Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 2 months ago

Another Thanksgiving Psalm

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Psalm 118

Want to preach on another psalm.I'm today dealing with this theme of Thanksgiving. I'm you'll hear similar phrases and andwords and ideas that we heard this morning on in Psalm one hundred andthirty six and another passages of scripture that we've read and heard, Sung andprayed today. Let that be a lesson, perhaps, the repetition, a reminderof the things that God really, really, really wants us to remember, the things he really wants us to pay attention to, to observe andto sing back to him. We turn to Psalm one hundred and eighteen nowand what we hear is a king giving thanks to God for sell his salvation. So will reflect on that in a moment. Let's hear God's word.Will give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his steadfast loveand doers forever. Let Israel say his steadfast love and doers forever. Letthe house of Aaron say his steadfast love and doers forever. Let those whofear the Lord say his steadfast love endures forever. Out of my distress,I called on the Lord. The Lord answered me and set me free.The Lord is on my side. I will not fear. What can mando to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper. Ishall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to takerefuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to takerefuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. All nations surrounded me.In the name of the Lord, I cut them off. They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side, and the name of the Lord, Icut them off. They surrounded me like bees. They went out like afire among thorns. In the name of the Lord, I cut them off. I was pushed hard so that I was falling, but the Lord helpedme. The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become mysalvation. Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous. Theright hand of the Lord does valiantly. The right hand of the Lord Exalts. The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. I shall not die,but I shall live and recount the deeds of the Lord. The Lord hasdisciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Opento me the gates of righteousness that I may enter through them and give thanksto the Lord this is the gate of the Lord. The righteous shall enterthrough it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become mysalvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This isthe Lord's doing. It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the daythat the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.Save us, we pray. Oh Lord, oh Lord, we pray. Giveus success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the House of the Lord. The Lord is Godand he made and he may and he has made his light to shine uponUS blind the festal sacrifice, with cords up to the horns of the altar. You are my God and I will give thanks to you. You aremy God, I will extol you. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Amen.Well, this morning we looked at a...

...psalm, we heard a psalm thatcovered a vast number of things that it's sort of looked from a very highview at a number of things that God has done and and gave us anumber of reasons to praise God for his stead fast love. His covenant love, his loving kindness, which guards and protects and provides in so many ways. Here we have many of those same ideas, but they are a personalizedin a way. There is a person who is speaking this psalm and hasa very pers particular perspective, particular history which he recounts, and we donot have any specific details about what it happened, about what who that isor exactly what happened, but he gives us a sense of what he wasdelivered from and what God did for him. So let's take a look at thispsalm and will begin at the beginning. Begins with a call to everyone.He, I think, concludes himself when he says will give thanks tothe Lord for his for you is good. His steadfast love endures forever. Hereminds us that we are to notice God's steadfast love and praise him forit. Then he calls out to others, to Israel, to the house ofErrand to anyone and everyone who fears the Lord, as all should do, and he says, let us all say together, let his steadfast loveendures forever, his steadfast love and doors forever. And then, after thisintroduction, he begins and to describe his particular reason for saying these things.I'm there are many different reasons and but he describes his own here. Hesays in a general way in verse five, out of my distress I called tothe Lord. The Lord answered me and set me free. He's describesa situation in which he was in danger. He describes that danger. I'm inverses eleven through thirteen. The nations surrounded him. This is one reasonit is perhaps right to think of this person as a king. The Nation'ssurrounded him. He was in great danger. I notice that uses this word overand over. They surrounded, they surrounded, they surrounded me. Heeven describes them as bees. I've never been surrounded by bees, but Ican imagine perhaps some of you have, doing yard work or something like that. I've seen aunts, though. I've seen aunts swarm and surround and itcan be a very overwhelming these bees were surrounding him, they were buzzing,they were, I'm scary, but they went out like a fire among thethorns. They went strong, but in the name of the Lord, hecut them off. He cut them off, I cut them off. He's he'sexcited, he's rejoicing, he's praising the Lord for what has happened.I pushed hard, or I was pushed hard, he's says in verse thirteen, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. He describesthis salvation from something that is very serious, perhaps even near to death. Hewas falling and yet he lives. He decays in verse seventeen. Ishall not die because of the salvation of the Lord, but I shall liveand I shall live to recount the deeds of the Lord, the really realreason for living. He reminds us in the in between verses here that itis right to call on the Lord above all others. He makes this comparisonverses eight and nine. It is better...

...to take refuge in the Lord thanto trust in man. It is better to take with refuge in the Lordthen to trust in princes. This is a hard thing to do, I'msometimes. Perhaps you know this personally. I'm it is much easier to trustin our work, to trust in the work of others, to trust otherhelpers, than to trust in the Lord himself. Now the Lord, ofcourse, often uses helpers and uses means to come to our aid, butthere's a way in which we often look past him. Is the source ofour help. We look away from him, and especially when he tells us todo hard things and someone promises an easier path drought. The scriptures wehave story after story after story of examples of kings of God's people making dealswith foreign nations, making deals even with Egypt herself, this place from whichGod's people were all rescued, and saying save us, save us. Aswe've been considering an Ezekiel, this is exactly what Zechariah did, this installedking, installed by Babylon, seeking to get out from underneath Babylon's help.And what did he do? He went to Egypt, sought help from Egyptand did it work. Know, everything came falling apart. But when wesee those who are called to lead God's people, I'm trust the Lord.In the Old Testament in particular, I haven't mind these kings. We saymany great things, amazing things that the Lord does. One of the greatest, perhaps the greatest, King, King David himself, at the very beginningright and we see his character, we see his trust in the Lord.In that great battle with Goliath, he knows that the Lord will be thedivine warrior the Lord will, will take care of his people, will conquerthis mighty giant, and indeed he does. What do we have to fear,David says, when we have when we put our trust in the Lord. There are other great scenes and stories and the scriptures of these kinds ofthings. One of my favorites is Jonathan and his armor bear fighting a garroneof Philistines. The scripture say there wasn't any swords left and no more swordsand all the land except this one that Jonathan and his armor bearer had betweenthem. They go up this crag of a this rocky cliff, climbing handand foot, climbing, climbing, climbing to get to the top. Meanwhilethe Philistines are at the top, this position of advantage, yelling down atJonathan is armor bear come up and get us, and probably other things.And they come up to the top and they slay them all, while therest of Israel, including King Saul, is hiding away. The Lord cando magnificent things, powerful things. He can cut off his enemies so easilyand when his people trust in him, he does exactly that. Through thestories of the Conquest of Joshua, and we read of the victories of Mosesover the Kings as they God led his people out of Egypt and then,of course, Egypt himself. The stories they go on and on and onand on, where we see that it is indeed better to take refuge inthe Lord than to trust in man. And so when this, when thepsalmist comes to Vorse rourteen after his deliverance, he says this. The Lord ismy strength and my song, he has become my salvation. So manytimes the Psalms speak of singing, of...

...lifting up our our hearts to theLord in song and in praise. God gives to us this gift of musicto move our hearts and express the movements of our hearts. This is asort of fun passage, at least in my mind, when we have asong within a song, right. So Psalm one hundred and eighteen itself asong, and then verses fifteen and sixteen we have reference to a song,right. So they're singing about singing and they give a the the the linesfrom a song here. So Verse Fourteen says the Lord is my strength andmy song. He is become my salvation. Glad songs of salvation are in thetents of the righteous. Then you can imagine people of Israel in theirtense coming back victorious over battle, singing. The right hand of the Lord doesvaliantly. The right hand of the Lord Exalts, the right hand ofthe Lord does valiantly. His heart is full of praise when he sees whatthe Lord has done. When we reflect on the things that God has donefor us, when we reflect on the salvation that he brings to us,it fills our hearts with praise and singing. Then as we come to verse theSeventeen and eighteen, continuing to move throughs this psalm, we get alittle wrinkle here, a new a new level and understanding of things that wecan think about. Here he says, I shall not die, but Ishall live and I will recount the deeds of the Lord. The Lord hasdisciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Whatwe see here, as is was often true with the kings of Israel,is that the enemies that they faced. It wasn't a mere political threat,it wasn't just kings doing what kings do, nations doing what nations do. Therewas a moral threat and also a moral victory. Here the PSALMA says, the Lord has disciplined me severely. Something he has done to displease theLord. He has sinned in some way and the Lord has disciplined him becauseof this. Again, in the history of God's people we see this manytimes. The kings of the Lord, these people who are called to shepherdor be under shepherds for the Great Shepherd, leading their flocks into danger, sometimesinto idolatry, sometimes into sexual perversion, sometimes into injustice, all kinds ofdifferent things. Ultimately, as we've been seeing in Ezekiel, the greatjudgment of the Lord will come upon Israel for these things. But this king, he doesn't just want to live another day, to fight another day.He wants to live and to live for the Lord. He praises God inverse Seventeen and it says I shall not die, but I shall live anddo what. Fight more, he says, and recount the deeds of the Lord. He gets to live in this blessed state of praise and Thanksgiving,even though the threat that came to him was not just the nation's, butthe threat was the Lord himself. The threat was the Lord who was disciplininghim as a result of his sin, but by God's grace he has victoryand salvation. This king doesn't just want to come home, but he wantsto be in a city of righteousness. He doesn't want to just live tofight another day. He wants to be in right relationship and a right relationshipwith the Lord and with others. We see the expression of that in thecoming verses when he says open to me...

...the gates of righteousness, that Ienter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is what he wants. He wants a place of enjoyment in God, a place of victory thatis because of God's grace, a place that is not characterized any longer byhis sin and the consequences of it, but a place that is characterized byrighteousness. Verse Twenty. This is the gate of the Lord. The righteousshall enter through it, and then he reflects again on his salvation. Ithank you that you have answered me and I become my salvation. A stonethat the builders rejected has become the corner stone. This is marvel this isthis is the Lord's doing. It is marvelous in our eyes. This isthe day that the Lord is made. Let us rejoice and be glad init. It's interesting how he describes now this salvation, his salvation, interms of this stone, a stone that the builders rejected, has become thecornerstone. He describes himself as one who has been thrown away, as onewho has been looked at and judged by the world, perhaps, and hassaid this one is useless, we don't need it, a one rejected bythe world. And yet that very stone that God takes becomes the cornerstone,the most important stone, the stone by which the whole rest of a buildingis built, the corner stone that lays the foundations, in the dimensions ofthis great thing that God will do. How can one who is rejected bythe world becomes so precious and important in the work in in become precious andimportant? The answer is verse Twenty Three. This is the Lord's doing. Youdon't take rejected, humble, defeated, falling things and turn them into greatthings, unless, of course, you are the Great Lord. Hedescribes this work has marvelous and its eyes, or in our eyes. When's thelast time you looked at something and you described it as marvelous? Clouds, maybe a visit to the Grand Canyon, the flowers and springtime, or maybesome great act of salvation, some surprising, amazing, unexpected event whichturns out from something that was so bad and some tragic to something that isso amazingly good you hardly have the words to express it. This is marvelous, stunning, a splendid this day of salvation, this rescue, he describesin Verse Twenty Four, is a day that the Lord has made, letus rejoice and be glad in it. Perhaps you've heard that verse before.It's a very common verse and used in various different places. A lot oftimes when we hear it we think about the the the creative work of theLord or the providential sustaining of each and every day, and certainly that's true. Every day we can wake up and say this is the day that theLord is made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. But hereit had there's another level of meaning. This isn't just a day that theLord is made yet or as another one of the many days that he makesthat we ought to be rejoicing and be glad in it. But this isa day that was very dark. This was a day in which death wasat the door. This was the day when the nations were surrounding him likebees, and now everything's okay. Now...

...they are gone, they are vanquished. It is a day of salvation, so let us rejoice and be gladin it. He makes all days and he made this day a very specialone. In the light of this Thanksgiving and praise, in the light ofthis great redemptive, saving work of God, he now says to the Lord inVerse Twenty Five, Save Us, we pray, oh Lord, ohLord, we pray, give us success. He has a sense that, asof the one who has read and rescued in the Lord, he isone who needs to continue to abide in the Lord. How often, likethe ten lepers who were healed by Jesus and none of them except one,returned, we're like that. We receive a great salvation, we receive theseamazing blessings and then we say, well, nothing, we don't do anything,we don't return and give thanks, we don't look at the things thatwe've been given the day that we have the salvation we have and give thoughGod thanks for it. We not only need to give him thanks, butwe must remember that it's only by His grace that we continue. We needto continue to look to him, not just once and now, now andagain, not just when we're in times of great trouble, but at alltimes. When he says it's better to take refuge in the Lord and thetrust and man, he doesn't just mean some of the time, means allof the time. And so this desired and continued success must be maintained bythe Lord himself. And so, now, knowing that God answer this these prayers, he finishes the Psalm by speaking of those who are who receive thissalvation. He says, and he speaks to it in terms of worship andtemple worship. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.We bless you from the House of the Lord. The one who is savedcomes into the presence of God and comes into the presence of God with others. It's like we look up and we look around and we realize that Godhasn't just saved me, he saved a whole host of people and we belongnot just to the Lord, but to the great family of the Lord,the House of the Lord on which his he has placed his name. Wefind that we're not just there stammering out our praise all alone, but weare joined with the angels, we are joined with saints, we are joinedwith the elders who, as we sang earlier, cast down their crowns inworship of the great king. The Lord is God, he says in VerseTwenty, and he made us and he has made his light to shone uponus. Bind the festal sacrifice, with cords up to the horns of thealtar. We come to God and we come with all offering and with worshipand with praise, seeking the Lord and his presence continually. And then,finally, the psalmist concludes and he says, you are my God, just sosimple but so rich. You are my God and I will give thanksto you. You are my God, I will extore you. And thenhe turns to all of us and says, Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his steadfast love and do hers forever. And we all say a man right, we all say Amen, this isright, and we're here right along with you, brother. We're hereas those who have likewise been saved, and the salvation that we have receivedthrough King Jesus, this son of David, this one who is promised to comeand establish an eternal kingdom forever,...

...takes this whole Psalm and moves itup a register, takes the whole Psalm and and gives even more light towhat we have in this God who has saved us. Peter Talks about thiscorner stone as one who has been rejected, and he speaks of Christ himself,and and rightly so. Jesus is a cornerstone who was rejected like noother has been rejected. The world despised him, his own people to turnedon him, his own disciples rejected him and betrayed him. From Judas toPeter, he hung on a cross naked. He hung on across a bruised andbloody hung among criminals, to be gawcked at by people, to bean example of what you should never be and to turn away from with disgust. But this one who was rejected, became the cornerstone, not just fora season or a time, but forever, to be the glorious king over allthe people forever and forever. Peter says that, as he is thecornerstone, we are like living stones built on him into a temple in whichthe living God dwells forever. This communion and closeness, this these gates ofrighteousness, this coming into the House of the Lord, all of these imagesare fulfilled in the Lord and in us, as we are in him. Weget to participate not just as citizens of the city but in a wayas the city itself. In some amazing way, God unites us with himand binds us to him and so that his light shines upon us, hisglory shines upon us. In the face of Jesus Christ, our Savior,this should result in more praise, more rejoicing, more extolling of the goodnessof God. We've not just been saved from a monchering nation for a time, until the king disobeys again and we find ourselves in more trouble, butwe find ourselves saved forever, because our king is not like the human kingswho came before. This human king is also a divine king. The graceof the Lord is steadfast love. That is seen in this psalm is amplifiedin a great way in Jesus. Jesus shows us his steadfast love in thispsalm as the one who disciplines conquers, strengthens, obtains victory. He isthe divine warrior. I'm defeating these bees, defeating the nations, but he isalso the one who is defeated. He is also the one who takeson our sins, the one who never did anything wrong and yet was severelya disciplined but even unto death so that we would not have to die.Jesus suffers, Jesus endures these things on our behalf so that we can havea kingdom and a king and a priest that is forever. We are aboutto go and participate pay together in the Lord's Supper, sometimes called the Eucharist, a word that means thanksgiving. This...

...thanksgiving table is one that is setin victory. It is called this because we have a lot to give thanksfor, as in Psalm Twenty three, the Lord says that he sets atable in the midst of our enemies, and this is exactly what he doesin the Lord's supper. He sets a table in the midst of a watchingworld, in the midst of a world that is full of spiritual powers thatwould seek to do us harm. But we don't come scared, we don'tcome worried, we come with Thanksgiving and praise, knowing that the Lord isour host and that as we come, we come together. As we come, we come as those who belong to the House of the Lord, whobear his name, is a family of the righteous who have been saved evenfrom death itself. So, as we gather around the table now, aswe receive these promises that the Lord gives to us by faith, let usfind in him our salvation, let's find in him alone our salvation and notput our trust in the things in this world, but take refuge entirely inhim. Let's pray and ask that the Lord would grant us these things.

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