September 9/10, 2023
RCAC Pastor’s Desk Article – Pastor Alex Poon
Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,
David declared in Psalm 116:1-2, “I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because He inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.”
I recently returned from a cruise. It was the best time. We ate at the buffet each morning and lunch, but for dinner we visited the main dining hall. Imagine white linen clothes, white upholstered wooden chairs, waiters dressed in vests and tie, beautiful oil paintings hung on the walls, and a grand chandelier reminiscent to the dinner scene of the Titanic. But it was the food that captured my attention, more so, it was the availability. “What do you mean… I can order one more steak?”, “I can have two more shrimp cocktails and three more slices of cake… and walk away without being handed a bill?”
Never in my life have I had two steaks for dinner. Perhaps the reason is a good ribeye usually costs more than $20 and my wallet tells me it’s not a good idea, or perhaps my stomach simply just usually can’t handle it.
Here I was, receiving my favorite food, and having the opportunity for more, and more… if only I had the capacity. I could keep asking, and the waiter would keep giving.
David has faced turmoil and deep suffering in his life. He speaks of it in verse 3, “The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish”. It was like death had gripped him in the vices of its sharp fangs. It was like David was ensnared, caught in the trap set by death. Have you ever felt that way? Incaved in sharp and painful suffering?
David’s words do not end there – thankfully! “Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!’ Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful.” Oh, what good news! David can turn to the Lord for help, he can call upon His name for saving, and God will deliver for David and for us!
When you are in your distress – you may call upon the name of the right and gracious Lord!
Then He will turn His ear to you! Our God will not only hear your pleas from a distance, but He will press in, He will incline His ear to you! He will lean into your voice, as if to show you that He is indeed listening attentively to your crying pleas. You are not ignored! He has not abandoned you, our God has not muted your voice. He has not turned the volume dial down as if you have annoyed Him – no, our God has attentively, drawn His ear closer to you still!
So, what must you do in response? Love the Lord and take more from the Lord!
For David asks, “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?”
David answers his own question and declares, “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.”
When David needs more from the Lord, he remembers who has given him salvation, then he calls for more of the Lord!
We can render nothing in return to the Lord. We can give to Him nothing back for the benefits we gain from Him. We can return to Him no favor, as if we could “owe Him one”. We can do no such thing! There is no work we are capable of to exchange His benefit for ours – for we benefit from Him in ways that far exceed His benefitting of us. What need would our Almighty Creator God have for us, His creation? Nothing! But this is who He is; gracious and kind. He is loving and generous with His mercy and care. He is for you, and not against you.
David’s declarations remind us that we can be assured that our Lord is delighted, joyed even when His children press in to depend on Him further, and further still. Call upon His name!
Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Alex Poon