Tuesday, April 16, 2024

2024.04.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 118:1–14

Read Psalm 118:1–14

Questions from the from the Scripture text: What command does Psalm 118:1 give? For what two reasons? Who should say this second reason in Psalm 118:2? Who should say it in Psalm 118:3? Who should say it in Psalm 118:4? What has the psalmist done (Psalm 118:5a)? What did the Lord do with his cry (verse 5b)? What did the Lord do in response? What has the psalmist concluded (Psalm 118:6a)? Therefore, what won’t the psalmist do (verse 6b)? What rhetorical question does verse 6c ask? With what implied answer? Among whom is YHWH numbered (Psalm 118:7a)? What is this sure to bring about (verse 7b)? What two things are compared in Psalm 118:8? Which is better? What two things are compared in Psalm 118:9? Which is better? What had happened to the psalmist (Psalm 118:10a, Psalm 118:11a, verse 11b)? Like what (Psalm 118:12a)? But what will he do (Psalm 118:10b, Psalm 118:11c, Psalm 118:12c)? Like what (verse 12b)? Whom does the psalmist address in Psalm 118:13a? What had this one done? But Who did what (verse 13b)? As what two things does the psalmist have YHWH (Psalm 118:14a)? And what does the psalmist have in and from YHWH (verse 14b)?

What does the life of the redeemed look like? Psalm 118:1–14 prepares us for the opening portion of public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these fourteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the life of the redeemed is one of thankfulness, trust, and triumph.

Thankfulness—His covenanted love endures foreverPsalm 118:1-4. It’s not difficult to see the theme of the first four verses. God’s ḳessed, His covenanted love, endures forever (Psalm 118:1b, Psalm 118:2b, Psalm 118:3b, Psalm 118:4b). It is the love that proceeds from God’s own devotion to Himself, and which therefore proceeds toward those whom God joins to Himself in everlasting covenant. It is unconditional, because it is dependent not upon something in the object of the love, or even in any circumstance, but entirely upon the source of the love: the Lord. And it is eternal because He Himself is eternal. The inherent goodness (Psalm 118:1a) of God, therefore, bends itself completely and eternally upon the objects of this love!

So, the objects/recipients of this love ought to give thanks! And this thanksgiving isn’t just a condition of the heart; it is an act of worship among the covenant people. Why is there an Israel, a covenant people gathered from the nations (Psalm 118:2a)? In large part, to give thanks by declaring the truth about God and His covenanted love (verse 2b)! Why is there an anointed, ordained priesthood (Psalm 118:3a)? In large part, to give thanks by declaring the truth about God and His covenanted love (verse 3b)! And those who are in Christ have been consecrated to God in Him (cf. 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:9–10). Why does God give an internal reality of fearing the Lord, to match these external/formal/covenantal realities (Psalm 118:4a)? In large part, to give thanks by declaring the truth about God and His covenanted love (verse 4b)!

Trust–His aid overrules all fearPsalm 118:5-9. Men will fail us (Psalm 118:8b), even the best of them (Psalm 118:9b). So, whatever other helpers the Lord gives us in His providence, we must put our trust for that help only in the Lord Himself (Psalm 118:7a). For, it is by His help that we will one day look, in victory, upon all that threatened us (verse 7b). If the self-existent Creator is for us (Psalm 118:6a), then all creation could not succeed against us—and men are merely creatures (verse 6c, cf. Romans 8:31). Trust has a natural reflex: not fear (Psalm 118:6b) but prayer (Psalm 118:5a). And God’s trustworthiness has a reliable response: answering (verse 5b). If you find yourself too easily fearful, dear saint, seek grace from God to develop your prayer reflex. It actually becomes difficult to tremble at the creature, when on your knees in godly fear before the Creator!

Triumph—in the Name of YHWH I will destroy themPsalm 118:10-14. It becomes evident that we can only sing this song in union with King Jesus in Psalm 118:10a. “All nations surrounded me” (verse 10a) is historically Davidic language, but especially as a type of Christ (cf. Psalm 2:1–2). It is He Who destroys into fire enemies from all the nations (Psalm 118:12b, cf. Revelation 19:19–21), though their surrounding be even like swarming bees (Psalm 118:10a, Psalm 118:11a, verse 11b, Psalm 118:12a). It is in Jesus that the Lord’s strength becomes our strength, and the Lord’s song becomes our song; we find Him Himself to be our strength and gladness (Psalm 118:14a). He is our salvation (verse 14b), not only because He is the One Who does the saving, but because what we are saved unto is dependence upon Him and delighting in Him. Lord willing, we will consider that more in the next part of the Psalm in Psalm 118:15-18.

If you are a member of the church, a participant in Christ’s priesthood, or fear the Lord from your heart, what is a large part of the reason for each of these things? What do you declare in worship? When? How has prayer displaced fear as the trust-reflex of your heart? How can you seek this more (cf. Philippians 4:6–7; Hebrews 4:16)? In what ways do you know the Lord as your strength? In what ways do you know Him as your song?

Sample prayer:  We give thanks to You, O Lord, for You are good. And we have gathered to declare to one another, before You, that Your covenanted love endures forever. We called on You in our distress, and You answered us. You are on our side; we will not fear. What can man do to us? Indeed, it is better to trust in You, O Lord, than to trust in the greatest of mere men. All the nations have raged against Christ, but by His blood, You have redeemed us and made us kings and priests to our God. So now, give us to worship forever and to live forever with You Yourself as our strength, song, and salvation, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP118A “Because He’s Good, O Thank the LORD” or TPH118A “O Thank the LORD for All His Goodness” 

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