February 26: Psalm 116
A Hallel Psalm sung during the Passover meal
87.87 Ode to Joy (Joyful, Joyful), p. 159
Beecher (Love Divine, All Loves Excelling), p. 149
I love God because He hears the supplication of my voice,
He has turned his ear to me, and so I’ll trust Him and rejoice.
Death encompassed me and terrors of the grave swept over me;
I was in distress and sorrow; Then cried, “Lord, deliver me!”
Gracious is the Lord and righteous, merciful He is to all.
For the Lord preserves the simple, and saves them who on Him call.
O my soul, return to peace, for God has blessed you bountifully,
He has saved my soul from dying; Eyes from tears, and feet set free.
I shall walk before the Lord within the land of living ones;
I believed Him when I said that “they have great affliction done.”
In distress I said most boldly, “All men lie and live falsely.”
What shall I to God now render, for His gracious love toward me?
I’ll lift the cup of salvation, and upon the Lord’s Name call,
I’ll pay all my vows unto Him in the midst of people all.
Precious in the sight of Yahweh is the death of faithful ones;
Surely, Lord, I am Your servant; Of your handmaid, faithful son.
You have loosed my bonds and freed me, so I offer untoYou,
Sacrifices of thanksgiving, and pay what to You is due.
I will call upon the Lord’s Name in the presence of His flock.
In the courts of you, Jerus’lem, Praise the Lord, our mighty rock!
According to Matthew 26:30, Jesus and the disciples sang hymns at the end of the Last Supper. Since this was a Passover Seder, we know that their singing involved the Hallel psalms, 113-118, prescribed for that context, including the psalm here. Thus, in the very setting of the institution of the Holy Eucharist, just before He went forth to the Garden of Gethsemane to accept the cup from the hand of His Father, Jesus stood with his disciples singing the lines of this psalm, including “The cords of death encompassed me, and the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I beseech Thee, save my life!’… I will lift up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my commitment to the Lord, now in the presence of His people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” (Reardon, p.232)