“The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For Thou hast delivered my soul froun death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.”

Psalm 116:6-8

From time immemorial, this psalm was sung by the church of God at the celebration of either the Passover or the Lord’s Holy Supper. When we read in the Gospel that “they had sung an hymn, they went out unto the Mount of Olives” it has reference to this psalm 116(together with a few other psalms). 

When I was a very little boy, and sat wondering at the celebration of God’s Supper, I remember how our minister always let the church sing the versification of this psalm. I hear them still: “‘k Zal bij den kelk des heils Uw naam vermelden . . .” 

It’s so gripping, this psalm. Note the beginning: “I love the Lord!” This inspired saint had been in narrow straits: “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.” 

But God did not forget His saint. He came and delivered his soul! 

We will hear of that in my text: 

God’s saint was preserved when it seemed as though he would perish forever.

The simple soul was preserved in the midst of all his troubles. 

First, from what was he delivered and preserved? 

From a low estate. 

Who is singing here? 

The simple. 

Well, that name has a bad sound. Simple people? At best you pity them, you smile a little, you finally ignore them. They are the miserable people with a very low I.Q. Easy pickings for the crooks and swindlers. 

But that is not the meaning here. 

God is simple: did you know that? 

Simplicity is one of God’s wonderful virtues. 

It is that virtue of God whereby all God’s perfectionsare God. It means that God is all His virtues, so that you can never separate any of His wonders and praises. They are one. 

It is nicely put in the Holland. Simplicity is “eenvoudigheid.” 

The simple soul and singer of my text is a man who has just one purpose in life: And that purpose is to praise God! 

You read of that same simplicity in psalm 27:4. Listen: one thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.” I think that you have the most wonderful definition of man’s simplicity in that text. 

But they sometimes become very destitute. Even because of their simplicity. When you are truly simple you are hated. Most of all by your own flesh. But also by the devil and the world. 

Listen to him: I was brought low, meaning that he consumed away. “Uitgeteerd” is the word in Dutch. 

It means that he was spent in an unequal battle with Satan, the world and especially the flesh. 

And what is the result? 

Death, tears and falling feet. 

Thus, instead of tranquil rest, he found himself in sorrow and distress, in the pangs of hell, and in the sorrows of death. 

Do not think too lightly of this. Do not say that such an estate is alien to the Christian. Do not boast of always being in wondrous assurance of your estate before God. 

For it simply is not true. 

When a man as Paul spent a night in fear and trembling, so that God had to visit him and encourage him, where does that leave you? 

When Paul exclaims in deep suffering: O wretched man that I am! where does that leave you? 

The estate of this man is usually the result of sin. 

You simply cannot sing and leap with joy in God when you break out in sin, in presumptuous sin. 

You cannot be assured of your salvation when you open your heart to the devil and sin. When you listen to the siren songs of the world, and when you are tempted and fall for the blandishments of sin in your own heart, you do not sing your hallelujahs. 

Then you sing psalm 116

Shall I tell you what you do in such a sorry estate? 

You say to God, your Rock: “O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul!” 

That’s what this saint did. 

And the result?’ . . . 

“Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea; our God is merciful!” 

Oh, but God is beautiful and lovely. He is so lovely that He will deliver your soul.

Let us look at that peculiar beauty of the Godhead. 

Here you are in deep distress because of your sinning.

What could you expect? Nothing but death, eternal death. I ask you, how often did you not say to your soul in your sorry life: If the Lord would deal with me now according to my deserts, He would cast me away forever from His care and from His love.

But no: He delivers us! That’s the constant Gospel for Christians. 

That’s the Gospel here in this text. 

“For Thou hast delivered my soul from death!” 

Remember Peter, the Apostle. 

Swearing and cursing and ranting: I know neither the Man nor His Apostles! 

And there goes Peter! Out of that hall and into the dark night, weeping bitterly! 

But note the graciousness of Jesus and of God. While Peter cursed, Jesus prayed. 

An angel flew to the Godhead on the great white throne; and said: Jesus is praying for Peter! And the Godhead said: I hear Him! 

And Peter might hear and see not many days after; He saw Jesus in private, and fell into His arms. We know not what was spoken. But in public we have watched both Jesus and Peter. With a face full of love and loving-kindness, Jesus says to him, and that three times: Peter, lovest thou Me? 

How would you, how would any one of us, how would any consistory treat Peter? 

But God says: I forgive you, Peter! 

And the angels sang. 

And so also here: the saint is delivered from death! 

Does this not sound strange? This man was delivered from death. He was already a saint. He had the Holy Ghost of salvation. And here we read that his soul is delivered from death! 

It’s really easy. 

We are delivered from death, oh yes. But we time and again fall back into death. And death is conflict, conflict with God. Then things become dark before our eyes, the eyes of our soul. And we cry bitterly like Peter did. 

But in the midst of the darkness of our heart and soul, the Lord comes with the wondrous light of His mercy and pity, and says: Lovest thou Me? And we fall into the arms of God. 

Is it not wonderful, is it not a mystery too deep for our comprehension that you can daily go to God crying in your death and misery and ask for forgiveness, and never be turned away? Can you understand that? 

He that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out! It stands as a beautiful monument to God’s everlasting mercy. 

“Mine eyes from tears.” 

Yes, the tears are dried. Sometimes those tears were never seen by your most intimates. They were the tears of the inmost heart. 

But God saw them. Three times we read in the Bible that the “tears shall be wiped away.” Do not think that you have to wait until you are in heaven until that happens. That happens every day. 

God takes the tears away like the loving mother her child’s tears, and God places a song on your lips, and you go about singing: He delivered mine eyes from tears! 

“My feet from falling.” 

Yes, we often stumble on the pathway to heaven. This man did. But we never fall with the fall that is eternal. 

When Jesus was brought before God in the temple; there was an old man. His name was Simeon. He spoke of a fall and of a rising again. God’s people are saved from such a fall into the nether regions of hell. But unto many in Israel Jesus was set unto a fall. 

But that does not happen to God’s own. 

Even while you are sinning, you are safe in the arms of God. 

Listen to Moses: “and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deut. 33:27b. 

But God wants you to learn the bitter aftertaste of sin, and the necessary work of repentance unto God. 

And His deliverance from falling is sure.

What is the result? 


Listen once more to my soul! 

Return unto thy rest, O my soul! 

Return unto thy Sabbath, O my soul! 

The rest of the Christian is the Sabbath. It is the rest that remaineth. 

And what constitutes that rest? 

I imagine that I could keep you busy with many words in explanation, but it is not necessary. It really is very simple. 

Rest is to look at God in the Face of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus said in the beatitudes: Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God! 

It means to look at the completed work that God has wrought in Jesus.