Daily Devotional: Psalm 116:12-14


Today’s text comes to us from Psalm 116:12. Here’s what it says: “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?” Another translation words it this way: “How can I repay the Lord for all the good he has done for me?” This is a timely question to ask ourselves as we shelter-in-place. Personally, this question leaves me speechless. At times, I don’t know what I can give back to our Lord. This of course leads me to ask the following question: Am I supposed to have an answer to the question in Psalm 116:12? I think it’s important to acknowledge up front that even asking the question is already an act of worship.

When we examine the surrounding context of our passage today, the Psalmist clearly has an answer to his question. Here’s what he says in the next two verses: “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people” (Psalm 116:13-14). What’s the point, you ask? The Psalmist responds to his own question with worship to our Lord. Let me paint the picture for us very quickly.

Our author opened Psalm 116 by expressing his love for the Lord who heard his pleas for mercy (Psalm 116:1-4). Then in verses 5-7, the Psalmist worships the Lord by declaring truths about him. Finally, after the Psalmist recounts how the Lord delivered him from affliction and death (see Psalm 116:8-11), our author poses his heartfelt question in our text: “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?” Based on the context, the Psalmist answers his own question with worship. In fact, he had already been worshipping the Lord as I noted in Psalm 116:5-7.

This Old Testament saint courageously posed his question, which expressed his amazement over our Lord’s work of redemption and provision. This question then prompted his worshipful response. Likewise, we too can prayerfully ask similar questions, and then respond in worship like the Psalmist. We can do this because we have the Holy Spirit empowering us. “Jesus, open our eyes afresh to you and your works. Let your Spirit flow out of us in response to your love and care of us.” Amen.