What can I offer?
In Psalm 116, the psalmist asked, “What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me?” That’s a question every disciple of Jesus asks (sometimes again and again). The answer is always the same: willing, loving obedience to God.
In the first 11 verses, the psalmist describes an experience, or perhaps gives a summary of many experiences, with God. He talks of being overcome by the troubles and sorrows of the world, he was headed for death, and he cried out to the Lord for help. He loves that the Lord bent down to hear him and saved him.
Then the big question comes in verse 12: “What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me?” You get the sense that when he asked the question – just like when I ask it today – he knew he had nothing to offer that would come anywhere close to paying what he owed God. It’s not a question from boldness, “What can I offer?” knowing that he can pay whatever the answer is. No, it’s a question from desperation, knowing that there is no way he can pay.
But then it’s as if the Holy Spirit was interceding for him and gives him the answer. Here’s what I will offer:
- I will praise the Lord (verse 13).
- I will keep my promises to the Lord (verse 14).
- I will give thanks to the Lord (verse 17).
- I will keep my vows to the Lord (verse 18).
In other words, what will I offer? My willing, loving obedience to the Lord.
Psalm 116 NLT
1 I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
2 Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!
3 Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Please, Lord, save me!”
5 How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!
6 The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me.
7 Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.
8 He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
9 And so I walk in the Lord ‘s presence as I live here on earth!
10 I believed in you, so I said, “I am deeply troubled, Lord.”
11 In my anxiety I cried out to you, “These people are all liars!”
12 What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.
14 I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
15 The Lord cares deeply when his loved ones die.
16 O Lord, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people—
19 in the house of the Lord in the heart of Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!
God gave the Apostle Paul these words to answer that question, what will I offer? Myself, as a living and Holy sacrifice. It’s the same answer as God gave the psalmist because He never changes.
Romans 12:1-2 NLT 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Loving the Journey,