In Psalm 116 the psalmist looks back over his life and sees the Lord working and rescuing and delivering and providing and so he asks himself the question in verse 12, “What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits toward me?” He is saying in essence, “In view of the mercy of God, especially in view of the His love manifested my life, what can be an adequate return for love like that – for mercies so great, for grace so undeserved?”
But what can we give unto the Lord that He doesn’t already own?
Psalm 24:1-2 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters.”
In Psalm 50 God says, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.”
What could we offer Him that would meet the high expense of His blessings? His benefits are:
Incomprehensible – Psalm 8:3-4 David says, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?”
Impeccable – In James 1:17 the apostle writes, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning”.
Inexhaustible – In 2 Corinthians 9:8 the Apostle Paul writes, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work”.
Inestimable – In 1 Corinthians 6:20 we read, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”.
The benefits of God are incomprehensible, impeccable, inexhaustible, and inestimable, so what can we render to God for all that He has done for us? The psalmist provides us with answers in Psalm 116, verse 13: “I will take up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the LORD.”
While it is somewhat unclear what the psalmist is referring to in the first part of verse 13, most commentators believe that the cup of salvation is referring to the Jewish drink offering which accompanied the thanksgiving offering that was given as an act of worship (Lev. 7:11-21; Num. 15:3-5; Matt. 26:27).
In other words, the psalmist is saying “All I can do is offer the Lord worship for all His benefits!” Worship is the appropriate response from a people who have been beneficiaries of the Lord’s benefits.
The Apostle Paul was in this frame of mind after he writes the first 11 chapters of his letter to the church at Rome.
In Romans chapters 1 through 11, Paul lists the “mercies of God”: The doctrines of salvation…God’s election, the Cross of Christ…our deliverance from sin and death…the resurrection of Christ…our justification, redemption, adoption, and sanctification, the gift of the Holy Spirit, no separation from the love of God, God’s faithfulness, and the coming glory.
When Paul gets to the end of listing these mercies, he’s about to burst wide open. And so, in verse 33 of chapter 11 of Romans, he erupts forth with these words, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways, for who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor, or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? It is all inscrutable, it is all undeserved. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to Him be the glory forever, amen.”
What produces genuine worship is our grasp of these wonderful truths, thus Paul starts Romans 12:1 saying (and I’m paraphrasing), “Brothers and sisters, in view of all the mercies of God (all of what I’ve written about in the first 11 chapters), I urge you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you.”
In Ephesians chapters one through three, Paul shares with his readers the spiritual blessings that Christians have been blessed with…a doctrinal smorgasbord… and at the end of chapter 3 he writes, “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, He has given us mercies that are unimaginable. To Him who is able to do this according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
What shall I render unto God for all His benefits toward me?
The answer is “worship”!
Worship is motivated by a knowledge of what God has done for the believer. Worship always comes in response to a contemplation of the spiritual blessings afforded to us in salvation.
In writing to Timothy, Paul gives his salvation testimony. At the end of 1 Timothy chapter one, he says, “I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor and yet I was shown mercy” And the mention of this wonderful truth concerning God’s mercy, Paul loses it and just has to give up some worship, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
That’s worship! It comes from a heart overwhelmed with the benefits of God lavished upon the believer.
Back in Psalm 116 the psalmist writes in verse 1 through 11 that:
- God heard his voice and his pleas for mercy.
- God delivered him from the attacks of his enemies that would have surely resulted in death.
- God dried up his tears and kept him from falling.
After contemplating these benefits, David asks himself the question, “What shall I render unto God for all His benefits?” His answer, “I will worship”!