I was chatting to a good friend this morning. He wanted me to collect something from a friend of his who was visiting his daughter in Lynnwood. Before we ended our conversation he said, “I’ll pray for you for Sunday. Please pray for me on Sunday. We will both be preaching.” He had found out that I’ll be preaching as would he and pray is paramount when you are to preach. Well, I want to look at Psalm 118, which is an interesting Psalm. Not all of it is Messianic but some of it is. It starts with thanksgiving and ends with thanksgiving because God is good.
Ps 118:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Ps 118:29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
We ought to live our lives this way as we start and end the day. When we pray or give testimony or even when we speak about God, we ought to start and end with thanksgiving. Thanksgiving shows we are appreciative, expressing our gratitude to God, plus it shows our dependence upon God, who is good and is the giver of all good things. The Psalmist does include a reference to the Messiah:
Ps 118:22 The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; 23 the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Jesus makes reference to this passage is Matthew 21:42-44; Mark 12:10-11 and Luke 20:17-18 as referring to Himself. Peter also does this in 1 Peter 2:4-8. There is a lot of material in this Psalm though I would like to highlight just a few matters. Remember the Psalm is about thanksgiving from a grateful, joyful and loving heart.
First, there is the prayer of faith in verses 5-7.
Ps 118:5 In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. 6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.
See how he tells of his condition (anguish). It seems as though the anguish was caused by enemies or an enemy of some sort (v100).
See v6, ‘man’, and v7, ‘enemies’. His prayer was sincere, passionate and urgent. The Lord heard and answered. The concept of being set free seems to indicate the answer was freedom from the enemy. Did you notice his faith in verse 7? As soon as he acknowledges that God is his helper he says confidently … ‘I will look in triumph on my enemies’. Not just when you have enemies, but whenever you prayer, do you pray with such confidence and dependence that God not only hears and answer but gives you the assurance that victory is accomplished causing a joyful heart because of a good God?
Second, there is the trust of faith in verses 8-14.
Ps 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. 10 All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 11 They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 12 They swarmed around me like bees, but they died out as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 13 I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me. 14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
By the trust of faith, I mean the Lord is the One we trust and depend upon. We don’t trust men to help us (v8) nor princes–people in high positions (v9)–we trust the Lord and the Lord alone. He wants us to depend upon Him. He wants to be our Father to protect and provide and help and guide.
Third, there is the assurance of faith in verses 19-21.
Ps 118:19 Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter. 21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.
The Psalmist has the confidence that he belongs to the Lord and that the Lord is his Saviour. The gates of righteousness can only refer to God opening up His heart to the Psalmist … and only the righteous … those saved by grace (God’s own) may go through the gate! Notice again he gives thanks to God for God hearing and answering his prayer. All who have bowed the knee and heart in submission to Jesus may enter through this gate of righteousness because they are God’s righteous children … made so through the washing with the Blood of Jesus. Is it not glorious to have the assurance of faith? It takes the sting out of life … especially when we are treated unjustly.
Fourth, there is the worship of faith in verses 24-29.
Ps 118:24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. 27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. 29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
When God saves you from your crisis, the response is one of thanksgiving, praise and heart worship. When God works, faith responds in worship and adoration! Failure here is tantamount to abuse!
Because of what the Lord has done for you and me through Messiah … and in so many other ways … we ought to make known what He has done for us!
Ps 118:17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
Dear God, help me to tell of all Your wonderful deeds out of a thankful, worshipping heart for Jesus sake. Amen.