Updated: Aug 16, 2022
What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?
(Render means “to turn back” in a literal, figurative, or transitive sense.
Benefits means bestowment.
Bestowment means The act of giving gratuitously; a conferring.
Benefits mean 1. acts of kindness; favor conferred. 2. Advantages; profits; a word of extensive use and expressing whatever contributes to promote prosperity and personal happiness or adds value to property.)
God handed me Psalm 116 some days before the diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma, October of 2020. I aimed to memorize the Psalm. I had worked on it long enough to have it work in me. I grew in understanding of God’s mercy and grace toward me. This psalm was a cushion to me during the hard times ahead. It gave me hope that God was on this; I was not alone.
How He got my attention was with the first verse.
1. I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice and my supplications.
I was suffering from what I thought was hemorrhoid. It was enough to incapacitate me. I could stand for short periods of time, and walk a bit but not on a regular basis. Sitting was out of the question. I could sit on my leg/foot for a short time until the circulation got cut off. My typical day was laying down in bed for most of the day. I tried my best to be part of the family, to do my part in the chores, and care for the family, but cooking was getting to me. I felt my world closing in. I felt my family learning to do without me even though I was there. I felt like the door was closing on this huge part of my life.
It wasn’t my family’s fault. They had to figure out life without my help. They managed very well. But it hurt my Mom-heart.
After a time of this, they stopped hearing my voice. And stopped coming to me for help. That voice in my head would say,
“Nobody hears me!”
I didn’t notice the voice so much because it felt like part of me. When I read this verse, I exploded with hope! He hears me! I began to realize the voice was wrong. The second verse proved it to me.
2. Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live.
I pictured Him leaning way down to me as I lie there on the bed, not being heard by my family. I imagined seeing His huge ear in front of me as I told Him about my woes. My family already knew I had pain and discomfort. I didn’t have to keep telling them, so I didn’t. My dad used to say, “Complaining doesn’t change anything.” So, I held my peace unless asked.
I knew my family loved me. They treated me with so much respect and were sensitive to my weird situation. But it was a situation that just felt crummy. It wasn’t necessarily true that they didn’t hear me, they just had to keep going with life while mine slowed down to a crawl. I understood that and didn’t want to put guilt on them. This was not their fault! They had to continue, or things would radically fall apart on many levels. I was proud of them. And they each came in to talk when they had time. We had so many good talks, deep talks, that might not have happened otherwise.
As I proceeded with the Psalm, I found I could relate to this Psalmist. I don’t know who he was, but the words spoke to me in my situation.
3. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
I did feel that death was encircling me. Even before the diagnosis. Then after it, I could relate even more. And the pain!
I did find trouble and sorrow as I watched life pass me by. I tried to fit in and help out where I could but that was becoming less and less. I wanted my kids to continue and not be so burdened by their mom’s condition. As much as I didn’t want it to affect each one of them, it did. It caused me great trouble and sorrow. I would say in my heart, "It's not supposed to be like this!"
4. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
This just makes me tear up every time I read it. Or say it.
"THEN!" That’s the next step after feeling down, feeling death breathing on you, arriving at pain once again, and looking around instead of looking at Jesus! THEN CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD! It is actually natural to call out the Lord’s name, whether in vain or in desperation at this point. That should be a reminder to all of us! To turn to the One Who can save! And to ask for deliverance. For help. I mentioned this in the last post: Psalm 121:1-2 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
The whole Psalm just gives so much hope. God created all of this heaven and earth. He has the help I need! Not the hills, but the Lord!
5. Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
This verse says He is gracious first before He is just. What a relief! What a benevolent God! I love this reminder of Who God is!
He is righteous, which means just. If God is just, then we can fully trust Him with the outcome of any situation. He will always do the right thing on our behalf. If we are wicked, then we will get what we deserve, if we call upon Him and give overall to Him then he is merciful.
6. The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and He helped me.
Here I could totally identify! I am simple when I am helpless! Oh! I was brought low. That was an understatement in many ways! The part about Him helping me was yet to be seen. This required faith on my part. It seemed so far away from my daily life. But it gets better!
7. Return unto thy rest, O my Soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
This was faith. To tell my soul to return to rest. It was so far out there I couldn’t see it. For the Lord hath dealt bountifully with me? I really couldn’t see it. I had to talk myself into believing that this is the scripture God gave me for this time in my life. It wasn’t matching up with my experience so far. Yet in the back of my mind, I knew God has been faithful and gracious to me so many times in the past. I worked on recalling these times. It was an exercise that helped my faith.
8. For Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
This was for my future. I knew this. He would deliver me from death. It was very surreal to think of this in my condition. I cried a lot over the pain and the feeling of losing touch with my family and over what direction I go to get this help. When I cried though, I did think of this verse. He delivers my eyes from tears.
I definitely felt like I was unsteady on my feet. I had to move slowly and methodically. I didn’t realize that I was losing blood and would wind up with acute anemia. I thought I would always have to move like an octogenarian. It affected my psyche. And I didn’t like it much. But I had no alternative. Except to keep reading this verse and reciting it to myself.
9. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
Here is my victory verse! I WILL WALK BEFORE THE LORD IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING!
I could say this with confidence that I really didn’t have. But that is what courage is, isn’t it? It is not the absence of fear but confidence that eventually overrides the fear.
I will walk. Before the Lord.
I could see myself walking in God’s sight, with Him watching me. And the land of the living is here on earth. I will walk before God here on this planet earth that He made.
This next verse changes direction a bit and I had to pray and ask God, “What the heck does that mean?” When memorizing scripture, I have to grasp the meaning of it or what is the point? I have struggled with many scriptures trying to figure out “What does God mean here? And What does it mean to me? What is He trying to tell me that I am not getting?” And He showed me my own beliefs were in the way of the faith I needed to walk this out.
10. I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:
11. I said in my haste, All men are liars. (emphasis mine)
Do you see the twist of the theme in the Psalm? He is praising God for what God will do for him then he switched to his own thoughts and beliefs. I believed. There it is. Then: I spoke it. To me, it looks like the psalmist was complaining about his circumstances: I was greatly afflicted! This is what he believed. Then he spoke it. Out loud to anyone who would listen. Just let that sink in a minute. When you get to saturation level, then we can talk.
He also admitted to his haste in calling all men liars. Where does our help come from? Yes, from God but throughout scripture, and especially New Testament, the help was through God’s people or others. If we put “all men” in a box and label it with the word “Liars” on it, where will your help come from?
I had to look at my beliefs about healing, about how I got here in the first place with this affliction. I had to examine my heart. Can God use ordinary people to work out a problem? Does he ever use doctors and nurses to facilitate healing? I had to come to terms with some tight beliefs and loosen them up a bit after this confrontation. Could God work a miracle using whatever means He wants? And as I willingly available to let Him do so?
Yes! That was my answer. Does that mean the first person to come along that tells me what to do next is God? No.
Now, what do I do? I had to turn to God at every step of the way. I had to trust Him no matter how long it took. No matter which direction He took me in. And He took me in some very different directions. Some I would have preferred to not have gone, but I lived through it and am here to praise God!
12. What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?
13. I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.
Render means to turn back," So what shall I turn back unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?"
What do I turn back to the Lord for all He has done for me? As this Psalm states, I will take the cup of salvation… Cup is a container, or a lot, or a portion. I will take this portion of salvation, or deliverance. That means the whole kit ‘n kaboodle of it. The whole thing, I will take it. I will own it. I will live it out. It is mine unto the Lord. I will call upon His name as I take steps in walking it out. I will look to Him for direction and advice. Not to anyone else. Even if their advice is sound, makes sense to me, or is just what everyone else does with this affliction. He will get the glory for it because He set this cup in my life for His glory.
14. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all His people.
This was the hard part that I didn’t fully understand then but am living it now. I would be telling my story.
To a lot of people.
I thought, who wants to hear about my butt? How difficult is it to share about something that no one wants to ever discuss? It’s so humbling!
“It’s not what I want to be talking about Lord! If this is what you want, Lord, and it will bring you glory, (Oh God, it’s so embarrassing) then so be it.”
"What about my family? What about them? This, Lord, is a distasteful task. Yet I can see You in this. You never ask easy things.”
15. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
Precious means Valuable or honorable. So, Valuable in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. The saints are His holy or sanctified people. The ones that dedicate themselves to God. This means the ones that have a relationship with Him. He is intimately, and unequivocally engaged with their lives because they trust Him. So, when one dies, He values them in death as in life.
This spoke to me in a way that is hard to explain but I will try. I felt after reading it numerous times, that if I have to die from cancer, or He lets me live, I am valuable to Him. It gave me great comfort to know this. It also helped me face the reality that I might die earlier than I would have wanted.
16. O Lord, truly I am Thy servant; I am Thy servant, and the son of Thine handmaid: Thou hast loosed my bonds.
Here the Psalmist is announcing his identity and reiterating it for emphasis. The son (or daughter) of the woman He chose to bring him/her forth. And also announces that he/she has been set free.
When I spoke this out loud, I claimed to be His, I belong to Him, and through Him, I am set free! When I prayed this, I pictured God healing me from cancer; or setting me free from this life. Either was fine with me because I trust Him. This scripture comes to mind, where Paul wrestles with what is better for him and for those he serves.
Philippians 1:20-26 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now as always Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
Paul came to the conclusion to let God decide. And that was so inspiring to me. I am not Paul, yet together we are all considered saints. He had a ministry, and he is in a relationship with Jesus Christ still. I find great comfort in his words.
17. I will offer Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.
Sacrifice means what you think, a slaughter of the flesh of an animal. This means that offering thanksgiving in certain situations requires a dying of the flesh. That could mean humility, as in humbling myself and slaughtering the things I want to be, do and have. And in its place being thankful for what I am, have, and can do. This blog came out of a time that God impressed upon me to write. I didn’t want to write a blog.
“God, it’s so 90’s to write a blog! Do people even write/read them anymore?” I asked Him.
Silence usually means, I told you what to do, now do it. He is utterly patient with me. I did start the blog obviously. I hit the study hall for it, mentally. And I gave it my all. He let me write and write, and led me in a direction. Then when the time was right, He told me to tell my story. The last 6 posts are that story. (40-45) I know He’s not done with me, because I’m still here! And as the scripture above says, I will call upon the name of the Lord.
18. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all His people,
19. In the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord.
I so want to put an exclamation mark at the end of this Psalm!
I feel that this means all the promises I ever made to the Lord, I am accountable for them. I will do it now; the Psalm says in the presence of all His people. I don’t fully know what this means but I am asking Him to show me. In the meantime, I will write as He directs me to write.
I hope this has blessed you as it has blessed me. Oh, by the way, my last test was a biopsy of five areas of the tumor scars, no cancer.
God is in the middle of your situation. Ask Him to give you a scripture(s) to hold onto as you face your giants. He is gracious, righteous, and merciful.
By Monica DuBois