Reading Time: 8 Minutes
When I read through this Psalm today, several verses stood out to me. I have arranged the verses that caught my attention according to their themes.
If you have other verses that particularly impress you in the Psalm, please share with other readers your thoughts in the comments section.
Give Thanks to the Lord
As we use the Psalms in a conversation with the Lord, they help us think of things that we may overlook without their use. The Psalms direct our prayers beyond our own self-interest.
They remind us to thank God and they suggest reasons why God is worthy of our gratitude.
Verse 1 – O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures forever!
Dictators, autocrats, mob bosses, warlords, and tyrants have something in common. They have power, but they are definitely not good.
The gods of Greek and Roman mythology could not be trusted to be good. For example, in Greek mythology there is the story of Sisyphus, the king Corinth.
Sisyphus was punished for his prideful craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down every time it neared the top, repeating this action for eternity.
The Greek gods were powerful, but not necessarily good.
God is all-powerful. If he used his power for evil and not good, he could make our lives as miserable and torturous as possible.
We thank him, because he is good. We know he is good, because of his acts on our behalf. The life and ministry of Jesus displays God’s goodness in an awesome way.
Verse 21 – I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
I will be eternally grateful that God heard my prayer when I asked Jesus Christ to be my Savior. The words of my silent prayer were pretty feeble, but God heard them and the result has changed over 50 years of my life and all of eternity.
Some of my friends called out to God in a prison cell. One man told me, “I hated every minute of prison, but I wouldn’t change getting to know Jesus in there for anything.”
Another friend knows that her physical and spiritual life is a result of God hearing her prayer. She lives a beautiful life of gratitude to the Lord today.
While sitting in AA meetings, I have often heard someone say this: “I told the Lord to either take me or get me clean. Praise God I am here and free.”
The list could go on. God’s gracious gift to hear prayer is worthy of frequent expressions of thanks.
Verse 28 – You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.
Think a moment about the statement, “You are my God.” What does that actually mean?
The relationship that Jesus had with his followers, is a perfect picture of what it means to say, “You are my God.” They ate meals together, traveled the region of Galilee with each other, they talked, learned, laughed and cried together.
We don’t use the word “extol” very often, but it perfectly describes the high praise we give to God for the awesome privilege of living in a relationship with him.
The Lord On My Side
Paul was certainly familiar with this Psalm, when he wrote: “What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Roman 8.31).
Verses 5-6 – Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
What can mortals do to me?
Verse 14 – The Lord is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.
I see many posts on social media to 2020 being in the rear-view mirror of our lives. I don’t think I need to list all of the stress that people have experienced this year. We are living through a time that will be extensively covered in future history books.
The truth of Paul’s message and this Psalm is that if God is on our side, we have his strength, might, and protection with us at all times.
When we are distressed, we can call on the Lord and count on his aid. The key is to call on God through prayer and to trust his activity in our lives.
The Chief Cornerstone
We can’t overemphasize how important the Psalms are to the life and worship of both Hebrews and Christians. No doubt, Paul drew from his extensive knowledge of the Psalms to help communicate the ministry of Jesus in his letters.
If the next verses of Psalm 118 seem familiar, it is probably because you remember them from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Let’s take a moment to read the Psalm and then allow Ephesians to interpret it for us.
Verses 22-23 – The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
The Book of Ephesians is written to a non-Jewish crowd. The message is good news that Gentiles, “. . . Are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God . . .” (Ephesians 2.19).
He explains that we are “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone” (Ephesians 2.20).
The cornerstone is the most important stone in the building. It literally holds the entire building together. Paul makes that exact point when he writes, “In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord . . .” (Ephesians 2.21).
Our place God’s building is to have a home in our heart for God. Paul writes this about us: “[We are those who] also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.” (Ephesians 2.19-22).
We can praise God and give him thanks for the place he gives to us. Jesus is the cornerstone, having the rightful place of being most important part of God’s building.
However, because of God’s great love, we also fit into God’s building plans. We are a place where the Eternal God wants to make his home.
Truly, as the Psalm said, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”
The Psalm ends with declarations of praise.
Verse 24 – This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Based on the great things God has done for us, every day that the Lord gives to us should include praise and thanksgiving.
You may be going through an extremely difficult 2020, but live in a personal relationship with a loving, powerful God who only desires your good. He will hear your prayers and “be there for you.”
Verse 26 – Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
When we interpret this Psalm in the light of the life and ministry of Jesus, we bless the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We join the crowd who praised Jesus as he entered Jerusalem and say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord” (Psalm 118.26 and Matthew 21.9).
May We Pray for You?
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. I will pray for you and so will the prayer team at Maywood Baptist Church.