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Psalm 116:12

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 12. What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? He wisely leaves off fretting about man's falsehood and his own ill humour, and directs himself to his God. It is of little use to be harping on the string of man's imperfection and deceitfulness; it is infinitely better to praise the perfection and faithfulness of God. The question of the verse is a very proper one: the Lord has rendered so much mercy to us that we ought to look about us, and look within us, and see what can be done by us to manifest our gratitude. We ought not only to do what is plainly before us, but also with holy ingenuity to search out various ways by which we may render fresh praises unto our God. His benefits are so many that we cannot number them, and our ways of acknowledging his bestowments ought to be varied and numerous in proportion. Each person should have his own peculiar mode of expressing gratitude. The Lord sends each one a special benefit, let each one enquire, "What shall I render? What form of service would be most becoming in me?"

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 12. What shall I render unto the LORD? Rendering to the true God, in a true and right manner, is the sum of true religion. This notion is consonant to the scriptures: thus: "Render unto God the things that are God's." Matthew 22:21 . As true loyalty is a giving to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, so true piety is the giving to God the things that are God's. And so, in that parable of the vineyard let out to husbandmen, all we owe to God is expressed by the rendering the fruit of the vineyard; Matthew 21:41 . Particular acts of religion are so expressed in the Scriptures, Psalms 56:12 ; Hosea 14:2 2 Chronicles 34:31 . Let this, then, be the import of David's xwhyl kyfa xm, "What shall I render unto the LORD?" "In what things, and by what means, shall I promote religion in the exercise thereof? How shall I show myself duly religious towards him who hath been constantly and abundantly munificent in his benefits towards me?" Henry Hurst.

Verse 12. All his benefits toward me. What reward shall we give unto the Lord, for all the benefits he hath bestowed? From the cheerless gloom of nonexistence he waked us into being; he ennobled us with understanding; he taught us arts to promote the means of life; he commanded the prolific earth to yield its nurture; he bade the animals to own us as their lords. For us the rains descend; for us the sun sheddeth abroad its creative beams; the mountains rise, the valleys bloom, affording us grateful habitation and a sheltering retreat. For us the rivers flow; for us the fountains murmur; the sea opens its bosom to admit our commerce; the earth exhausts its stores; each new object presents a new enjoyment; all nature pouring her treasures at our feet, through the bounteous grace of him who wills that all be ours. Basil, 326-379.

Verse 12. All his benefits. As partial obedience is not good, so partial thanks is worthless: not that any saint is able to keep all the commands, or reckon up all the mercies of God, much less return particular acknowledgment for every single mercy; but as he "hath respect unto all the commandments" ( Psalms 119:6 ), so he desires to value highly every mercy, and to his utmost power give God the praise of all. An honest soul would not conceal any debt he owes to God, but calls upon itself to give an account for all his benefits. The skipping over one note in a lesson may spoil the grace of the music; unthankfulness for one mercy disparages our thanks for the rest. William Gurnall.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 12. Overwhelming obligations.

  1. A sum in arithmetic -- "all his benefits."
  2. A calculation of indebtedness -- "What shall I render?"
  3. A problem for personal solution -- "What shall I?" See Spurgeon's Sermon, No. 910.

Verse 12,. 14. Whether well composed religious vows do not exceedingly promote religion. Sermon by Henry Hurst, A.M., in "The Morning Exercises."

Read Psalm 116:12