Day 19: Psalm 118
I remember a conversation with my son when he was about 6 years old about the fact that we were family forever. He looked over his glasses at me, smiled and said ‘Mum, forever is a long time!’.
Here in Psalm 118 the psalmist, believed to be David, raises a cry
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever – verse 1
The psalmist encourages the people to lift up their hearts in gratitude and declare the goodness of God. I picture the psalmist, stirring the people, calling them to awake from apathy or low spirits. This statement is both a declaration of truth and a battle cry. Whatever you are feeling today I encourage you to make this your declaration. Don’t allow your day to be determined by your feelings or by the ‘voices’ around you but allow this truth to resound in your mind and soul.
To endure means to last a long time and also to bear up under pressure. God’s love (translated mercy in some versions) is unending; there literally is no end to it. It remains whatever the circumstances. He loved us yesterday, He loves us today and He will love us tomorrow. Whatever pressure is applied in our lives, whatever we do there is nothing that is going to diminish His love for us and mercy towards us. Pause and let that sink in. Whatever we fear for today or the days ahead, whatever situation we find ourselves in, the truth is He loves us, He is good and He is with us.
I recall a worship song that was sung a lot in churches a few years ago ‘Forever’ by Chris Tomlin. When singing it I noticed that the congregation would almost shout the word ‘forever’. In good times to say that God is good can roll off the tongue effortlessly but when life is tough, as it is for many at the moment, it is not always so easy. We need to use this declaration as a shout, a battle cry. We have an enemy who would want us to believe, in the face of trials, that God is not good and does not love. That is a lie and we need to ‘put on our belts of truth’ (Ephesians 6 v 14) and cry ‘forever!’.
The psalmist goes on to recount what God has done in his life and testifies to how he has experienced the goodness of God.
When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD;
he brought me into a spacious place – verse 5
All the nations surrounded me,
but in the name of the LORD I cut them down – verse 10
I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the LORD helped me – verse 13
As he recalls his personal experience it leads him to praise and thanksgiving. He concludes that the Lord is his helper, his strength, his defence and his salvation. I challenge you today to write your own psalm recalling the things that the Lord has done in your life. I guarantee that you will end up being able to join the psalmist in testifying to the goodness of God.
The term, ‘testimony,’ derives from the Hebrew word, uwd, which means to ‘do again’. What He has done before He will do again. If you have known Him as your provider, your comfort, your peace or your joy in the past he will do that and more in your present and future.
In Revelation 12:11 we read
“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
I believe that this is a principle for our lives. We can overcome by the blood of Jesus and by the word of our testimony. Testimony is powerful. It encourages us and others, gives God the glory he deserves and is the gateway to thanksgiving. As you testify to the deeds of God you discover his character and faithfulness. In testimony you are reminded that the Lord is entirely trustworthy.
In fact the verses at the very centre of the Bible here in Psalm 118 are verses 8 & 9
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
Finally you cannot look at Psalm 118 without noting that in this psalm at the centre of the Bible is a prophetic reference to Jesus.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone; – verses 21 & 22
Forever is possible because of Jesus.
Let us give thanks. We can trust the Lord today whatever the day brings because He is good and His love endures forever. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) …. and forever is a long time.