This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24).
Psalm 118, located between the shortest of Psalm 117 and the longest of Psalm 119 – its significance might be lost.
For years I have heard people say, “This is the day that the Lord has made!”
From Psalm 118!
The context of Psalm 118 is rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. With over 50,000 Jews returning to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, the nations surrounding Jerusalem were not happy.
At first their enemies ridiculed, then they became threatening. Knowing the need for protection, the Jews finished rebuilding the walls in 52 days. Amazing! In the context of celebration of the rebuilt walls, the Psalmist sings:
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success (vv. 23-25)!
After 70 years of captivity, Psalm 118 opens with:
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever (v. 1)!
Some get angry and bitter while others grow in character and praise during difficulties.
Returning to Jerusalem, the Israelites were repentant, understanding that their idolatry caused their captivity, and with Psalm 118, recommitted to God. The nation never again succumbed to worshiping idols.
In every verse between 5 and 14 the Lord is mentioned. The verses were their word on dealing with distress.
Out of my distress I called on the Lord. The Lord answered and set me free (v. 5).
The Lord is on my side, I will not fear (v. 6).
The Lord is on my side (v. 7).
It is better to take refuge in the Lord, than trust the bitter words of others (v. 8).
It is better to take refuge in the Lord, than the promises of the government (v. 9).
When enemies surround me, I have victory in the name of the Lord (vv. 10-13).
The Lord is my strength and my song (v. 14).
Out of the midst of unfaithfulness, repentance, and restoration in Psalm 118, God gives a prophecy of ultimate hope to Israel. Consider the prophetic verses below and consider to whom they refer.
The stone which the builders rejected became the very cornerstone (v. 22) (1 Peter 2:7).
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (v. 26) (Luke 13:35).
The Lord is God, and He has made His light to shine upon us (v. 27) (John 8:12).
Not only did the Lord give victory to the Israelites by helping them supernaturally to restore the walls of Jerusalem, but God also took the opportunity to teach them about their ultimate hope – Jesus.
God helps us in the moment, and He always directs us to Jesus – the Hope of history!
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever (v. 29).