Psalm 118:1-18 A Thanksgiving Psalm By Anonymous
Psalm 118:1-18 Turning A Corner, Part 1
Psalm 118 is a thanksgiving psalm. It is the last of the six Hallel psalms (113-118). Because of that and Matt. 26:30 that says that Christ and the disciples sang a hymn, McGee believes that this is the psalm they sung. Maybe it was.
Today we look at the first half of this psalm.
There is a fair amount of repetition in this psalm. There is a fair amount of repetition in this psalm. When there is repetition in the Bible it is usually because God wants us to notice something. Notice in verse 1-3 that the psalm states that God’s hesed is forever. It says that three times. It’s because God wants you to know that He really loves you!
The psalmist acknowledges that God is good (v. 1a, cf. James 1:17). The psalmist is in trouble but God has given him elbow-room (v. 5b).
I had an older mentor who went on to be with the Lord about ten years ago. One day we had lunch and he told me that he was amazed to find a verse that said that God was “for him.” It was Ps. 56:9. Verse 6 says the same thing, that God is for us. Man really cannot touch us (v. 6b). If Jesus really sang this on the way to the cross then this verse has special meaning. It means that Jesus realized that even if He was tortured and abused, His spirit and relationship with God could not be affected. Even if He was put to death, He would be with God. Of course, the most torturous thing for Christ was the separation from God the Father He experienced when He took on the sin of the world (cf. John 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:21). But Christ now sits next to God, at His right hand (cf. Eph. 1:20).
It is best to stay close to God. The psalmist says this twice in verses 8 and 9. He had the same purpose of God and therefore, he had God’s support (v. 7) and protection (vv. 8-9). God was for him (v. 7a). Men, even powerful men, could not hurt him (vv. 8b, 9b).
If you read verses 10-12 and notice the repetitions, you’ll notice that the psalmist was surrounded. We know that Christ also was surrounded by bad men (cf. Ps. 22:12, prophetically speaking and bulls representing strong opponents).
Jesus was “pushed violently” on the cross (v. 13). But He clung to the Father for His strength to endure (v. 14). When you are pushed, do you cling to the Lord? When you represent God, do you focus on the fact that He is “for you”?
I had lunch today with a man who worked his entire career for a large denomination’s bookstore. He fellowships with a number of pastors who are depressed. I’m guessing they should be depressed. They don’t take the Scripture at face value. Of course, they’d be depressed. When the Scripture says God is “for you” and don’t believe that God is “for you,” you should be depressed. How can anyone feel secure if they don’t believe what God said in His Word? (That was a rhetorical question.) I went on to say that if the pastors were not preaching the Scripture as God’s Word, they should have been sued for malpractice. (I won’t be put up for a position of ambassador anytime soon or get invites to Dale Carnegie’s for lunch.)
The Lord helped the psalmist (v. 13b). If Christ had sung this psalm after the Passover dinner, He knew that God was going to help Him on His mission. He knew that Christ was His strength and would rescue Him (v. 14, cf. 2 Cor. 12:10).
The psalmist closes this portion of the psalm by telling us that God’s “right hand” (mentioned three times!) is lifted up and victorious. God’s right hand is symbolic of His strength and power. His power will succeed in exalting Christ and glorifying God (vv. 15-16).
The psalmist will not die ultimately, but will live forever with God (v. 17). Christ, also, as the prototypical forever-man, would not die even though crucified. He came back to prove that He lived and that through faith in Him, we, too, could live forever (cf. Rom. 6:5; 1 Cor. 6:14)!
The psalmist promised to tell what the Lord had done for him (v. 17b). We should also tell others what Christ has done for us (Acts 1:8; 2 Tim. 4:2).
Though God might discipline us, He will not allow us to be destroyed (v. 18). Christ was “given over to death” (v. 18) but rose from the dead. He still lives. Those who trust in Him, though they die physically, will live spiritually (cf. John 11:25).
To be “disciplined” does not mean to be punished necessarily. The author of Hebrews tells us that if God does not discipline us as a Father, we are not really His children (Heb. 12:5-11). Jesus was “disciplined” in the sense that God allowed Him to suffer on our behalf (cf. Heb. 12:3-4).
Are you allowing God to “scourge” you without falling away from Him? Are you allowing God to treat you as a son that He loves and wants to mature in Him?
. . . to be continued . . .
Proverbs 15:24-26 Movin’ On Up
What goes up, must come down. Unless, you are headed for Heaven. Then you go up and stay up (v. 24a). People headed upward do not end up in Hell (v. 24b). Sheol was the name given to the “holding tank” for the dead in the Old Testament, in context, the unsaved dead.
The Lord opposes those who oppose Him who are always arrogant (v. 25a). Humble people always seek the Lord (cf. James 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5). Widows in New Testament times, with no husband to provide for them, were usually destitute. Therefore, they were humble. The Lord has a special place in His heart for them (v. 25b; cf. 1 Tim. 3:5-16; James 1:27).
God doesn’t like people who plot other people’s harm (v. 26a). He really doesn’t like them.
On the other hand, when people are sincerely pleasant, they are acting from a pure motive (v. 26b). I wrote these lyrics to my very first song. “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body (Prov. 16:24) and I feel like an ice cream sundae.” I guess the Gaithers are not in any jeopardy from my songwriting career. But sometimes I do feel like an ice cream sundae.