Psalm 118 Continued
Psalm 118:14 “The LORD [is] my strength and song, and is become my salvation.”
These words are identical to Moses’ words (in Exodus 15:2).
In the last lesson, we were dealing with the way to win battles. It is the name of the Lord that defeats the enemy. We also saw (in chapter 6 of Ephesians), just how to battle the powers and principalities that come against the believers. Now we see that David is saying, his strength and song is the LORD. We all know that the Lord Jesus Christ brought salvation to the world.
1 Timothy 4:10 “For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.”
Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Verses 15-18: A declaration of victory.
Verses 15-16: “The right hand”: Very similar to Moses’ words (in Exodus 15:6, 12).
Psalm 118:15 “The voice of rejoicing and salvation [is] in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.”
Rejoicing for salvation; song, praise, and thanksgiving. Luther renders this beautifully; “They sing with joy for victory in the houses of the righteous.”
“Is in the tabernacles of the righteous”: The tents of the righteous; their dwellings. That is, it is a fact that the voice of joy and rejoicing is there. It is appropriate that it should be so, or that a righteous family should be happy, the dwelling place of praise. God will add to the happiness of the righteous, or will make their habitation happy, peaceful, and blessed. There is nothing that diffuses so much happiness through a family as religion. There is no joy like that when a member of a family is converted. There is no place on earth happier than that where a family bows before God with the feeling that all are children of God and heirs of salvation.
“The right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly”: Hebrew “Doeth strength.” That is, God does great things, laying the foundation for joy and praise.
Notice, that tabernacles is plural in the verse above. Tabernacle, in the verse above, means tent, dwelling place, or covering. This then is saying that the righteous (those in right standing with God), dwell in salvation, and they are rejoicing because of it. The Right Hand of the LORD is Jesus Christ. Salvation is not something that is received every once and a while, but is in fact a state of being saved. The Right Hand in the verse above was the Author of our salvation.
Psalm 118:16 “The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.”
Lifted up, very eminent and conspicuous, easily to be observed in the instances before given, and become great and glorious in power (see Exodus 15:6). The power of God is superior to all enemies; and is beyond conception and expression. And is able to do for his people above all they are able to ask or think.
“The right hand of the Lord doth valiantly”: Or “acts powerfully”. This is repeated for the confirmation of it, and to show how much the righteous were affected with it, and how desirous they were of glorifying of it. “The right hand of the Lord”, being three times mentioned, may have respect to the three divine Persons in the Godhead, whose right hand or power is the same. And as the right hand of the Father has done powerfully in the instances given, so the right hand of the Son has worked mightily in vanquishing all enemies, sin, Satan, and death. And the world; in obtaining the salvation of his people, and in raising himself from the dead. And so the right hand of the Holy Spirit has wrought powerfully on Christ, on whom he rested as the Spirit of might, and through whom Christ offered himself to God, and by whom he was raised from the dead. And also in the conversion of sinners, and in helping, assisting, strengthening, and protecting the saints.
Since we have established the fact that the Right Hand here, is Jesus Christ, let’s look at just how exalted He will be.
Philippians 2:9-11 “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;” “And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Psalm 118:17 “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.”
Not that he should never die. David knew he would; but that his present afflictions would not issue in death; or he should not die by the hands of his enemies. He sometimes feared he should; but now believed he should live, as he did, to a good old age. He knew he should live spiritually and eternally, and not die a second death. And so may all true believers and members of Christ say. Yea, these words may be considered as the words of Christ; who, though he came into the world to die, and did die for the sins of his people. Yet he knew he should not die before his time, nor should he continue long under the power of death. But should live again, and live for evermore, and not die. Death should have no more dominion over him (see Psalm 16:10).
“And declare the works of the Lord”: The wonderful appearances of God in a providential way, and all his marvelous works of grace. As David did, and as all the people of God more or less do. And which is the end of their living; not to eat and drink, and gratify their carnal senses, but to glorify God, by declaring what he has done for themselves and others. So, the Messiah declared the name of God, his nature, perfections, mind and will, word and works, among his brethren in the great congregation (Psalm 22:22).
We know that the Lord Jesus Christ defeated death when He rose from the grave. Because He rose from the grave, we will rise from the grave also, and will live (not die), with him eternally. This mortal shall take on immortality. To learn more about this (read Corinthians 15:35 to the end of the chapter).
Psalm 118:18 “The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.”
Hebrew, “The Lord has chastened, has chastened me” (see notes at Psalm 118:13). The psalmist had been greatly afflicted, and he now looked upon his affliction in the light of a fatherly chastisement or correction. It had been a severe trial, and he was not insensible to its severity, though he regarded it as designed for his own good.
“But he hath not given me over unto death”: He interposed when I was in danger; he rescued me when I was on the verge of the grave. This is the close of the psalmist’s statement in regard to the divine dealings with him. He had passed through great danger. He had been sorely afflicted; but he had been rescued and spared, and he came now to express his thanks to God for his recovery. In the following verse, he addresses those who had the care of the sanctuary, and asks that he might be permitted to enter and offer his thanks to God.
We read that whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth. This is like a loving parent correcting a child.
Verses 19-29: Those who saw Christ’s day at so great a distance, saw cause to praise God for the prospect.
Verses 19-21: The victory against overwhelming odds elicits from the psalmist a great desire to praise God.
Psalm 118:19 “Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, [and] I will praise the LORD:”
“Gates of righteousness”: Most likely a figurative reference, i.e., spiritual gates through which the righteous pass (compare Psalm 100:4), rather than to the gates of the temple, e.g., (1 Chron. 9:23).
Jesus is the gate (the Way), that we enter into righteousness. He put us in right standing, when He shed His blood to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The temple curtain tore from the top to the bottom when Jesus gave His body on the cross for you and me. The way to the Father had been closed. Now, the shed blood of the Lord Jesus has opened the way to the throne of God and to the Father for all who would believe. The gate is open, but it is our obligation to go therein. What a reason to praise the Lord, this is!
Psalm 118:20 “This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.”
“This gate”: This points to the entryway which leads to the presence of the Lord. Jesus may have had this psalm in mind when He taught about “the narrow gate” (in Matt. 7:13-14).
The righteous are those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, and put in right standing with God, because they believe.
Romans 4:3 “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
Abraham was the father of all the believers. We, like Abraham, are righteous, because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. This gate is the entrance to heaven. We must come through faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior to enter into eternal life in heaven. This really will be a glorious restoration of the garden of Eden. The big difference is, there is no temptation here. This is also the place that Jesus told the thief he would be with Him. It is Paradise.
Psalm 118:21 “I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.”
“My salvation”: The Lord has delivered the palmist from otherwise certain defeat and death (compare 118:14-15).
There is no better reason to praise Him, than the fact that He saved you. Salvation is available to all, but to receive it, we must believe in the Lord. Repent of your sins, and ask Jesus to save you, He will not turn you down.
Verses 22-26: The New Testament quotes of verses 22-23 and verses 25-26 lend strong messianic significance here. If Moses is the author, then the New Testament writers use a perfect analogy in connecting this passage to Christ. For example, Moses said that God would raise up another prophet like himself (Deut. 18:15). Peter identified this other prophet as the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 3:11-26). So Moses is a legitimate, biblically recognized type of Christ.
Verses 22-23: May refer to David’s preferment; but principally to Christ.
(1) His humiliation; he is the Stone which the builders refused: they would go on in their building without him. This proved the ruin of those who thus made light of him. Rejecters of Christ are rejected of God.
(2) His exaltation; he is the chief Cornerstone in the foundation. He is the chief Top-stone, in whom the building is completed, who must, in all things, have the pre-eminence.
Christ’s name is Wonderful; and the redemption he wrought out is the most amazing of all God’s wondrous works. We will rejoice and be glad in the Lord’s day. Not only that such a day is appointed, but in the occasion of it, Christ’s becoming the Head. Sabbath days ought to be rejoicing days, then they are to us as the days of heaven. Let this Savior be my Savior, my Ruler. Let my soul prosper and be in health, in that peace and righteousness which his government brings. Let me have victory over the lusts that war against my soul; and let Divine grace subdue my heart. The duty which the Lord has made, brings light with it, true light. The duty this privilege calls for, is here set forth. The sacrifices we are to offer to God in gratitude for redeeming love, are ourselves; not to be slain upon the altar, but living sacrifices, to be bound to the altar. Spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise, in which our hearts must be engaged. The psalmist praises God, and calls upon all about him to give thanks to God for the glad tidings of great joy to all people, that there is a Redeemer, even Christ the Lord. In him the covenant of grace is made sure and everlasting.
Psalm 118:22 “The stone [which] the builders refused is become the head [stone] of the corner.”
“Stone … builders refused … head stone of the corner”: Peter identified the chief cornerstone in the New Testament as Christ (Acts. 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7). In the parable of the vineyard (Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 20:17), the rejected son of the vineyard owner is likened to the rejected stone which became the chief cornerstone. Christ was that rejected stone. Jewish leaders were pictured as builders of the nation. Now, this passage in verse 22 has a historical basis which is paralleled in its major features by analogy with the rejection of Christ who came to deliver/save the nation. Moses’ experience, as a type of Christ, pictured Christ’s rejection. On at least 3 occasions Moses (“stone”), was rejected by the Jews (“builders”), as their God sent the deliverer (“chief corner stone”; for examples see Exodus 2:11-15; compare Acts 7:35; Exodus 14:10-14, 10; 16:1-3, 11-12, 20).
This is a prophetic Scripture, speaking of the Lord Jesus who was rejected by the builders. The Cornerstone here, is the Lord Jesus. He it is who stands at the corner and brings both Jew and Gentile together in Him. We could get into this in great length, but read our study on the 2 sticks that become one (in Ezekiel chapter 37). Jesus is the focal point of the Bible. He is in all the books of the Bible.
Matthew 21:42 “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?”
This Scripture in Psalms is the one Jesus was speaking of.
Psalm 118:23 “This is the LORD’S doing; it [is] marvelous in our eyes.”
This stone is from the Lord (Gen. 49:24). It is of his choosing, appointing, and laying. The rejection of it by the builders is through his permission and will. They did no other things than what his hand and counsel determined should be done (Acts 2:23). And the exaltation of it, or the making it the head of the corner, was of him. He highly exalted him at his right hand, above every name, creature, and thing.
“It is marvelous in our eyes”: The stone itself is wonderful to look at, for its beauty, strength, and usefulness. The wisdom, love, care, and power of God, in laying it, are astonishing. The distinguishing grace of God in selecting some stones out of the common quarry, making them lively stones. And building them on this foundation stone, is exceeding marvelous. And so are both the rejection and exaltation of it; that so precious a stone should be refused, and, when treated with so much neglect and contempt, should be exalted. The Targum is, “from the Lord was this, said the builders. This is marvelous in our sight, said the sons of Jesse.”
This was the plan from the beginning of the world. The 2 walls that fit together are the physical and the spiritual house of Israel. Who but God, could figure out so grand a plan that He might save all of mankind by.
Psalm 118:24 “This [is] the day [which] the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
“The day”: Probably refers to;
(1) The day of deliverance and/or;
(2) The day the stone was made the chief cornerstone, which they now celebrate.
There is a set day of God for everything to be done. The Lord has made all the days. He had a set time to send the Messiah (the Lord Jesus Christ), to the earth as Savior. We saw that there was a set time for Jesus to be crucified. We know this, because He was in their midst preaching and healing daily, and they could not capture Him. It had to be the day that the Lord had planned for it to be. There was a set day for Him to rise from the tomb. There is a set day for His return to the earth. God has it all figured out. Praise God! This is the day that the LORD hath made. I determine in my heart that I “will rejoice and be glad in it”.
Psalm 118:25 “Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.”
“Save now, I beseech thee O LORD” Transliterated from Hebrew, this becomes “Hosanna”. These words were shouted by the crowd to Christ at the time of His triumphal entry to Jerusalem (Matt. 21:9; Mark 11:9-10; John 12:13). Days later they rejected Him because He did not provide military/political deliverance.
This prosperity is of the spirit, because it has to do with salvation. I believe this is speaking of the time when God will pour out of His Spirit on all flesh.
Acts 2:17 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:”
Psalm 118:26 “Blessed [be] he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.”
“Blessed”: Christ taught that the nation of Israel would not see Him again after His departure (ascension to heaven), until they could genuinely offer these words to Him at His second coming (compare Matt. 23:39; Luke 13:35). In this historical text, it could have easily been sung by the Jews of Moses’ day, especially at the end of the 40 years but prior to Moses’ death (compare Deut. Chapters 1-33).
“The house of the LORD”: A phrase used in reference to the tabernacle of Moses (compare Exodus 23:19; 34:26; Deut. 23:18), and later the temple (compare 1 Kings 6:1).
Those who minister must be careful to come in the name of the Lord. We cannot preach effectively, unless it is in the name of the Lord. We cannot praise effectively, unless it be done in the name of the Lord. We cannot pray an effective prayer, unless it be in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot do any miracles in our name. It is the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that has the power to minister. We just have the authority to use His name.
Psalm 118:27 “God [is] the LORD, which hath showed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, [even] unto the horns of the altar.”
“Light”: Similar to the Mosaic benediction (of Num. 6:25).
“The altar”: The altar of burnt offerings, which stood on the east in the court outside of the Holy Place (compare Exodus 27:1-8; 38:1-7).
The Light spoken of here, is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Light of the world. If His Light does not shine in your spirit, you are in darkness and are lost. The strength (horns), of our sacrifice is in Jesus. Let His Light shine forth from you, because He is in you.
Psalm 118:28 “Thou [art] my God, and I will praise thee: [thou art] my God, I will exalt thee.”
These are the words of David, asserting his interest in God as his covenant God. And which is the great blessing of the covenant, and the greatest happiness of men, and will always continue. And for which there is abundant reason for praise. It is an instance of distinguishing grace, all evidence or everlasting love, and the foundation of all comfort and happiness here and hereafter.
“Thou art my God, one will exalt thee”: In my heart, and with my lips; and call upon others to join with me in it (as in Psalm 118:29). The Targum is, “thou art my God, and I will confess before thee; thou art my God. And I will praise thee, said David. Samuel replied, and said, Praise, O ye congregation of Israel;” who are addressed in the next words.
This bears a striking resemblance (to Exodus 15:2).
Notice the “my” here. The first mention of God here is EL. It means, among other things, God. The last mention of God, here, is another word, Elohim which is plural. It means the Creator God. This is the same as is in:
1 John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
This is the fullness of the Godhead; which mortal man does not fully understand. The praise of God should be continually in our mouth.
As I am working on these lessons, it strikes me that God is so much above mankind that there is no way to fully understand or convey His greatness. All we can do is stand in awe of this Mighty God. To praise just seems so little to do. I want to fall down prostrate before Him, and worship Him with all that is within me.
Psalm 118:29 “O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.”
And thus, the psalm ends as it began (a repetition of 118:1). There having been given many instances of the divine goodness, in hearing and delivering the psalmist when in distress. Saving him from his enemies, when compassed about with them. Sparing his life, when in great danger. And especially in making the stone rejected by the builders the head of the corner.
“For his mercy endureth for ever”: The above instances are proofs of it; and still it continues, and will for evermore. Here ends the great “Hallel”, or hymn, sung at the Passover and other festivals.
This Psalm began and ended the same way. Having done and said all, we come back to the goodness of God and the mercy of God which will never end. This is reason enough to praise Him continually.
Psalm 118 Continued Questions
- The LORD is my strength and my song, and is become my ______________.
- What does tabernacle, in verse 15, mean?
- What is verse 15 saying?
- _____________ is actually a state of being saved.
- How exalted will the Right Hand of God be?
- Where do we find the Scriptures that deal with the mortal taking on immortality?
- Who does the Lord chasten?
- What can you compare this chastening with?
- Who is the Gate?
- When did Jesus open the way for us to heaven and the Father?
- What is our obligation in going to heaven?
- Who are the righteous?
- Heaven is really a glorious restoration of what?
- What has the psalmist determined to do in verse 21?
- The stone, which the builders refused, has become what?
- Where does Jesus speak of the cornerstone in the New Testament?
- What chapter in Ezekiel speaks of the two houses that come together in Jesus?
- Who is the focal point of the Bible?
- Name some things the Lord set a specific day to happen.
- What is the prosperity in verse 25?
- Ministers must minister in the _______ ____ ______ _______.
- Who showed us Light?
- What do horns symbolize?
- In verse 28, who is the first mention of God referring to?
- In verse 28, who is the second mention of God referring to?