  • Regeneration
  • Pardon
  • Adoption
  • The Holy Spirit

The Psalmist asked himself a question, "What shall I give to the Lord for His gift to me?" He answered it first by saying "I will take up His cup of salvation." I think he was saying, "I will not only take up the cup but I will make it my life!"

I will pay my vows to the Lord. --Psalm 116:14

He says the same thing in verse 18. The Psalmist is saying, "I will make a conscience effort to make good what I have promised the Lord." God keeps His promises towards us and we should keep our towards Him!

When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. --Ecclesiastes 5:4-5

God takes His promises to us very seriously and we should take our vows to Him seriously. Not just a fox hole promise.

I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. --Psalm 116:17

Those whose hearts are truly thankful will express their gratitude in thank-offerings. We must first give of ourselves.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. --Romans 12:1-2

The Psalmist gives this very thought when in 116:16 he says twice "I am your servant." He promised that he would serve the Lord, not only by saying thank you but by giving himself to the Lord's work.

The Psalmist tells where He will do this.

I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people. In the courts of the Lord's house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord. --Psalm 116:18-19

The question is: "What shall I render unto the Lord, for all His benefits toward me?" We need to ask that question this Thanksgiving!

I want to close with the words that Charles Wesley wrote:

Oh, for a heart to praise my God,
a heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels thy blood
so freely shed for me.

A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
my great redeemer’s throne,
where only Christ is heard to speak,
where Jesus reigns alone.

Oh, for a lowly, contrite heart,
believing, true, and clean,
which neither life nor death can part,
from Him that dwells within!

A heart in every thought renewed,
and full of love divine;

perfect and right and pure and good:

A copy, Lord, of Thine.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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