I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living
This is a song of thanksgiving sung in the temple by the Israelites in gratitude to God for helping them in their time of distress. One could easily imagine Abraham and Isaac singing this psalm after the Lord delivers them from their ordeal.
Death As Precious
Psalm 116 is strong reassurance that God is concerned about every event in our lives. How lovely is verse 15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones.” Some scholars question the appropriateness of the NRSV translation, “precious.” There seems to be agreement, however, that the intent of the word is to assure us that death is for God a very serious matter. I choose to retain the word “precious” along with the sense of seriousness. That death is serious to God helps me believe that God never trivializes the realities of life. That death is precious to God helps me believe that God is emotionally involved with each of us. I covet the assurance that God is going to be as concerned with me upon my death as during my life. I welcome the belief that God is going to be emotionally involved in my death experience.
SOURCE: Content taken from FEASTING ON THE WORD, YEAR B (12 Volume Set); David L. Bartlett (Editor); Copyright © 2011. Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.
Life Recovery Bible
God deserves the credit
116:10-19 We will never be able to repay God for what he has done for us. But we can at least show our gratitude by fulfilling the promises we made to him when we called out to him for help. God thinks of us as his precious children, so we should thank him by keeping our promises to him. This may include making sure everyone knows it is God who deserves the credit for our deliverance.
LIFE APPLICATION STUDY BIBLE
God stays close to us in death
116:15 God stays close to us even in death. When someone we love is nearing death, we may become angry and feel abandoned. But believers (“his faithful servants”) are precious to God, and he carefully chooses the time when they will be called into his presence. Let this truth provide comfort when you’ve lost a loved one. God sees, and each life is valuable to him (see Jesus’ statement in Matthew 10:29).
SOURCE: Content taken from Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition. Copyright © 2019. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.
Catholic Bible Study
Walking with the Lord
by Michal Hunt (Agape Bible Study)
In the Responsorial Psalm, the psalmist expresses confidence that God watches over the lives of the righteous. Their deaths are a matter of significance because they are precious to God, who accepts their deaths as a sacrificial offering. In the response, we confess our faith in God to raise us up from physical death as we sing: “I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.”
Psalms 113-118 are called the Hallel (“praise God”) Psalms and were sung in the Temple on special feast days, including the Feast of the Passover. In verse 10, the psalmist testifies that he kept his faith even during times of great distress. Expressing grief over misfortune does not imply a lack of faith.
Then in verses 15-19, the psalmist writes about how God watches over the lives of the righteous. Their death is a matter of significance because they are precious to God, who accepts their deaths as a sacrificial offering. The psalmist views himself as a “beloved son”/servant of Yahweh, raised to know and love God all his life from the teachings of his mother, the Lord’s “handmaid.” He expresses confidence that God watches over him. Even in times of distress, he attends worship in God’s holy Temple. Despite his troubles, as a faithful son/servant of the Lord, he offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving in the Liturgy of communal worship as he fulfills his vows and praises the Lord.
The Temple Liturgy
The responsorial phrase “I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living” is from verse 9. It refers to the psalmist’s participation in Temple liturgy where he stands in the presence of God, which is a foretaste of Heaven, the true “land of the living.” Our response is an epithet associated with worship in the Jerusalem Temple that also appears in Psalms 27:13; 52:7 and Isaiah 38:11.
SOURCE: Michal E. Hunt at Agape Bible Study; used with permission.
PIANO: Francesca Larosa
Video with Vocal Line Included
Official LIVE video of Psalm 116 ‘I Will Walk Before the Lord’ (Francesca LaRosa – Psalms WORD FOR WORD) with the vocal line included to help you sing along! (Perfect for cantors to prepare for Sunday mass) Sheet music for this Psalm is available on my website (piano, vocal, and guitar are available NOW) at https://www.francescalarosa.com/ (Bulletin and worship aid inserts come FREE with your purchase as well). Prayers to you and your families, and may you always grow in holiness!
Commentary & Music
Psalm 116 Music and Reflection. Commentary at 0:24. Music at 3:52. Johan van Parys explains that by hearing the Psalms, week after week, God can use them to mold us into the people he wants us to be. Julia Elizabeth and Walter Tambor follow with a healing musical rendition.
- Location: Recorded live at The Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, MN
- Reflection: Johan van Parys
- Music: Julia Elizabeth, Walter Tambor
- Video: Jonathan Vikesland, Billy Scheremet, and Mike Schwinghammer
- Composer: Tony Alonso
- Published by: GIA Publications, 2014
Psalm 116 (I Love You, Lord)