It is a very fitting label, and division. Though the whole Psalm entirely deals with the subject of thanksgiving as a gift-giving exercise, the first half can be said to be a testimony of sorts. David has been delivered in a mighty way in some specific circumstance. If we look at verses 6-7, we see he has been given something for which he is especially thankful. He doesn’t name the benefits he received, however. He finishes the testimony, in its general sort of way, and then begins to ask a serious question in a different direction.
Psalms 116:12-14 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.
Yes, David is asking himself the question of gifts… What shall I give to the Lord for all He has given to me? But, before you think this is about Christmas, remember that Thanksgiving is about giving a gift of thanks. The answer David arrives at is inconclusive, and certainly not the only answer, but it points us to what has lasting value to God. David decides he will celebrate his relationship with the Lord as a gift of thanks. Think, “Wedding Vows Renewal!” Yes, David mentions specifically a cup, a name, and a vow. Definitely sounds like a vows renewal ceremony to me.
First, he will take, or drink from, the cup of salvation. This is a toast to the Lord, a salute, or gesture of thanks for salvation. As thanks for salvation, he is going to ‘drink it up!’ Yes, he will turn up the cup and drink it all. Calling on the name of the Lord, Jesus, is the part where we take His name. We are referred to as the “bride of Christ” in the Bible. We take his name in salvation. We belong to Him. In the same way, married brides today take their husband’s name as a symbol of giving themselves to their husband. Spouses belong to each other. He is relishing repeating the name of the Lord over his life. Third, he declares his vows and his love publically before all God’s people. He is repeating his vows publically as a way of giving himself all over again to the Lord.
What other gift would you expect someone from the Land of oil and blood to give the Lord? Oil is symbolic in the Bible of the Spirit. And, the life of the body is said to be the blood. 1 Samuel 16:13 and Genesis 9:4 God does not want to live in houses or churches we have built. He wants to live in our hearts, which he built. He wants us to give ourselves to Him, as the greatest gift we are able to give.
Reading through the rest of the Psalm, we see that David realizes that celebrating his relationship with the Lord is one of the best gifts he can give to the Lord. He knows this will make the Lord happy, because, a life given entirely to Him is “precious” to the Lord. Looking at the last sentence in the Psalm, we can’t help but join David in praising the Lord, like all of Israel!
This Thanksgiving, what will I give to the Lord for all He has given to me? I give Him myself, and my thanks for the salvation and love He has given me. Without His name, His salvation, His love, I would have none of the benefits of a life with the Lord.