I'm now going to ask you to hearken back to your days in school,
when you first learned of nouns and verbs. You may recall that a verb which
takes the focus of a sentence is known as a predicate.
One thing about a predicate is that when a question is asked, it is expected that the answer to that question is supposed to contain the same verb. For example, if you ask me "What are you eating?," a proper answer might be "I am eating a sandwich." This is an appropriate answer because the verb "eat" is the main verb in both sentences. In contrast, "I am walking my dog." would have been an inappropriate answer. Not because it isn't. Maybe I am walking my dog. But it's a bad answer because you didn't ask me what I am walking, you asked me what I am eating.
With that in mind, let's look at a verse from Psalms:
Psalm 116:12(NAS) What shall I give unto the Lord for all His beneifts toward me?
The predicate in that verse is the word "give". Some translations say "render." Strong's tells us that the Hebrew word could be translated "return back," "restore," or "recompense," among other things. "Give" is probably the most accurate. No matter which word you choose, the idea is the same: God has given great things to me; hwo can I repay Him?
Based on our mini-grammar lesson at the top of this page, you'd expect the word "give" to be the predicate in the next verse, the one which answers this question. But you'd be wrong. Read on: Psalm 116:13(NAS) I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.
How about that. The verb is Take. The answer to what I will "give" to the Lord, for all He has done for me, is I will take--not give, but take. Take what? Take the cup of salvation. And call upon the name of the Lord.
Why does verse 13 provide an answer whose verb does not match up with the question? Quite simply, because there is nothing we can give back to God to square the deal. Taking the free gift of salvation is the best we can do.
Please note that nobody is saying that we are not to give to the Lord. As part of following Him, we are to give of our time, resources, and talents. But this will not give us salvation; it won't make things even. Nothing we could do could ever do that.
It's not a stretch to say that, though this Psalm was written hundreds of years before Christ, the use of the phrase "the Cup of Salvation" looks forward to Jesus' establishment of what is now called Communion, recorded in Luke 22:15-20.
When we take the bread and cup at Communion, we are affirming the basic truth that what Jesus did on our behalf on the Cross is beyond anything we could repay. So what do you do? You eat, drink, and walk in what He did.
*NOTE: This is part of a series of messages suitable for Communion. If, at your church, you take a few minutes to share a mini-message just before you take the Lord's Table, you may find these studies helpful.
All messages marked as Communion messages have 2 things in common: They take about 2-4 minutes to share, and they are centered around the broken body and spilled blood of Jesus at the Cross.
If you find that a particular study has been helpful, I'd love to hear from you. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.