It is very difficult to buy gifts for some people. Either their tastes are particular of they have most everything in the price range you want to spend.
Could it be the Psalmist had this problem when he asked the question, "What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?" What can you give to God who owns all the gold and silver and the cattle on a thousand hills? There is one gift you and I can give the Lord that He doesn't have until we give it to Him. We can give ourselves!
This gift of self can be evidenced through a recognition that time,
talent and possessions belong to Him. We use them best and have them longer
when we give them to Him and He blesses our use of them. Follow in your
Bible as we notice how the Psalmist answers the question of verse 12.
I. WHAT SHALL I GIVE UNTO THE LORD?
. . I will give myself and
receive His salvation. v. 13.
Many of you have a Bible with chapter headings. The heading for chapter 116 says something like "A Psalm of Thanksgiving for deliverance from death." Many believe that this Psalm Isa. song of praise from King Hezekiah. They relate this chapter with Isa. 32 & 38. Turn in your Bible to Isa. 38:1-5. You see God added 15 years to Hezekiah's life; now he gives praise.
The first item of praise has to do with the cup of salvation. However this is interpreted, it relates to the saving power of the Lord and the individual acceptance of that offer in the promised Messiah Jesus Christ. It says, "I shall life up" and calls attention to the responsibility of each individual to receive the offer of salvation.
On your Vow card today, the middle area refers to the stewardship of talent. Whatever talent you and I have, it ought to be submitted unto the Lord for His use in bringing others to Christ. You and I need to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our personal life and then to witness to win others.
What shall I give unto the Lord? I shall give myself in receiving His salvation and I shall give myself in prayer ans concern for the salvation of others. Please list those who need our prayers that they might be saved.
Jim Harwood is a Chaplain in the United States Navy. He has preached here on a Sunday night. Some will recall that through him I was invited to preach a revival meeting in the First Southern Baptist Church of Pearl Harbor.
Jim was called to preach under my pastorate in Huntington Beach, California. He left a career in the Navy and went to seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. While there he participated regularly in the visitation program of his church.
One night he visited with his pastor and they went to a home of a man who was not a Christian. The pastor made an attempt to win this man to the Lord, but seemed to be getting nowhere. The pastor suggested they leave and come back another time. Jim then asked if he could say a word to this man and proceeded to lead him to acknowledge Jesus as Lord.
What was the difference in the pastor's presentation and that of the seminary student, Jim Harwood? Jim began by saying to this man, "You know, I pray for you every day and I've been doing that for several months." The witness bathed in prayer is always more effective.
Do you really want to see somebody saved? Is there really somebody you love who is lost and on their way to hell? Do you really understand no one goes to heaven because they are a good person but only because they have humbled themselves and received Christ? Then pray for them and constantly ask others to pray for them. If you don't care enough to pray regularly and ask others to pray for them, do you really care? Are you willing to make a commitment to that? Surely every Christian is!
What shall I give unto the Lord? Myself and a concern for others to
be saved; Notice the second point.
II. WHAT SHALL I GIVE UNTO THE LORD? . . I shall give
myself in service. v. 16
The Psalmist says, "Surely Lord, I am thy servant." What a great occupation; a servant of God. To serve God means you must give time to the Lord. We have to be a steward in the area of the time God gives each of us.
You know the same problem hinders every area of stewardship. Some say, "It's my time, it's my talent, it's my money," but one who recognizes they owe a gift of self unto the Lord, recognize all of time, all of talent and all of money really belongs to Him.
Hezekiah had a gift of 15 years added to his life. God gave it to him. In love and appreciation he gave it back to the Lord in service. Today, you are being asked to give your time. You are being asked to make a vow to be faithful in support of the worship services and outreach ministries. It is a demonstration that you give yourself to God.
After weary months of defeat and suffering in the Second World War there appeared the first glimmer of hope that the tide was turning. Winston Churchill said it was the beginning of the end. But there was a great need for more coal production and the Prime Minister called a meeting. There were present the miners themselves--not the executives or the administrators. He told them of the crucial need for more production and the assurance that somewhere out ahead, there was a victory. And then he came to his conclusion, which I shall paraphrase. "When our children shall ask us what we did to give them their good heritage, some will say, "I flew over Dunkirk', and others will say, 'I marched with the Eighth Army'. But you will say with equal right and with equal pride, 'I dug coal.'"
Industry does what is called a "time study." In this they evaluate how much time it takes for various jobs. It lets them know about time commitments. Suppose someone did a time study on you, what would it reveal about your commitment? More time for the things of the Lord than anything else? Or more time for T.V. than Bible study? Or more time for sports than evangelism? Or more time on beauty care than spirit care? What does the commitment of time reveal? It should reveal we have given ourselves to the Lord.
Now notice the third way that Hezekiah demonstrated that he was rendering
something unto the Lord.
III. WHAT SHALL I GIVE UNTO THE LORD?
A sacrifice of Thanksgiving! vs. 17 & 18.
The Keil-Delitzch Commentary says about this verse, "what is meant is literal thanks-offerings in payment of vows." It is the response of gratitude and love. Because Hezekiah loved the Lord and was grateful for the additional gift of years, he wanted to make some vows.
This making of vows is most properly done in response to God's gifts rather than an attempt to earn God's gifts. It is best not to say to God, "If you'll do this for me, I'll do that for you."
It is better to say, "because I love you, and recognize your blessing, I want to make and pay a vow. I want it to be a sacrifice of thanksgiving. That represents a mature Christian commitment.
In a Southern city the people of God were gathered for the mid-week prayer meeting. It was almost time for the service to be dismissed when one of the doctors in the community rushed in and said, "Mr. So and So is desperately ill. Five doctors have given him up. He asked me to come here and beg you to pray that God would spare him for just one reason, that he might get right with God and serve Him."
The people tarried and prayed for God to spare the life of their neighbor. God heard their prayers. God raised him up.
My friends, just as quickly as he got well he failed to keep his promise. He went on living just like he had lived. His attitude toward sin and God was the same. Just a few weeks later, now fully recovered, so he thought, he started upon a trip to another city but scarcely had begun that trip when he was suddenly stricken and died without regaining consciousness.
He started that trip in continued rebellion against God. He ended that trip in Hell. Proverbs 29:1 tells us, "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
Hezekiah's gratitude was expressed positively. You and I have the opportunity in a multitude of ways to express our gratitude and give unto the Lord because of all His benefits.
Right now, will you fill out the portion of this card that has to do
The text repeats a request of the Psalmist. In verse 14 and in verse
18 we have the same words. Notice them now. He wants all the people to
see him make his vow. He wants to influence his nation toward God. How
about you this morning? What are you willing to do in the presence of these,
God's people and in this, "God's House?"
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And Beyond. Amen? Amen!