Matthew R. Perry

Is The Lord’s Work Marvelous in Your Eyes? (Psalm 118)

In Sermons on February 7, 2007 at 8:06 pm

This is a typical Wednesday night Bible study. Tonight is on Psalm 118 as we are going through each of the Psalms on Wednesday night. We started with the Psalms in September of 2003. We only have 32 left (but Psalm 119 is next!).

May God bless you with His Word as He does me!

====

This is the Lord’s Doing
Psalm 118
Wednesday, February 7, 2007

How blessed it is to see a Psalm that declares God’s goodness in the midst of the world’s wickedness.

1. His steadfast love is the Lord’s doing (Psalm 118:1-4);

Psalm 118:1-4
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
[2] Let Israel say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”
[3] Let the house of Aaron say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”
[4] Let those who fear the Lord say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”

Do you get the idea that God is trying to reinforce the notion of “his steadfast love” enduring forever? Good. He tells the ethnic children of Abraham (Israel), the priesthood who represent and intercede for us to God to know this, and for all those truly faithful who fear him to know this. In a world where the only thing that stays the same is change, it is good to know that the one who made the world and is over the world never changes.

William Gladstone, in announcing the death of Princess Alice to the House of Commons, told a touching story. The little daughter of the Princess was seriously ill with diphtheria. The doctors told the princess not to kiss her little daughter and endanger her life by breathing the child’s breath. Once when the child was struggling to breathe, the mother, forgetting herself entirely, took the little one into her arms to keep her from choking to death. Rasping and struggling for her life, the child said, “Momma, kiss me!” Without thinking of herself the mother tenderly kissed her daughter. She got diphtheria and some days thereafter she went to be forever with the Lord. Real love forgets self. Real love knows no danger. Real love doesn’t count the cost. The Bible says, “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.”

This is the type of love we need to understand from the lord — many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.

2. Our deliverance is the Lord’s doing (Psalm 118:5-13);

Verses five through seven say:

Psalm 118:5-7
Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free.
[6] The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
[7] The Lord is on my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

When God is on your side, there is the knowledge that God hears you in your distress. Not only does God hear, he answers. And not only does God answer, he gives us liberty. He gives us strength because we know that we have an advocate who stands with us. 1 John 2:1-3 tells us:

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

He stands with us as our aid and comfort against the enemy. We look to the Lord in triumph when we trust.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:4-5, ESV)?

This is the victory that is ours — and that victory is the Lord’s doing.

3. Our salvation is the Lord’s doing (Psalm 118:14-18).

a. He puts a song in our heart (14-16)

Again, this Psalmist notes how God is his help in saying God is his strength. The inner strength given puts for an outward song — but it is not a song that everyone can sing. This is a song found only “in the tents of the righteous.” I cannot help of thinking of that old Larry Norman song:

When you know a pretty story, you don’t let it go un-said.
Look around you, as you sing it, there are people everywhere,
You tell it to your children as you tuck them into bed.
And to those who stop to listen, this sweet song becomes a prayer.

And when you know a wonderful secret, you tell it to your friends.
Cause when you know a wonderful secret, you tell it to your friends.
Because a lifetime filled with happiness, is like a street that never ends.
Tell them that a life time filled with jesus, is like a street that never
ends.
Sing that sweet sweet song of salvation. let your laughter fill the air
Sing that sweet sweet song of salvtion, tell the people everywhere.
Sing that sweet sweet song of salvation, to every man every na – tion
Sing that sweet sweet song of salvation, and let the people know that Jesus cares.

b. He puts to mind all his wondrous deeds (17)
c. He punishes and disciplines for our good (Hebrews 12:5b-12).

4. The opened gate of righteousness is the Lord’s doing (Psalms 118:19-25).

If ever a case could be made that this is a Christian psalm, it is because of this section. After recognizing that only God can “open to me the gates of righteousness” (118:19), verse 22 is oh so familiar: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” (118:22). This ‘stone’ in the original context applies to Israel, since its land and population were so small and seemingly insignificant. Yet Deut. 7:7-8 tells us:

It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, [8] but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

God chose to use what the world deemed small and insignificant to do his work in his world. He does the same in the church, yes?

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. [26] For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. [27] But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; [28] God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, [29] so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. [30] He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. [31] Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:25-31, ESV)

Jesus used this verse in the Parable of the Vineyard (Matthew 21:42), Peter used it to defend their work before the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:7 and used it to speak of the church in 1 Peter 2:4-10. The rejection of the “stone” for Jesus and the apostles were the Pharisees. Yet it was the Lord’s doing to lift up what the world rejected for his glory. The world rejected Jesus by crucifying him and leaving him in that tomb. Yet, God made him the cornerstone by lifting him up to build his church. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad it in” (Psalm 118:24). No wonder the early church fathers used this text for numerous Easter sermons!

5. The light that shines on his people is the Lord’s doing (Psalm 118:26-29).

Recognize verse 26? They shouted this to Jesus in his triumphal entry (Mark 11:9). Hosanna means “save us” which connects with verse 25. When God shines his light, he is shining his favor upon us. This results in salvation and results in a determined worship before him.

The Lord is God,
and he has made his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
up to the horns of the altar (Psalm 118:27, ESV).

When God shines his favor, worship ensues!! Think of how a holy God could ever look upon his people with any pleasure at all — but he does. But now we no longer need to offer sacrifices of bulls and goats in worship. Christ has already made that sacrifice for us once and for all (Hebrews 9:23-28). So now we sacrifice a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17), and we bring forth the sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15), and most of all a sacrifice of our lives (Romans 12:1).

Conclusion

In verse 23, we read, “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” Do we look at the works and the Word of the Lord and say, “This is marvelous!”? “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). We delight in God’s nature, God’s work, and God’s work. He has done marvelous things (Psalm 98:1).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: