PSALM 118 - Messiah: The LORD is become my Salvation.
118:1 O give thanks unto the LORD;
for [he is] good:
because his mercy [endureth] for ever.
118:2 Let Israel now say, that his mercy [endureth] for ever.
118:3 Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy [endureth] for ever.
118:4 Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy [endureth] for ever.
mercy- How often do we take God's mercy for granted?...
. . . "Of course, God's mercy is forever, God's business is forgiving, isn't it?"
We forget that God's Truth & Mercy are in constant tension.
Like an immovable rock, Truth is hard, unbending, unforgiving.
God cannot ignore the guilt of the guilty, for that would be a lie. Ex 34:7
He can forgive our sin, only if our sinfulness and guilt are first removed.
That is exactly what He did, in the Person of Jesus Christ, who took our sin and guilt upon Himself, bearing their consequences and removing them far from us.
Psa 85:10; Psa 117:1,2; Joh 1:17
Let Israel... the house of Aaron... them that fear the Lord... say... -
The mercy of God which endures the test of His truth is needed by all men,
whether they be Israelites, even the Priests of Israel, or gentiles.
It is available to all who acknowledge their need and accept His provision, by faith.
118:5 I called upon the LORD in distress:
the LORD answered me, [and set me] in a large place.
I called...- This is a word of testimony:
The voice could be yours, mine, or any among the redeemed (vs. 2-4).
But here, above our mingled voices, is heard the voice of the One who "hath borne our sorrows."
This Psalm, as the last of the Hallel Psalms, was customarily sung following
the Passover meal. It is, no doubt, the hymn mentioned in the Gospels:
Mat 26:30; Mark 14:26
in distress...- HB= metsar, a narrow place, a strait.
This is an apt description of Jesus' agony in Gethsemane {which means "the olive press"}.
cp. Mat 26:36,38; Luk 22:41-44
the LORD answered me... in a large place.-
In answer to the prayer of faith, the LORD released the oppressed One from the narrow straits where He was trapped, and gave Him broad freedom in a wide place. As we have seen in previous psalms, this was our Savior's experience, when he was released from death (eg., Psa 40:1-3; Psa 116:3-8). Through faith in Him, the believer, is also set free from bondage to sin, to serve the Lord. eg., Joh 8:34-36; Gal 5:1
118:6 The LORD [is] on my side;
I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
cp. Joh 19:10,11; Heb 13:6
118:7 The LORD taketh my part with them that help me:
therefore shall I see [my desire] upon them that hate me.
118:8 [It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
man - Whether enemy or friend, men will disappoint you.
The closest friend may forsake you, proving himself unfaithful.
Even a faithful friend will fail you, in the end.
Men failed Jesus. He did not place His confidence in men.
Psa 41:9; Psa 55:12-14; Mark 14:50; Joh 2:24,25; Jer 17:5-7
118:9 [It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
princes- the keepers of Law & Justice may fail (eg., the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Herod).
Joh 19:6
118:10 All nations compassed me about:
all nations- Rome (a nation of many gentile nations) & Israel were united against Christ.
compassed- surrounded, encompassed
Psa 2:1-3; Psa 22:12-16
but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them.
destroy {HB= mul, cut off, circumcise} - This word occurs 3x in v.10-12.
  • Christ came not to condemn, but to save the world, which is already condemned. Joh 3:17-20
  • He came to bring all things into subjection to the Father's will (1Cor 15:25-28).
    The fleshly mind is contrary to the Spirit and cannot be brought into subjection to God. Rom 8:5-9
  • So, in the name of the LORD, Christ will either 'destroy' {cut off} all who rebel against God,
    or, He will 'circumcise' the hearts {cutting off the fleshly nature} of those who turn to Him (Deu 30:6; Col 2:11,12).
  • The triple repetition of this phrase (in v.10-12) declares that the destruction of His enemies is absolutely certain. Psa 110:1,5
118:11 They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about:
but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
118:12 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.
quenched- The anger of His enemies is easily "extinguished" (ie., put out), like a fire of twigs.
(or) The enemies themselves are quickly "consumed" (ie., brought to their end), like rapidly burning thorns. (cp. this word in Job 6:17; 18:5)
This will be accomplished at His second coming. Nah 1:9,10; Zech 14:1-3; Rev 19:19-21
118:13 Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall:
Satan applied all his resources toward the destruction of the Savior.
cp. Joh 14:30; Heb 2:14; Rev 12:1-5
but the LORD helped me.
118:14 The LORD [is] my strength and song, and is become my salvation {HB= Yeshua}.
Here is a great mystery:
How can the LORD ("who is, and was, and evermore shall be") become anything?
cp. Ex 15:2; Isa 12:2; Isa 45:22-25
Yet, to become our salvation, He became a man. "Jesus," is the GK form of "Yeshua."
Mat 1:21-23; 2Cor 5:18,19; 1Tim 3:16
118:15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation [is] in the tabernacles of the righteous:
the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.
the voice - (in vs. 15-16) is the sound of believers rejoicing in God's provision of salvation.
tabernacles - ie., tents. Temporary dwelling places.
(ie., The fleshly bodies of believers. cp. 2Pet 1:13,14)
the right hand of the LORD - This phrase identifies the Lord Jesus Christ.
cp. Psa 110:5; Isa 51:9,10; Mark 16:19; Acts 2:32-36; 1Pet 3:22; Rom 8:33,34; Heb 1:3
The picture: The Son of God goes forth to war.
He engages the battle for the sake of the enemy's captives, who watch from the sidelines.
The voices of angels and believers narrate His progress, much like the situation which inspired:
"Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming..."
[excerpt from "The Star Spangle Banner," national anthem of USA]
We observe several stages in the conflict:(cp. parallel to Rom 8:33,34)
-He does valiantly.-
- - the cross, Joh 12:31-33
- - the resurrection, Rom 4:25
"It is Christ that died,
yea rather,
that is risen again..."
118:16 The right hand of the LORD is exalted:
-He is exalted.-
- - the ascension, Eph 1:19-21
"...who is even at the right hand of God..."
the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.
-He does valiantly:-
- - His present work for us.
- - His future work of judgment (cp. vs.10-12).
"...who also maketh intercession for us."
118:17 I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
It is the Savior's voice, rejoicing in victory, as the dust of battle begins to settle...
Psa 116:8,9; Psa 22:22-24
118:18 The LORD hath chastened me sore:
Isa 53:5
but he hath not given me over unto death.
given me over- ie., abandoned me. His resurrection is in view. Psa 16:10; Psa 21:4,5
118:19 Open to me the gates of righteousness:
I will go into them, [and] I will praise the LORD:
The Savior returns victorious from battle. He enters into Heaven's glories,
having opened the way for us to follow Him there. Psa 24:7,8
118:20 This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.
This gate- not only has He made the way,
He has become the Way for believers to enter the Father's house, clothed in His righteousness.
Joh 10:9; 14:6; Heb 10:19-22
118:21 I will praise thee:
for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation
{HB= yeshua}.
The voices of the redeemed are heard again in v.21-26 (cp. v.14-16):
118:22 The stone [which] the builders refused is become the head [stone] of the corner.
head- HB= roshe, top, chief, total, sum, beginning.
head of the corner- ie., the keystone of the arch.
Our praise continues: He is the Way, our Salvation, and more, He is Head of all things.
Col 1:12-20; Col 2:9,10
118:23 This is the LORD'S doing; it [is] marvellous in our eyes.
Jesus quoted vs.22-23 to the Pharisees, a few days before His crucifixion,
to warn them that Scripture foretold their rejection of the Messiah.
He also alluded to other passages, to show the consequences of their rejection.
Because they stumbled over Him, refusing to see who He is, they would be crushed
in their attempts to dislodge Him from His rightful place as Head (v.22).
"Mat 21:42-44"; "Luk 20:17-18"; Isa 8:13,14; Dan 2:34,35; 1Pet 2:4-8
118:24 This [is] the day [which] the LORD hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.
What day? As Jesus finished this hymn and departed from the upper room,
it was early in the morning of His crucifixion day. His hour had come.
It was the day the Rock of Ages (cp. v.22) would be cleft, to provide mercy for me.
"The Day," to the Jews, signified the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of their year.
This was not the Day of Atonement on man's calendar (it was Passover), but it was
the day that the LORD would make atonement for sins, providing Himself as a Lamb.
On this day, the Anointed One would fulfill one of the purposes of His Anointing.
Isa 49:5-9; Joh 12:27,28; Joh 17:1-5
118:25 Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD:
O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
save now- HB= "yasha na", transliterated "Hosanna" in the NT.
"Mat 21:9"; "Mark 11:9,10"
The voice of the crowd acclaimed Him. But they desired...
  1. Political salvation: ie., Freedom from Rome; earthly peace & safety.
    They did not recognize the greater significance of this day. Luk 19:41-44
    They had no comprehension of the peace that He came to give.
  2. Economic salvation: "Send now prosperity."
    Instead, their house would be "left... desolate... until..." (Mat 23:38-39)
118:26 Blessed [be] he that cometh in the name of the LORD:
The people had mouthed these words ("Mat 21:9").
But their hearts were not aligned with the LORD and His purposes.
Someday, Israel will welcome their Savior and King (Psa 110:3),
and know the blessings of His kingdom, including:
A. Freedom from sin & its power; Peace with God.
B. Abundant life in the power & presence of God.
we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.
They failed to understand... not because they lacked religion...
(they stood in the Temple, with prayer and praise on their lips),
but because they did not know their God or what He was doing.
cp. Luk 19:42-44; Isa 28:16,17; Isa 48:16-18; Isa 49:14-16
The voices of the priests -- as they fulfilled the Temple rituals:
118:27 God [is] the LORD, which hath shewed us light:
-- as they trimmed the Temple lamps,
which were fueled with olive oil from the press at Gethsemane,
they remained blind to the Light. Joh 8:12; Joh 12:35,36
bind the sacrifice with cords, [even] unto the horns of the altar.
-- as they proceeded with the sacrifice of the Passover lamb,
they were unaware that the Lamb of God was being offered outside the city.
cp. Psa 116:3, where "the sorrows of death" is lit., "the cords of death."
The voice of the Lamb:
118:28 Thou [art] my God, and I will praise thee:
[thou art] my God, I will exalt thee.
My God... my God...- cp. Psa 22:1
I will exalt thee.- ie., lift up, honor. Joh 8:28,29; 14:31; Php 2:8
The voice of the Lamb leading the redeemed in praise:
118:29 O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good:
He is worthy of my "obedience, even unto death."
for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
His mercy is available to me because the Lamb was true to the Father.
"Jesus lives, and so shall I.
Death, thy sting is gone forever!
He who deigned for me to die,
Lives, the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me with the just:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust."
[hymn "Jesus Lives and So Shall I,"by Christian F. Gellert]

This Concludes the study in Psalm 118.
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