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This is the Day the Lord Has Made

Psalms 118  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:07
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This morning’s Scripture Lesson is taken from selected verses from Psalm 118.
Psalm 118:1–2 ESV
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Psalm 118:14–24 ESV
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.
I have entitled my message this morning, “This is the Day the Lord has Made.” This title comes from verse 24 of our text. This is also the title of our closing song this morning, which is also based on verse 24.
If there is a day in which these words are fitting, it has to be Easter. Of all the days of the year, this is the day more than any other that we have good reason to “rejoice and be glad”!
This Psalm was not originally an Easter hymn. It was probably composed for the dedication of the Second Temple. It is the last of the Egyptian Hallel psalms, consequently it was the last hymn Jesus and His disciples sang as they departed the Upper Room. This Psalm was also sung at the Feast of Tabernacles and was recited by the crowds on Palm Sunday. Finally, according to Jesus this is the Psalm that will be sung at His Second Coming (Mt 23:39)! In other words, this is a very important Psalm!
The purpose of this Psalm is not hard to identify. It opens and closes with exactly the same words.
Psalm 118:29 ESV
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
This Psalm is a call for God’s people to praise Him for His goodness and steadfast love! In verse 2-4, the whole people are called to praise God.
What makes this Psalm interesting is its use of the first person “I” throughout. Clearly this is a Psalm intended for corporate worship, yet each member is called to make it his or hers. When we read in this Psalm “I was in distress,” or “I was severely disciplined,” or “I was rejected,” we need to remember the words of the Apostle Paul, “when one part suffers, the whole body suffers” (1 Cor 12:26). By use of the “I”, each member is called to identify him or herself with the trials of the whole people.
No wonder, the Apostles so frequently applied this Psalm to the redemptive work of Jesus. Jesus so closely identified Himself with us that our suffering became His suffering and His suffering, becomes ours! Consequently, this Psalm is an Easter Psalm.
So why should we rejoice and be glad in the steadfast love of God today? For three reasons. The first is found in verses 5-16.

God Delivers His People When the World is Against Us

This section begins with these words:
Psalm 118:5–6 ESV
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 psalmist goes on to say that, “All the nations surround me” (Psalm 118:10-12). We have all felt that the world is against us. This is not just a paranoid delusion; it is reality. Jesus warn His disciples of this in the Upper Room.
John 15:18–20 ESV
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
There was no one who the world hates more than Jesus. In Acts 4:27 we read these words.
Acts 4:27 ESV
for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,
I think of Jesus as He hung on the cross. Representatives of all the “power people” of that day were gathered around the foot of the cross mocking and jeering Him. Where were His followers? They had abandoned Him. Only John, Jesus’ mother Mary and a few other women dared to lend Him any comfort and support.
O, how the words He sung the evening before must have comforted Him:
Psalm 118:6–7 ESV
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.
The Lord was on Jesus side, Easter morning is proof!
The Lord is on your side as well, Easter morning is proof!
This past year, Christians around the globe were martyred at an alarming rate. In the United States, persecution is quickly moving from “soft” to “hard persecution”. If it was not for the promise of the resurrection, it would be enough to drive us to despair, but we do not despair, because we know the final Resurrection Day is coming! As our Psalm says, “we will look in triumph on those who hate us”!
The second reason we “rejoice and be gland” in this day is:

God Disciplines His People, But Not Unto Death

This is found in verses 17-18:
Psalm 118:17–18 ESV
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.
It is odd for us to think of God the Father disciplining Jesus, because Jesus was sinless, but Scripture makes clear that on the cross, God laid upon Him “the iniquity of us all” (Is 53:6). We must not water down this reality; our salvation depends upon it. I believe Paul, understood our reluctance to accept the fact that God “disciplined” Jesus, for he uses a verbal sledgehammer to drive this reality home:
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus the sinless one became sin for us!
Consequently, Jesus was not merely “disciplined,” He was cursed and bore the full fury of the wrath of God!
Galatians 3:13 ESV
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—
The upshot of this is that a believer in Jesus will never face the wrath of God, he or she will only face the loving discipline of our Heavenly Father. This discipline may feel severe to us, but as verse 17 teaches us, we are disciplined, not that we may die, but that we may “recount the deeds of the Lord”!
At verse 19 there is a transition, the believer is now in the courts of the Lord, in order that he or she might “recount the deeds of the Lord” before the Great Congregation.
Psalm 118:19 ESV
Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
This brings us to the final reason to “rejoice and be glad” in this Day.

God Exalts Those the World Rejects

In the midst of this corporate worship, we find this promise.
Psalm 118:22 ESV
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
This verse is cited and applied to Jesus six times in the New Testament, for example:
Acts 4:11 ESV
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.
Of all of God’s people, no one was more rejected and despised by the world than Jesus, yet God has exalted Him to the highest place!
In the eyes of the political and religious “experts” of Jesus’ day, Jesus was judge unfit to be the Christ, the Messiah. He was rejected, crucified upon a cross and thrown into a tomb, but on Easter morning, God raised Jesus from the dead and made Him the cornerstone, upon which God builds His holy temple—the church! (Eph 2:19-21)
Each of us, Scripture says are stones in this holy temple. Just like Jesus, we are rejected by the world. However, just like Jesus, we will be exalted!
Don’t judge your potential by worldly standards, but by Divine power. Does not our text say:
Psalm 118:23 ESV
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Do your eyes see “the immeasurable greatness” (Eph 1:19) of God’s power that is at work in you? This according to Paul is the same power...
Ephesians 1:20 ESV
that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
Easter truly is “the Day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
Let us pray.
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