Notes on the 116th Psalm

Pastor's Pen

Here are some notes on the Psalm that will the sermon text for Sunday, Jan 17, 2016

I.  I believed; therefore I said, “I am greatly afflicted.”  Psalm 116:10.

Not our typical response.  More often we will hear someone say, “I am greatly afflicted… (sad, ill, depressed, worried, victimized, oppressed, hurt, wounded, angry)” Therefore I said, I don’t believe. But even that feels a little too personal for most people.

Let’s depersonalize it a bit and say “there are people in the world who are greatly afflicted.  Therefore, I don’t believe.”  And some version or another of this statement gets made all the time with varying degrees of sincerity.

The psalmist turns the statement around.  He doesn’t start with the affliction, he starts with belief.  I believe.  This is shorthand for, “I believe in the saving power of God.”     He believed before the affliction and he believes in the midst of his affliction.  The existence of the affliction doesn’t challenge his belief.

Instead…

His belief gives him permission to speak of his affliction. I believe, therefore I said.  Speaking the truth flows out of believing in the saving God, even if that truth is an ugly one.  “I said, I am greatly afflicted.”

The psalmist shows us a different way to be in the world.  Affliction doesn’t mean there no God, rather belief in God gives courage to speak honestly about affliction.

II.  Listen to the words of Affliction
-The cords of death entangled me
-The anguish of the grave came upon me
-I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
-I was in great need
-I was in chains (vs.16 you have freed me from my chains)

III. These things happened to a believer.  His belief didn’t keep the trouble away.  Should think about that for awhile…

IV.  “I am greatly afflicted” Sounds less like a statement, and more like a prayer.  The Psalmist has a Person to whom he can take his trouble.

He prays the truth to God.  And God hears.

The sermon based on these notes is for Sunday Jan 17, 2016.  It will be posted on this website.