How Can I Thank the Lord?

Psalm 116:12 “How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.” 

The cup of the salvation was a term used to describe one of the cups of wine passed around at the Passover meal. That cup was lifted for everyone to see. It reminded the people of how the Lord had delivered them from slavery in Egypt and brought them to the land of Promise.

We may lift a glass to give a toast at our holidays, but our customs don’t match the picture in this psalm. That doesn’t stop us from doing something similar with our mouths. We still hold up God’s salvation for all to see as we tell them about our salvation. The Passover, after all, was a foreshadowing of how the Lord would deliver us from our slavery to sin. Through Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead we have been set free from the chains of death and brought to the promised land of eternal life. It is our privilege to put this salvation on a pedestal. We lift up our Savior and his work by sharing them with everyone who needs to know.

And isn’t telling someone else one of the sincerest forms of thanksgiving? Isn’t it a genuine way to express our appreciation? Everyone appreciates a thank-you card, or even a simple thank you in words. Perhaps that gratitude is even easier to see when those who receive our gifts can’t wait to tell everyone else what they have been given. 

Your children thank you for the new sweater, but you know their appreciation for the gaming console is genuine when they run to tell all their friends about it. The psalmist says something similar here. How can we repay the Lord for all his goodness? It’s one thing to pray words of thanksgiving for giving us his Son and all his other gifts. Perhaps that thanksgiving is better expressed when we run to our friends and say, “Just look at what the Lord has done for me!”  

Lifting up a cup perhaps brings another picture to our mind. When we lift up a cup, it is generally to drink from it. We wouldn’t survive long without something to drink. In the same way, we want to drink regularly from the Lord’s cup of salvation. Our lives and words have not been never-ending expressions of thanksgiving for God’s goodness. We regularly need forgiveness. We regularly need of assurance of God’s love. We regularly need the strength the gospel message provides. We drink in the comfort and strength the Lord shares when we hear and use the word of God. Its life-giving message brings us face to face with the Savior who was willing to drink from another cup, a bitter one, in which he suffered the punishment for our sins. With such love he opened heaven’s gates to you and me.

We are the ones who stand to benefit by drinking from the cup of salvation. But drinking also expresses our thanks. We don’t let gifts we love sit in the closet collecting dust. We put them to use. We tell others what we have been given. Thank the Lord for all his goodness by telling others about his salvation, and by taking a good drink of it yourself.

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