Psalms 118:1

 

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:1-4, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.[2] Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.[3] Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.[4] Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever.” Verse one gives two reasons to be thankful to the LORD. The first reason given is because “he is good.” That is one of the many differences between human beings and God. Human beings are not good. Human beings are evil compared to God. Sometimes we compare human beings to each other, and then comparatively speaking, we will say that a certain person is good. But compared to God no one is good. All humans have that selfish and sinful nature. Jesus said in Matthew 7:11, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Even when Jesus uses an example where human beings do good things in taking care of children, He calls us “evil.” The truth that the all-powerful God is “good” should have a great impact on all of us. Since He is good, everything that He does is good. He has a plan for you, and everything that He allows to touch your life is good because it comes from God who is good. Sometimes we do not understand the good until later, much later. It may be years before you can say, “There is the good. I see it now.” It always happens that way if you keep walking with Christ, because if you cannot see it now, He will eventually show you. And if you are a believer in Jesus, the challenge will be to recognize that God is good even when something “bad” happens to you.  

 

The second reason that we are told in verse one to give thanks to the LORD is because “his mercy endureth for ever.” This statement is made at the end of all of the first four verses of Psalm chapter 118. It is an important statement. Because we are not good, we need a lot of mercy. It is wonderful to be forgiven of sins. Anyone who has lived on the earth as a human over the centuries can have forgiveness through Christ. As the centuries roll by, people can still find forgiveness even as most of the world turns away from God. Why is that: “his mercy endureth for ever.” When a Christian sins, how is it that he or she can confess and stay in fellowship with Christ: “his mercy endureth for ever.” If you get saved and your life becomes a story of failure time and again, how can you get to heaven: “his mercy endureth for ever.” That is the basis for eternal security. What will believers in heaven say to each other as the ages roll by: “his mercy endureth for ever.” Is there a Christian who gives up after their many failures? Let’s hope not. But if there is, they only need to remember “his mercy endureth for ever.” Jesus accomplished a lot when He suffered and died on the cross. Only because of Jesus the Bible can tell us “his mercy endureth for ever.” No matter what you have done or how many times you have done it, you can be forgiven because “his mercy endureth for ever.” The Psalmist is right. Be thankful unto God because “his mercy endureth for ever.”

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:5-7, “I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.[6] The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?[7] The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.” Here is a prayer that God always answers, “Help!” The first part of verse six tells us why the Lord always answers that prayer for help. It says, “The LORD is on my side.” Some people say that the Lord does not take sides. Yes, He does. God takes the side of those who look up to Him and ask Him for help. Once you have the faith, and confidence, and knowledge that the Lord takes care of you when you call on him, then here is one of the good results of your faith: no fear. “I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” One human being trusting in God can defeat all those who do not trust in Him. He is the Almighty God. He does have all power. And then in verse seven the Psalmist says, “The LORD taketh my part with them that help me.” According to this promise, the Lord will also send others your way to help you. God uses people to accomplish His work. God will send people to help you.  

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:8-9, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.[9] It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” If you do not trust in the Lord, then you will trust in someone or something else. Here is the choice: trust in the Lord or trust in a human being. Guess which one will turn our well? Even if the man you are trusting in is a person of power and wealth, it will turn out much better if you trust in the LORD. Of course, the LORD has more power and wealth than anyone. The LORD has all power and owns all wealth. He disburses it to whom He will.

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:10-12, “All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them.[11] They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.[12] They compassed me about like bees; they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.” A lot of confidence is expressed here. Three times the Psalmist thinks about his enemies and their threat against him, and he says, “in the name of the LORD will I destroy them.” Evidently, the Psalmist is surrounded by enemies. In verse twelve he compares his enemies to bees. A swarm of bees can do more than hurt you: they can kill. But there is a way of getting rid of bees: fire. God has a way of getting rid of any enemy that may come your way. Face you enemies with the name of the Lord, and see what God does.

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:13, “Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me.” Beware of men. They will cut you down if they can. But God will lift you up. That is one of the many benefits of being a Christian. Jesus is guiding your life. Jesus will help you.     

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:14, “The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.” Knowing Christ is a relationship, and not a religion. The Psalmist uses the word “my” in this verse. The LORD is “my strength,” my “song,” and “my salvation.” These are three of the many benefits of knowing Christ as Savior. Without Christ we are weak, but with Him we are strong. How much strength is involved here: all power. That means that we can say along with the Apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” Christ is also my “song.” Believers can not only pursue happiness, we have the key to rue happiness: the joy of the LORD. Are you enjoying your salvation and the knowledge of your Savior? That is the only way to always have a song in your heart.

 

The LORD Jesus is my strength and my song, and also my salvation. Of course, we have “salvation” the moment that we accept Jesus as our Savior, that is, the moment that we trust in Him to save us from our sins. That means that we are going to heaven: guaranteed eternal security. But what about this life? What about the difficulties, sorrows, failures, disappointments, and disasters that we will experience? The LORD can save us from those also. The Christian experience should be going from victory to victory over all these things. If we turn to the LORD Jesus each time something happens to us, we will find the victory that faith in the LORD can give. If you have a normal Christian life, you should be able to look at your life so far and say, “Yes, I have had many troubles and sorrows, but the LORD delivered me out of each one.”

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:15-16, “The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.[16] The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.” “The voice of rejoicing and salvation” is a great phrase, and it ties into what we have already read in this Psalm. This assumes that if you have been saved, then you will rejoice. Rejoicing is one of the many benefits of salvation, and rejoicing is an evidence of salvation. How much do you rejoice? Paul told the Philippian Christians in Philippians 3:1, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord…” If your soul has been saved through faith in Christ, then you always have great reason to rejoice. And then if you learn to trust in the Lord for the things that come your way in life, you will see many acts of God to work things out, to change things, and to fix things. All these things will be done, not by your abilities and your efforts, but by “the right hand of the LORD,” which signifies His power and His strength. Sometimes it is best not to do anything, but to trust in the Lord Jesus, and then see what He does.

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:17-18, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.[18] The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.” The Psalmist was in such dire straits that he feared he could even die because of the situation that he was in. Believers should not fear death. We are going to live as long as the Lord wants us to live. One of the primary reasons that Jesus wants us to remain on the earth longer is that we will speak for Him. The Lord uses His people as His spoke-persons and His mouth-pieces. Our message should be about the Lord and “the works of the LORD.” His greatest work was to die on the cross to take away our sins. His other works are all the things recorded in the Bible and all the things He has done for you in your life. There is a lot of declaring that needs to taking place to fulfill His will in this regard.

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:19-21, “Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD:[20] This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.[21] I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.” The Psalmist has a prayer that God would open “the gates of righteousness.” The Psalmist wants to do the right thing. He wants to live a righteous life. This is the desire of anyone who turns to Christ. But we cannot go through a door that leads to a better life, a life of bearing fruit for Christ, unless He open that door for us. God opens the door that no man can shut, and God shuts the door that no man can open. We are weak. We do not know what to do or where to go, and we will go the wrong way and simply be a part of the world without God’s help. The Psalmist’s prayer was answered. He was helped to have a life that was a testimony and therefore, he bore fruit for Christ. He took no credit to himself for anything that he did, and so he gave glory to God. God heard his prayer. God saved him from a meaningless and fruitless life.   

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:22-23, “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.[23] This is the LORD's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” Suddenly, we are given a Messianic verse in this Psalm. Jesus was rejected. He was rejected by the leaders of the religion in Jerusalem. But God turned the tables. Not only did Jesus die for the sins of the world, but He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Every knee shall bow to Him and every tongue confess. The Lord did it for Jesus, and He can do it for us too, but on a smaller scale of course. It is a marvelous thing to see when He that sits in the heavens laughs, and changes the outcome to the benefit of those that believe and trust in Him.

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” This is a beautiful Bible verse with a great message to it. A Christian song has been made with this verse. It is a beautiful song too. Today is an important day. It is important because God made this day and gave it to us. The question is this: what will we do with this day? According to this verse, there are two things to make sure that we do: “rejoice” and “be glad.” It says, “we will rejoice and be glad.” That involves a decision and a determination. In other words, you can rejoice if you want to bad enough. Christians certainly have great reasons to rejoice. God loves us with a great eternal love. He will always love us in spite of the fact that we are weak and often failing. Jesus died for us. Because of that we have forgiveness of sins and a final home in heaven. We also have all the promises of the Bible to comfort us and to remind us of all the resources that God puts at our disposal: answers to prayer, His presence, His promise to protect us, to provide for us, and to use us for His glory; and many other wonderful things. Rejoice in the Lord, and be glad. To be glad is to be happy. Christians should be the happiest people in the world. We can see from this verse that happiness is a decision. You can be happy if you decide to be happy. It is that simple. We certainly have all the reasons to be happy.    

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:25, “Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: Oh Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.” There is a lot of insecurity to life from a human standpoint. Crops can fail, plans can be thwarted, diseases and wars can come, disasters may happen any day. One of the great sufferings of life is poverty. Although there can be certain benefits to poverty, such as learning to appreciate things when once you have them, learning the value of a dollar, and learning the result of hard work especially if you live in a country where capitalism gives you the freedom to improve your lot in life through hard work and taking the advantage of opportunity. But believers know that we are dependent upon God to give us “prosperity.” In this modern world that prayer has often been answered. Human beings on average are more prosperous than ever before. The question is: what will you do with your prosperity? Will you use it to serve the Lord Jesus and to glorify His name? Will you use it to build something that will last? Will you give to those who are serving Him so they can continue to spend their time serving Him?

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:26, “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.” Jesus is the greatest One who comes in the name of the Lord. To be a little bit like Jesus and to also come in the name of the Lord means that we speak in the name of the Lord. The best way to do that is to speak the Word of God. That is what takes place in church services. That is what takes place where Christians gather together in order to hear the Word of God. In the Old Testament “house of the LORD” was the temple. In the New Testament “house of the LORD” are the people together, and thus where the people of God gather together.

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:27, “God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” God is the One who lives forever, and He gives us life through the truth that shines in darkness. Jesus is the Truth. Through Jesus we have the light of life. And we have that life because He was bound figuratively with cords to the altar of the cross. Nothing could make Him come down: not to save Himself, not to escape the insults, not to destroy the enemies of God. He sacrificed Himself on the altar of Calvary’s cross.  

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:28, “Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.” The phrase “my God” is used twice. This is a reminder that true religion is a relationship with God. In the age in which we live people come to this relationship through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a good reason to praise God: the fact that He invites us to a personal relationship with Him. This Psalm mentions over and over the need and the motivation to praise God. Praise God every moment that you can. Praise God for every reason that you can think of. Praise God for every situation that you experience. Praise Him and exalt Him.

 

The Bible says in Psalm 118:29, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” This verse is exactly the same as verse one of this Psalm. They are book-ends, and of course, make clear what is the theme of the Psalm.

 

Verse twenty-nine gives two reasons to be thankful to the LORD. The first reason given is because “he is good.” That is one of the many differences between human beings and God. Human beings are not good. Human beings are evil compared to God. Sometimes we compare human beings to each other, and then comparatively speaking, we will say that a certain person is good. But compared to God no one is good. All humans have that selfish and sinful nature. Jesus said in Matthew 7:11, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Even when Jesus uses an example where human beings do good things in taking care of children, He calls us “evil.” The truth that the all-powerful God is “good” should have a great impact on all of us. Since He is good, everything that He does is good. He has a plan for you, and everything that He allows to touch your life is good because it comes from God who is good. Sometimes we do not understand the good until later, much later. It may be years before you can say, “There is the good. I see it now.” It always happens that way if you keep walking with Christ, because if you cannot see it now, He will eventually show you. And if you are a believer in Jesus, the challenge will be to recognize that God is good even when something “bad” happens to you.  

 

The second reason that we are told in verse twenty-nine to give thanks to the LORD is because “his mercy endureth for ever.” This statement is made at the end of all of the first four verses of Psalm chapter 118 and at the end of verse twenty-nine. It is an important statement. Because we are not good, we need a lot of mercy. It is wonderful to be forgiven of sins. Anyone who has lived on the earth as a human over the centuries can have forgiveness through Christ. As the centuries roll by, people can still find forgiveness even as most of the world turns away from God. Why is that: “his mercy endureth for ever.” When a Christian sins, how is it that he or she can confess and stay in fellowship with Christ: “his mercy endureth for ever.” If you get saved and your life becomes a story of failure time and again, how can you get to heaven: “his mercy endureth for ever.” That is the basis for eternal security. What will believers in heaven say to each other as the ages roll by: “his mercy endureth for ever.” Is there a Christian who gives up after their many failures? Let’s hope not. But if there is, they only need to remember “his mercy endureth for ever.” Jesus accomplished a lot when He suffered and died on the cross. Only because of Jesus the Bible can tell us “his mercy endureth for ever.” No matter what you have done or how many times you have done it, you can be forgiven because “his mercy endureth for ever.” The Psalmist is right. Be thankful unto God because “his mercy endureth for ever.”             

 

 

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Copyright; 2020 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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