Rev. Johnny C. Smith,
Pastor – Mount Moriah
Missionary Baptist Church
The marvelous Psalm 118 is the last of the Hallel psalms (Psalm 113-118). Many scholars advance that Christ sung this memorable psalm with His disciples on the very night before His death. Yes, Psalm 118 was sung on the eve of the event in which He would serve as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, for Matthew 26:30 states: “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives.”
Beginning with verse 1 the psalmist says: “O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: because His mercy endureth for ever.” Then in verses 2-4, the psalmist declares that both Israel, the house of Aaron, and all worshippers are called on to praise the Lord for His steadfast mercy. In unusual praise, as believers in this age of grace, we should in an antiphonal praise thank the Lord for His tremendous mercy He has demonstrated toward us. Isn’t God good? Then, we ought to join the psalmist in thanksgiving to our God in Psalm 136:1-5 when he says: “O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for His mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for His mercy endureth for ever. To him who alone doeth great wonders: for His mercy endureth for ever. To Him that by wisdom made the heavens: for His mercy endureth for ever.”
Because the Lord had delivered him from his distress, the psalmist admonished others to place their trust in the Lord, rather than man (vv. 5-9). Verses 5 and 6 express the confidence the psalmist has in the Lord: “I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” Ultimately the psalmist’s resolve is – “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (v 8). Even in the midst of being surrounded or compassed about by his enemies, the psalmist cites the many ways the Lord gave him victory over his enemies (vv. 10-13).
Because the Lord had given him victory over his enemies, the psalmist praised the Lord for his deliverance in verses 14-21. Again the psalmist resolves – “The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation” (v. 14). The psalmist also expresses his determination – “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD” (v. 21).
In verses 22-24, although the builders had rejected the stone, the same is become the head of the corner. The stone is the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 21:42). One day, Israel will welcome their rejected Messiah (Matthew 23:39); Zechariah 12:10). In verses 25-29, the psalmist concluded this remarkable psalm by praying for His people’s deliverance and well-being. At the Lord’s Second Coming, verses 25-26 – “Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. 6Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD” – will be fulfilled with the nation of Israel receiving the Messiah instead of rejecting Him (Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 27:25).
And concluding as he began the psalmist repeats “O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever” (v. 29).
May God Bless!