Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 7 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 and words and ideas that we heard this morning on in Psalm one hundred and thirty six and another passages of scripture that we've read and heard, Sung and prayed today. Let that be a lesson, perhaps, the repetition, a reminder of the things that God really, really, really wants us to remember, the things he really wants us to pay attention to, to observe and to sing back to him. We turn to Psalm one hundred and eighteen now and 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 love and doers forever. Let Israel say his steadfast love and doers forever. Let the house of Aaron say his steadfast love and doers forever. Let those who fear 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 man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper. I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge 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, I cut them off. They surrounded me like bees. They went out like a fire among thorns. In the name of the Lord, I cut them off. I was pushed hard so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation. Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous. The right 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 has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord this is the gate of the Lord. The righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 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. Oh Lord, oh Lord, we pray. Give us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the House of the Lord. The Lord is God and he made and he may and he has made his light to shine upon US 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 are my 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 that covered a vast number of things that it's sort of looked from a very high view at a number of things that God has done and and gave us a number 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 personalized in a way. There is a person who is speaking this psalm and has a very pers particular perspective, particular history which he recounts, and we do not have any specific details about what it happened, about what who that is or exactly what happened, but he gives us a sense of what he was delivered from and what God did for him. So let's take a look at this psalm and will begin at the beginning. Begins with a call to everyone. He, I think, concludes himself when he says will give thanks to the Lord for his for you is good. His steadfast love endures forever. He reminds us that we are to notice God's steadfast love and praise him for it. Then he calls out to others, to Israel, to the house of Errand to anyone and everyone who fears the Lord, as all should do, and he says, let us all say together, let his steadfast love endures forever, his steadfast love and doors forever. And then, after this introduction, 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. He says in a general way in verse five, out of my distress I called to the Lord. The Lord answered me and set me free. He's describes a situation in which he was in danger. He describes that danger. I'm in verses eleven through thirteen. The nations surrounded him. This is one reason it is perhaps right to think of this person as a king. The Nation's surrounded him. He was in great danger. I notice that uses this word over and over. They surrounded, they surrounded, they surrounded me. He even describes them as bees. I've never been surrounded by bees, but I can 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 it can 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 the thorns. They went strong, but in the name of the Lord, he cut them off. He cut them off, I cut them off. He's he's excited, 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 describes this salvation from something that is very serious, perhaps even near to death. He was falling and yet he lives. He decays in verse seventeen. I shall not die because of the salvation of the Lord, but I shall live and I shall live to recount the deeds of the Lord, the really real reason for living. He reminds us in the in between verses here that it is right to call on the Lord above all others. He makes this comparison verses eight and nine. It is better...

...to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take with refuge in the Lord then to trust in princes. This is a hard thing to do, I'm sometimes. Perhaps you know this personally. I'm it is much easier to trust in our work, to trust in the work of others, to trust other helpers, than to trust in the Lord himself. Now the Lord, of course, often uses helpers and uses means to come to our aid, but there's a way in which we often look past him. Is the source of our help. We look away from him, and especially when he tells us to do hard things and someone promises an easier path drought. The scriptures we have story after story after story of examples of kings of God's people making deals with foreign nations, making deals even with Egypt herself, this place from which God's people were all rescued, and saying save us, save us. As we've been considering an Ezekiel, this is exactly what Zechariah did, this installed king, installed by Babylon, seeking to get out from underneath Babylon's help. And what did he do? He went to Egypt, sought help from Egypt and did it work. Know, everything came falling apart. But when we see 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 say many great things, amazing things that the Lord does. One of the greatest, perhaps the greatest, King, King David himself, at the very beginning right 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 the divine warrior the Lord will, will take care of his people, will conquer this 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 of things. One of my favorites is Jonathan and his armor bear fighting a garrone of Philistines. The scripture say there wasn't any swords left and no more swords and all the land except this one that Jonathan and his armor bearer had between them. They go up this crag of a this rocky cliff, climbing hand and foot, climbing, climbing, climbing to get to the top. Meanwhile the Philistines are at the top, this position of advantage, yelling down at Jonathan 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 the rest of Israel, including King Saul, is hiding away. The Lord can do magnificent things, powerful things. He can cut off his enemies so easily and when his people trust in him, he does exactly that. Through the stories of the Conquest of Joshua, and we read of the victories of Moses over 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 on and on, where we see that it is indeed better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. And so when this, when the psalmist comes to Vorse rourteen after his deliverance, he says this. The Lord is my strength and my song, he has become my salvation. So many times the Psalms speak of singing, of...

...lifting up our our hearts to the Lord in song and in praise. God gives to us this gift of music to move our hearts and express the movements of our hearts. This is a sort of fun passage, at least in my mind, when we have a song within a song, right. So Psalm one hundred and eighteen itself a song, 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 lines from a song here. So Verse Fourteen says the Lord is my strength and my song. He is become my salvation. Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous. Then you can imagine people of Israel in their tense coming back victorious over battle, singing. The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. The right hand of the Lord Exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly. His heart is full of praise when he sees what the Lord has done. When we reflect on the things that God has done for 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 the Seventeen and eighteen, continuing to move throughs this psalm, we get a little wrinkle here, a new a new level and understanding of things that we can think about. Here he says, I shall not die, but I shall live and I will recount the deeds of the Lord. The Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death. What we 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. There was a moral threat and also a moral victory. Here the PSALMA says, the Lord has disciplined me severely. Something he has done to displease the Lord. He has sinned in some way and the Lord has disciplined him because of this. Again, in the history of God's people we see this many times. The kings of the Lord, these people who are called to shepherd or be under shepherds for the Great Shepherd, leading their flocks into danger, sometimes into idolatry, sometimes into sexual perversion, sometimes into injustice, all kinds of different things. Ultimately, as we've been seeing in Ezekiel, the great judgment 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 in verse Seventeen and it says I shall not die, but I shall live and do 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, but the threat was the Lord himself. The threat was the Lord who was disciplining him as a result of his sin, but by God's grace he has victory and salvation. This king doesn't just want to come home, but he wants to be in a city of righteousness. He doesn't want to just live to fight another day. He wants to be in right relationship and a right relationship with the Lord and with others. We see the expression of that in the coming verses when he says open to me...

...the gates of righteousness, that I enter 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 that is because of God's grace, a place that is not characterized any longer by his sin and the consequences of it, but a place that is characterized by righteousness. Verse Twenty. This is the gate of the Lord. The righteous shall enter through it, and then he reflects again on his salvation. I thank you that you have answered me and I become my salvation. A stone that the builders rejected has become the corner stone. This is marvel this is this is the Lord's doing. It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord is made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. It's interesting how he describes now this salvation, his salvation, in terms of this stone, a stone that the builders rejected, has become the cornerstone. He describes himself as one who has been thrown away, as one who has been looked at and judged by the world, perhaps, and has said this one is useless, we don't need it, a one rejected by the 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 building is built, the corner stone that lays the foundations, in the dimensions of this great thing that God will do. How can one who is rejected by the world becomes so precious and important in the work in in become precious and important? The answer is verse Twenty Three. This is the Lord's doing. You don't take rejected, humble, defeated, falling things and turn them into great things, unless, of course, you are the Great Lord. He describes this work has marvelous and its eyes, or in our eyes. When's the last time you looked at something and you described it as marvelous? Clouds, maybe a visit to the Grand Canyon, the flowers and springtime, or maybe some great act of salvation, some surprising, amazing, unexpected event which turns out from something that was so bad and some tragic to something that is so amazingly good you hardly have the words to express it. This is marvelous, stunning, a splendid this day of salvation, this rescue, he describes in Verse Twenty Four, is a day that the Lord has made, let us 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 of times when we hear it we think about the the the creative work of the Lord 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 the Lord is made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. But here it had there's another level of meaning. This isn't just a day that the Lord is made yet or as another one of the many days that he makes that we ought to be rejoicing and be glad in it. But this is a day that was very dark. This was a day in which death was at the door. This was the day when the nations were surrounding him like bees, and now everything's okay. Now...

...they are gone, they are vanquished. It is a day of salvation, so let us rejoice and be glad in it. He makes all days and he made this day a very special one. In the light of this Thanksgiving and praise, in the light of this great redemptive, saving work of God, he now says to the Lord in Verse Twenty Five, Save Us, we pray, oh Lord, oh Lord, we pray, give us success. He has a sense that, as of the one who has read and rescued in the Lord, he is one who needs to continue to abide in the Lord. How often, like the 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 these amazing 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 that we've been given the day that we have the salvation we have and give though God thanks for it. We not only need to give him thanks, but we must remember that it's only by His grace that we continue. We need to continue to look to him, not just once and now, now and again, not just when we're in times of great trouble, but at all times. When he says it's better to take refuge in the Lord and the trust and man, he doesn't just mean some of the time, means all of the time. And so this desired and continued success must be maintained by the Lord himself. And so, now, knowing that God answer this these prayers, he finishes the Psalm by speaking of those who are who receive this salvation. He says, and he speaks to it in terms of worship and temple 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 saved comes 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 God hasn't just saved me, he saved a whole host of people and we belong not 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. We find that we're not just there stammering out our praise all alone, but we are joined with the angels, we are joined with saints, we are joined with the elders who, as we sang earlier, cast down their crowns in worship of the great king. The Lord is God, he says in Verse Twenty, and he made us and he has made his light to shone upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice, with cords up to the horns of the altar. We come to God and we come with all offering and with worship and with praise, seeking the Lord and his presence continually. And then, finally, the psalmist concludes and he says, you are my God, just so simple but so rich. You are my God and I will give thanks to you. You are my God, I will extore you. And then he 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 is right, and we're here right along with you, brother. We're here as those who have likewise been saved, and the salvation that we have received through King Jesus, this son of David, this one who is promised to come and establish an eternal kingdom forever,...

...takes this whole Psalm and moves it up a register, takes the whole Psalm and and gives even more light to what we have in this God who has saved us. Peter Talks about this corner 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 no other has been rejected. The world despised him, his own people to turned on him, his own disciples rejected him and betrayed him. From Judas to Peter, he hung on a cross naked. He hung on across a bruised and bloody hung among criminals, to be gawcked at by people, to be an 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 for a season or a time, but forever, to be the glorious king over all the people forever and forever. Peter says that, as he is the cornerstone, we are like living stones built on him into a temple in which the living God dwells forever. This communion and closeness, this these gates of righteousness, this coming into the House of the Lord, all of these images are fulfilled in the Lord and in us, as we are in him. We get to participate not just as citizens of the city but in a way as the city itself. In some amazing way, God unites us with him and binds us to him and so that his light shines upon us, his glory shines upon us. In the face of Jesus Christ, our Savior, this should result in more praise, more rejoicing, more extolling of the goodness of 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, but we find ourselves saved forever, because our king is not like the human kings who came before. This human king is also a divine king. The grace of the Lord is steadfast love. That is seen in this psalm is amplified in a great way in Jesus. Jesus shows us his steadfast love in this psalm as the one who disciplines conquers, strengthens, obtains victory. He is the divine warrior. I'm defeating these bees, defeating the nations, but he is also the one who is defeated. He is also the one who takes on our sins, the one who never did anything wrong and yet was severely a 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 have a kingdom and a king and a priest that is forever. We are about to 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 set in victory. It is called this because we have a lot to give thanks for, as in Psalm Twenty three, the Lord says that he sets a table in the midst of our enemies, and this is exactly what he does in the Lord's supper. He sets a table in the midst of a watching world, in the midst of a world that is full of spiritual powers that would seek to do us harm. But we don't come scared, we don't come worried, we come with Thanksgiving and praise, knowing that the Lord is our host and that as we come, we come together. As we come, we come as those who belong to the House of the Lord, who bear his name, is a family of the righteous who have been saved even from death itself. So, as we gather around the table now, as we receive these promises that the Lord gives to us by faith, let us find in him our salvation, let's find in him alone our salvation and not put our trust in the things in this world, but take refuge entirely in him. Let's pray and ask that the Lord would grant us these things.

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