David's Testimony of Deliverance Shows What we can Experience
"Return unto thy rest, O my soul: for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou has delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling." (Psalm 116:7, 8.)
Details of our individual lives may vary; but in a general sense human beings are of similar nature, have similar needs and desires, and can enjoy a similar experience of God's salvation — or, lacking this salvation, will suffer similar ruin and punishment forever. In our text David tells us something of the common experience of divine deliverance in the lives of all who put their trust in God. This experience can and ought to be far richer than is generally supposed. David was moved to thanksgiving when he recounted God's bountiful dealings with him. Let us imitate his example.
Deliverance from Death
"Thou hast delivered my soul from death." It is possible for the soul to be dead while the body lives (I Timothy 5:6), and it is possible for the soul to live after the body is dead (II Corinthians 5:8). Sometimes the word "soul" is used figuratively of the whole person, or with no intention to distinguish parts or divisions of personality, and possibly this is the ultimate and fullest meaning here.
In the strictest and primary meaning of the word, however, David declared as an accomplished fact the deliverance of his soul from death, . For every child of God this deliverance comes complete, once for all, and forever. "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me," said Jesus, "shall never die." (John 11:26.)
Without attempting to analyze completely the dreadful depths of death, we may note that if we are God's children we have been delivered from the Death of Damnation, the Death of Darkness, and the Death of Decay.
The unbeliever, the lost sinner, is already under God's sentence of condemnation. The true believer in Jesus Christ is no longer under that death sentence of condemnation and will never again come under it. See John 3:18; Romans 8:1; John 5:24.
As divine life is spiritual light (John 1:4), so the absence of that life is spiritual darkness, and as lost sinners we were in that death of darkness. (Proverbs 4:19.) But in Christ we are forever delivered from that darkness. (John 12:46.)
Sin is commonly figured in the scripture as disease and corruption. Live creatures grow and develop and renew themselves in health and strength. Dead things rot. Now, according to the scripture, lost sinners are spiritually corrupt and doomed to everlasting destruction. But we have been delivered from this death of decay: spiritually speaking, we cannot be touched by the destroyer. (I John 5:18.)
Deliverance from Tears
"Thou hast delivered . . . mine eyes from tears." As tears are naturally more temporary than life and death, so our deliverance from tears in this world is only temporary: that is, our eyes may lie dried temporarily but tears may soon flow again. Even so, our Savior was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." (Isaiah 53:3.)
Yet David found that when tears came his God was able to deliver his eyes from them, and we can find like comfort and deliverance. Among the tears from Which God delivers us are Tears of Toil, Tears of Trouble, and Tears of Torment.
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden," said Jesus, "and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28.) Certainly Jesus gives rest from the labor and burden of sin, but If there are tears from the natural toil and straggle of life He can deliver from these too. Even if we must still eat our bread in the sweat of our faces, Jesus can change our tears to smiles.
Moreover, though we are not exempted from the troubles of this world, we ought to remember, if we are troubled for Christ's sake, that "our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." (II Corinthians 4:17.) Tears of trouble are banished by the words of Jesus: "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33.)
Who has not shed tears of torment, torment of conscience, torment of sorrow, torment of anxiety, torment of pain, torment of fear? (I John 4:18.) But God delivers from them all, and some day — Hallelujah! — "God shall wipe away all tears" and "there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:4.)
Deliverance from Falling
"Thou hast delivered . . . my feet from falling." Yes, David fell into sin, as God's children too often do, but God delivers our feet from falling. "A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again." (Proverbs 24:16.)
We may fall on many occasions and for many reasons. We may stumble and fall because of Folly, Faintness, or Failure, but whatever the reason or reasons for our falling, God can deliver us from it
Sad to say, we often fall without the least excuse, as the result of utter folly. We neglected to watch our steps, or we placed our feet in forbidden places without consulting God. What can we expect but a fall? Trying to live a Christian life in this world without studying the Bible, without prayer, without seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, without the fellowship and encouragement of God's people in His church, is like running around in the dark. No wonder such people get so many bumps and bruises! Yet if you are God's child, He can deliver you from fallings of folly.
On at least one occasion, disciples asked to watch with Jesus for an hour fell into sleep simply because while the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak. (Matthew 26:36-45.) Paul admonishes us not to be weary in well doing, "for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 6:9.) So it is possible to fall because of faintness: our strength is not sufficient for the task. Isaiah tells us the remedy:
"The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary. . . . He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength." (Isaiah 40:28, 29.)
Finally, we must confess that sometimes when we have tried to do our best and have earnestly sought divine guidance and help in our efforts, we still fail and fall short of being or doing what we wished and what we thought was God's will for us.
We tried, and we failed, and we fell — but shall we be discouraged? No: God still delivers our feet from falling, even the fallings of failure:
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand." (Psalm 37:23, 24.)
Yes: "The Lord hath dealt bountifully" not only with David but with every soul that has ever committed himself to Christ for salvation. The fullness of this experience can be yours. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." (Acts 16:31.)
[From AAB, May 2, 1969, pp. 2-3. - jd]
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