The Cup of Salvation

(This post originated on the Christian Online Magazine in June of 2011, which is no longer available.)

Be prepared, this article is not for those with sippy-cups. We will drink from God’s fire hose. God’s use of symbolism in His Word helps to make complex ideas simple. Nevertheless, this idea of cups can present challenges. Let’s just say the cup is neither half-full nor half-empty. Cups can be full and empty at the same time. We will look at the cup as a symbol for our salvation and praises, and also as our contentment.

Psalms 116:12-13 NIV says, “How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.” Offer God an empty cup to fill. Coming empty to God will allow Him to fill you up without yesterday’s leftovers. Clean cups are empty cups. It’s Oliver Twist asking, “Please sir, can I have some more?” Because once you experience God’s goodness in salvation, you do want more. Do not have an empty cup for long.

The verse reads, “How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?” This implies that the author already had his fill of blessings. He already praised God for the good things in his life. So how do we go to God empty when our cup is already full of blessings and praises? It is continuous. First we experience God’s blessing, then we empty ourselves out in response. We come to God empty again, and “call on the name of the LORD” to get filled up. I like the New English Translation (NET) Bible’s rendition of the same verses, “How can I repay the Lord for all His acts of kindness to me? I will celebrate my deliverance, and call on the name of the Lord.”

It does not say, “How can I repay the Lord? I will get disciplined.” All discipline will fall away without desire to back it up. If you truly recognize what God did for you through Jesus’ death and resurrection, it won’t be hard to lift up your life to him. Coming to him will be a celebration.

Now let’s hold the cup in our other hand and look at it from a different perspective. Psalm 16:5 says, “LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.” God assigns our cups. Is your cup too big for God to fill? Are you unsatisfied? Are you holding a sippy cup, wondering when you can get a bigger “grown-up” cup? Are you asking for more than your cup can hold? These are valid questions when you present your cup to God through prayer. He gave us the cup. He gave us life.  He decides what goes in the cup that wasn’t ours to begin with;  the cup given to you is a gift.

God tells us to offer our lives or our circumstances and He will fill us back up. “You are my portion, O LORD; I have promised to obey your words” (Psalm 119:57). God is enough for me. Ever feel drained because you are overwhelmed? Let it go. When you feel that your portion in life is not enough, obey God’s words, and lift up the cup of salvation. He saved you, He can take care of it for you, and all you have to do is lift it up. By letting it go, you will have obeyed. You can’t offer something by grasping it so tightly that someone has to pry it from your fingers. You can’t be thinking about it, controlling it, and offering it at the same time.

I once experienced trying to control what my cup looked like. I tried to impress everyone I came in contact with. I wanted my plastic cup to look like a hand-painted teacup. A friend asked me if I was lifting up my cup of salvation. Was I so focused on controlling everyone’s thoughts about me that I forgot to celebrate Jesus? My faithful God restored my life when I started to praise Him—and He gave me a new cup! So lift your cups. Here’s a toast to God, praise and honor belong to Him alone!

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.