Praise the Living God

Posted: June 14, 2012 in Psalms

Psalms 115-118, “Praise the Living God”

What’s your favorite devotional book?  There are many classic works from Spurgeon & Oswald Chambers – but if you press most Christians on their favorite devotional book in the Bible itself, it’s likely the most common answer would be the Psalms.  There’s a reason so many people turn to the Psalms in their devotional times when they’re ready to praise the Lord: it’s so easy to do when reading them!  As we read of the various authors thinking upon the deliverance they experienced from the Lord, and read of their own hearts leaping for joy in praise unto God, it’s difficult not to get caught up along with them.  That’s exactly what we find in Pss 115-118.

These are all still part of what is known as the “Egyptian Hallel” psalms – songs sung at the Passover meal commemorating the act of God redeeming Israel from Egypt.  Truly His redemption and salvation can be seen all throughout Pss 115-118, and it’s easy to understand why these might be recited after eating the Passover meal.  As the people think back over God’s deliverance, it’s a natural incentive to give God praise.  Knowing that our Passover is completely fulfilled in Christ – we have even more reason to praise God than the ancient Hebrews!

Psalm 115 (NKJV) – Dead Idols vs. the Living God

  • There are different thoughts as to the author & date of writing for this psalm…some believe that because of the mention of the various idols, it must have been after the period of the Babylonian exile.  At the same time, it’d be easy to understand a psalmist writing of the various idols of Egypt, or of the pagan cultures that permeated the land during the reigns of the various kings.  Ultimately all these ideas are guesses because the Scripture simply doesn’t tell us.  Whenever it was written, the basic idea is plain: idols are dead, while God is alive.  Because our God is the living God, He is to be praised.
  • Worthy of glory (vss. 1-3)

1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth.

  • God is the one to get glory; not us.  How important it is to be reminded of this fact!  So often, Christians want to somehow experience the glory of God & they look to emotional experiences to “soak up the glory” or “let the glory fall on us,” etc.  The fact is: we’re not the ones supposed to receive the glory. The psalmist gets it absolutely right here when he declares that it is “not unto us, but to Your name give glory.”  God is the One worthy of glory.  Anything that we share in because of the grace of Christ is simply a benefit; it’s not something that we should seek out for ourselves.  If we’re going to be seeking out glory, we ought to be seeking a way to give glory unto God.
  • God is glorified because of His mercy.  Speaking of His covenant lovingkindness – the mercy He graciously bestows upon His people.  Israel could look to the night of the Passover & the parting of the Red Sea to see the “chesed” mercy of God in action; we can look to the cross.
  • God is glorified because of His truth.  This doesn’t so much speak of doctrine (though it certainly is included), but rather speaks of God’s faithfulness & trustworthiness.  His promises are established & can always be trusted – thus God is to be glorified.

2 Why should the Gentiles say, “So where is their God?” 3 But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.

  • God is glorified & the world takes notice.  Apparently the nations around Israel were taunting them.  The Gentiles hadn’t seen God in action, so the psalmist asks God to make Himself known among the world.  And of course, that’s exactly what God did in Egypt.  Pharaoh did not recognize the Lord God, but soon he was unable to ignore His great works.
  • God is sovereign & supreme.  He can do whatever He pleases because He is GOD.  God works in His time & in His way.  There’s none that dictates commands unto God; He is the One who rules over all the earth.
  • Worthlessness of idols (vss. 4-8)

4 Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands.

  • Going to go into a description of the uselessness of idols…all summarized in this first statement.  Our God is in heaven; their gods are bits of metal sculpted by human hands.  Our God does whatever He wants to do; their gods can’t do anything but be fashioned according to the will of its sculptor.  Our God is our creator; their gods are created.

5 They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; 6 They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; 7 They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat.

  • False idolatrous gods may be shaped like humans or other creatures, but they can’t act like them.  A piece of wood can’t help a living person…that’s simply a fact.  A false idea can’t help a living person – it’s just a fiction of our imagination.  They only God that can help is a God that actually exists: the one true Living God of the Bible.

8 Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them.

  • Useless idols are offered useless prayers in useless faith.  It’s a waste of oxygen.  The psalmist may not be using the best tact here…he’s basically calling the worshippers of false idols as stupid as the idols themselves.  (His doctrine may be right, but he’s not exactly winning friends & influencing people! J)  The point is that the worship of idols is simply illogical.  Why would anyone worship a so-called “god” that they just finished making with their own hands?  It doesn’t even make sense!
    • This still happens today.  All over India, there are temples filled with idolatrous statues made by the hands of men & worshipped by others.  There are sacred things in all sorts of religions, in which men & women bow & worship/venerate.  It’s simply illogical.
    • Before we point too many fingers, it makes even less sense in our own culture.  We worship things as if they are gods, but we’re not honest enough with ourselves to admit that this is what we are doing.  A Hindu is at least honest about his/her false worship.  We hold up our tech toys or movies (or whatever) and worship them as gods without admitting that this is what we’re doing.  Whatever it is we worship other than the one true God, it’s still illogical & worthless.
  • Objection: “But who’s to say that faith offered in other religious isn’t valid?  You’re just being too narrow-minded!”  What good does faith offered to a false god offer?  If you wanted to write a letter to the President of the USA & addressed it to Joe Smith in Cut & Shoot, TX, you might get a funny response but you certainly wouldn’t get anything accomplished you set out to do.  If you want to write the President, you need to send a letter to the very real White House in Washington, DC…everything else is just a waste of time & energy.  Likewise with prayer & faith.  Without addressing it to the only God who can truly answer, it’s a waste of time.
  • Worthiness of the Living God (vss. 9-13)

9 O Israel, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield. 10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield. 11 You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield.

  • This is the contrast with the dead idol.  Don’t trust idols; “trust in the LORD!”  To trust God is to have our confidence & hope within God.  To trust God is to have all of our faith within God, and not in ourselves – not in the things that we can hold.  To trust God is to entrust ourselves unto Him through Jesus Christ.  The Great Commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength…that’s what it means to trust in the Lord.
  • Why?  Because the living God can actually DO something.  Unlike an idol that has a mouth but no breath, or hands and no action, the Lord God can actually be a “help & a shield.”  He can move – He can act – He can intervene – He can save.  There’s no greater proof of this than the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, because that’s exactly what God did.  God the Son moved & walked among us – He spoke with us & demonstrated He love for us.  He became our help & our shield as He died for us & rose again.  God DID something when Jesus became incarnate; God sent the Savior.
  • Notice the repetition – the only variance is the group being exhorted.
    • Israel” = the nation
    • house of Aaron” = the priesthood
    • you who fear the LORD” = the individual.  Even beyond the nation of Israel, this could speak to the “God-fearer.”  Anyone who recognized the one true God as God.
    • Can you be included in that?  Are you one who fears the Lord?

12 The LORD has been mindful of us; He will bless us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron. 13 He will bless those who fear the LORD, Both small and great.

  • Not only is God alive & active; God hears & is knowledgeable of His people. He “has been mindful of us.” He pays attention to us…which is simply an amazing mind-blowing thought in itself.  To be sure, God is omniscient, so there’s no event in the universe which escapes His knowledge.  But the plain idea here is that God pays special attention to us as His people. Of all of the people groups on the planet, God had a special relationship with the Jews.  Of all of the individual humans throughout history, God has a special relationship with us in Christ.  We who were not a people are now the people of God – specifically chosen by Him so that we would give Him praise & glory.  God KNEW us & God is MINDFUL of us.  We who were so unworthy of that kind of attention have had it lavished upon us by the grace of God.
  • As a result, God blesses.  The same groups are listed in the same order: nation, priesthood, individual.  All those who trust the Lord (no matter how important they may or may not be in the eyes of their culture) are important enough to God to be known by Him.
  • Prayer for continued blessing (vss. 14-18)

14 May the LORD give you increase more and more, You and your children. 15 May you be blessed by the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

  • The God who made all things can give all things.  There’s no limit as to how He can bless.  This is a lesson that only eternity can reveal.  Throughout all of the ages, we’ll continually learn of the limitless riches of the grace of God that are bestowed upon us through Christ Jesus.

16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; But the earth He has given to the children of men.

  • What a wonderful contrast!  All the vast heavens belong to God – yet He has His eye on this tiny speck of a planet called earth.  On this planet is where He chose to place His creation & send His favor.  No wonder we ought to praise the Lord!

17 The dead do not praise the LORD, Nor any who go down into silence. 18 But we will bless the LORD From this time forth and forevermore. Praise the LORD!

  • 2nd contrast – this time, between the dead and the living.  The dead can’t praise (they’re too busy being dead). J  Only the living can open their mouths and declare the praises and wonder of God.  Because we have been blessed by the Lord, we ought to always give Him praise!  Don’t be like the dead in your praise…sing with your living lips to the living God!
  • Hallelujah!

 

Psalm 116 (NKJV) – Saved from the Grave

  • God’s gracious deliverance (vss. 1-7)

1 I love the LORD, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. 2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.

  • The psalmist loves the Lord – and he tells us why.  Very specifically!  “Because..Because…Therefore…”  The psalmist loves the Lord because God heard him in his time of distress.
  • Obviously that’s not the only reason to love God…but it’s a good one!  God hears us!  Again, as in Ps 115, we find that God is mindful of His people – He hears us when we call.  The NT believer has a special confidence that God hears us because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit of God lives within us & intercedes for us in groanings we cannot understand.  In addition, the Lord Jesus Christ continually serves as the one mediator between God and man.  Jesus has given us access unto God, and Jesus is our Advocate before God the Father.  There’s no doubt that God hears the born-again believer in Jesus Christ when we pray!

3 The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. 4 Then I called upon the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!”

  • How did the psalmist know that God heard him?  Because God acted upon his prayer request & delivered him from death.  The proof was in the pudding.  That’s not to say that if God had acted differently then the psalmist would not have been heard by God – but certainly because God DID act, there was no doubt that God heard him.
  • There are times each of us likely experience times like the Psalmist when we are laid bare before God in our distress, and all we can do is cry out: “Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!”  Certainly this is true in our initial salvation – but we still experience this same sort of thing as we endure trials.  Let us emphasize this fact: our God hears.  It may feel as if you’re knocking at death’s door, but those who are in Christ are heard by our Heavenly Father.  No matter what the outcome, you can be assured you are not being ignored by our God.  So cry out to Him – you’ve been given the privilege of having an audience with Almighty God.

5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful. 6 The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. 7 Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

  • God’s salvation demonstrated His mercy, grace, & righteousness.  His faithful promises were kept – His kindness unto His people was demonstrated – His holy justice was made known, all in the salvation He gave.
    • How true this is regarding our salvation in Christ!  There is no better demonstration of the mercy, grace, and righteousness of God than in the cross & resurrection!
  • God’s salvation gives us an opportunity to find rest.  The psalmist was troubled, but he found rest in the deliverance of God.  So too is the invitation of Christ: Matthew 11:28–29, "(28) Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." []
  • Prayer #1 (vss. 8-11)

8 For You have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling. 9 I will walk before the LORD In the land of the living.

  • Turning to the Lord, the psalmist relates how God saved him from death.
  • Jesus could say exactly the same thing regarding His resurrection.  Jesus certainly did die, but God delivered Him out of death when Jesus was raised from the dead.  Today, Jesus is not simply alive figuratively or spiritually…Jesus is alive physically.  Today, Jesus sits at the right hand of God in heaven, but yet He walks in the land of the living!
  • We can say exactly the same thing regarding our salvation.  Our souls truly have been delivered from death.  We were headed for an eternity of death, and Jesus snatched us from the edge.  We have an everlasting inheritance in Christ to live forever in the presence of God, walking before the Lord in the land of the living.

10 I believed, therefore I spoke, “I am greatly afflicted.” 11 I said in my haste, “All men are liars.”

  • Reference to the trials that brought the psalmist to the point of death.  Apparently he was betrayed in some way, and faced great affliction as a result.
  • It’d be easy to write off the psalmist’s praise as “Just pious words – the right ‘Christian’ answer,” but notice where the writer is coming from.  He was at the point of physical death because of his trial…his days were filled with weeping…he had become cynical of all the world & every man.  Whatever it was the writer experienced, it was horrendous!  Yet when he prayed, he knew the Lord acted & thus he knew the Lord heard him.  That changed his entire perspective!
  • Vow to praise #1 (vss. 12-15)

12 What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me? 13 I will take up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the LORD. 14 I will pay my vows to the LORD Now in the presence of all His people.

  • What’s the reasonable response to the deliverance of the Lord?  To give our lives back to Him.  This was Paul’s point to the Romans:  Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."  []  That’s basically the same idea here.  The psalmist:
    •  Receives the things of the Lord.  He “will take up the cup of salvation.”  He acknowledges the gift of grace offered him by God, and he partakes freely of it.  IOW, he appropriated the deliverance that God offered him.
      • Many people hear of the promises of Christ, but never appropriate them by faith.
    • Partakes of relationship with God.  He will “call upon the name of the LORD.”  Implies a continual relationship – something that hasn’t ended simply because the time of initial deliverance has passed.  The psalmist has been identified with the Lord & will continue to be so.
    • Promises to continue to praise God…publicly.  We don’t make or pay vows unto the Lord today, but to a Hebrew this was an important way of demonstrating his/her thankfulness unto the Lord.  It was a vow to offer sacrifices at the temple and worship God among all the people, perhaps even shaving his head to visually proclaim that he was giving thanks unto God.  Again, we don’t make these kinds of vows today (because we never have to wait to go into a temple to praise God), but we certainly can be public with our praise.  Not to be a braggart, but simply to be honest about what the Lord has done in our lives.  Our faith isn’t a shameful secret; it’s something to be proclaimed unto all the world.
    • IOW, the psalmist is going to live like a person who has been redeemed by the Lord.  Everything he has is going to be wrapped up in the things of God.  This is the way it is with us, as well.

15 Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints.

  • What a glorious truth!  Our deaths do not go unnoticed by the Lord – as our Heavenly Father, He intimately knows our trials and struggles & even our eventual death.  The psalmist had been praising God because he know that God was mindful of him & proved it by delivering him from death.  Yet even if that deliverance had not come, the psalmist would not have been loved any less by the Lord.  Every death of a saint of God is precious in His sight – God takes no son or daughter of His for granted.
  • There’s a wonderful demonstration of this at the tomb of Lazarus.  The Bible tells us plainly: “Jesus wept.” (Jn 11:35)  Yet we have to ask ourselves: why?  After all, Jesus went there with the express purpose of raising Lazarus from the dead (Jn 11:11).  It’s not like Jesus forgot His plans, or doubted that Lazarus would really rise.  So why did Jesus weep?  There are several possible reasons:
    • Compassion for Lazarus’ sisters.  The Bible tells us to weep with those who weep, and certainly Jesus modeled this for us with Mary & Martha. There was no reason to moralize to them or give them meaningless pat answers when the sisters were grieving in anguish.  Jesus came alongside them & grieved with them compassionately.
    • Secondly, because Jesus Himself grieves at the thought of death!  God does not take the death of His saints for granted…it is precious to Him.
  • With all of that in mind, consider now the love of God for you.  Before we received Jesus’ forgiveness, we deserved death, eternally so.  Yet now in Christ, our death is precious to God.  What a transformation!  What an expression of His love for us!
  • Prayer #2 (vss. 16-17)

16 O LORD, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have loosed my bonds.

  • With the thought that the death of God’s saints are precious to Him, the psalmist turns to God in prayer, affirming that he is truly one of God’s saints.  He is a servant of God – he’s declaring how he belongs to the Lord.
  • One of the proofs the author belongs to the Lord?  God was the one who intervened on his behalf.  God had “loosed his bonds.”  God freed him, and thus the author served his liberator.  Likewise with us.

17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the LORD.

  • Promise to praise God personally – reiterating the thoughts of vss. 12-14.
  • Vow to praise #2 (vss. 18-19)

18 I will pay my vows to the LORD Now in the presence of all His people, 19 In the courts of the LORD’s house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!

  • Promise to praise God publicly. Among the people – among the temple – among the entire city of Jerusalem.  There’s no limit to where the author will praise God.
  • Hallelujah!

 

Psalm 117 (NKJV) – Worldwide Praise

  • Shortest psalm in the Bible…shortest chapter (quickly followed up by the longest psalm & longest chapter in the Bible, Ps 119!).

1 Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! 2 For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!

  • All peoples everywhere…praise the Lord!  Many psalms have spoken of God’s love & mercy toward Israel (Ps 118 is another); Ps 117 shows that God’s mercy & truth are for all people.  This is a present-day invitation for all the world to come & worship the Lord.  All are invited to come & be saved!
  • There is also a future call for all of the earth in the Millennial Kingdom to come & worship the Lord.  Now is the day when the response is voluntary; in the Kingdom all people will see Jesus for who He is & be compelled to worship Him.
  • Again – hallelujah!

 

Psalm 118 (NKJV) – The Strength of God’s Salvation

  • Again, there is much speculation as to the date & author of the psalm…some people claiming Moses, others claiming David, others believe it was post-exilic – but again, it is all speculation.  What is without doubt is that Ps 118 is one of the most frequently quoted psalms in the NT (specifically vs. 22), and there is much here that speaks of the Messiah.  Parts of it were sung at Jesus’ 1st triumphal entry into Jerusalem…no doubt parts will be sung again when Christ returns at His 2nd coming.
  • Call to worship (vss. 1-4)

1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

  • Starts with the common national refrain of Israel.

2 Let Israel now say, “His mercy endures forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron now say, “His mercy endures forever.” 4 Let those who fear the LORD now say, “His mercy endures forever.”

  • Just as we saw in Ps 115, we see the same progression among the people of Israel here.  This call to worship goes out to every group within the nation.  The nation as a whole (Israel) – the priesthood (Aaron) – the individual (those who fear the Lord).
  • The idea is that all of God’s people ought to agree & rise up with one voice in proclaiming the mercy & lovingkindness of God.
  • God’s mighty deliverance from the enemy (vss. 5-21)
  • Stanza 1: No fear (vss. 5-9)

5 I called on the LORD in distress; The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place.

  • The psalmist had personal experience with the mercy of God.  What did it look like?  It looked like deliverance from distress.  God took him from a place of uncertainty to a place of safety.

6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is for me among those who help me; Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.

  • Amen!  What reason is there to fear? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31)  Man might be able to kill our body, but they cannot destroy our soul.  Yet if we are in Christ, our soul has been redeemed by the Lord Jesus – we belong to God!  Even on a physical level, nothing can happen to us unless the Lord allows it to come to pass.  Obviously that’s not a license to play Russian Roulette; God WILL allow us to face the consequences of our actions.  It’s simply an acknowledgement that God is absolutely sovereign & in control of every situation.

8 It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. 9 It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes.

  • We can have utmost confidence in the Lord!  God can be trusted above all.  There’s no man that can make us a better promise than God – there’s no prince nor king who can bring more complete justice than the Lord God of hosts.  It’s better to trust Him than anyone else.
  • Stanza 2: Surrounded, but victorious (vss. 10-14)

10 All nations surrounded me, But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 11 They surrounded me, Yes, they surrounded me; But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 12 They surrounded me like bees; They were quenched like a fire of thorns; For in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.

  • There’s a past & future tense used here.  The enemy had surrounded the author in the past, but the deliverance of God & destruction of the enemy will come in the future.  It’s as if this was written right in the midst of his trial & he was actively waiting for the Lord to deliver him at any moment.  There’s no doubt that the Lord would give the victory.
  • And what a victory!  Victory over any odds.  No numbers would be so great that the Lord could not overcome them.

13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall, But the LORD helped me. 14 The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.

  • The enemy sought his destruction, but the Lord was his help.  God helps.  God saves.  Our God is active & our God is able – there is nothing from which God cannot deliver us.  If He can create the world by the words of His mouth – if He can raise Jesus from the dead – there’s no trouble that we experience that the Lord cannot offer His help and hand.
  • Stanza 3: God is valiant (vss. 15-18)

15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation Is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. 16 The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

  • God’s works are valiant & exalted.  IOW, they show forth the strength & power of God & thus show forth His high exalted glory.
  • As a result, those who have been declared righteous by God can lift their voices in rejoicing and praise.

17 I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the LORD. 18 The LORD has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death.

  • Interestingly enough, we get a bit of insight to the surrounding attacks of the enemy.  Apparently, they were allowed by God as His discipline toward the author.  At the very least, the author saw the hand of God at work in the midst of his trial.  Yet whatever it was that the Lord allowed, it’s plain that the Lord restrained it.  There was just enough discipline allowed to cause the author to turn to God, but not enough to kill him.
    • This is a demonstration of God’s mercy!
  • What will the author do with his renewed life?  “Declare the works of the LORD.”  His life is given over to declaring the praise of God.  Obviously the author won’t be spending all day every day in the temple doing nothing but giving God praise, but praising God has become an integral part of his life.  Likewise for us, we can pray without ceasing – we can worship God in all of our actions.  All that we do, we can do it unto the praise and glory of God.
  • Stanza 4: Gates of praise (vss. 19-21)

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD, Through which the righteous shall enter. 21 I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation.

  • God made it possible for the author to praise Him (God kept the author alive & delivered him from his enemies).  Since God made it possible, the author was going to do it.  He’d go through the gate of the LORD to give praise unto God.
  • When God makes it possible for you to praise Him, do it!  Go through those gates and give Him praise.  He is the God who answered you in your distress – He is the God who gives you salvation!
  • God’s choice of the chosen one (vss. 22-24)

22 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This was the LORD’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.

  • Apparently, the salvation that God granted was to the amazement of the rest of the world.  God chose the author out of all of the people in order to demonstrate His mercy & grace.
  • More than the author, this speaks directly of Jesus Christ.  Jesus quotes this of Himself, showing how He fulfilled this Scripture. [Parable of the wicked vinedressers – Mt 21]
  • The NT goes on to emphasize the fulfillment of this in Christ.  Acts 4:11–12, "(11) This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ (12) Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." []
  • God CHOSE Jesus.  The people REJECTED Jesus.  God EXALTED Jesus.  This was God’s plan, and it is marvelous!

24 This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

  • We often quote this in regards to every day, but contextually, it specifically speaks of the deliverance of Jesus Christ!  Because God chose Jesus & made Him the chief cornerstone, that is a day in which we can rejoice & be glad.
  • That said, every day is indeed a gift from God.  We can definitely rejoice in every opportunity God gives us to serve Him and worship Him.
  • Prayer for blessing (vss. 25-28)

25 Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.

  • For the author, he prays to God to continue to bless him.  He’s already partaken of the deliverance & salvation of God.  He’s already experienced the loving choice of God.  Now he prays that God would continue in this relationship, and bless all who walk in the ways of the Lord.
  • Just as verse 22 spoke of Christ, so does vss. 25-26.  These were the words that the crowd cried out to Jesus on Palm Sunday. Mark 11:9–10, "(9) Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ (10) Blessed is the kingdom of our father David That comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”" []  “Hosanna” is basically the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew for “Save, now Lord”.  The people of Jerusalem thought they were praising the Messiah sent by God to bring salvation from the Romans.  They got the person right, but the mission wrong.  Jesus is the Messiah to bring salvation from the Lord, but not over merely the Romans – over death & hell itself!
    • Jesus DID come in the name of the Lord!  Jesus DOES bring salvation with Him!  He is truly blessed & worthy of our praise.

27 God is the LORD, And He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You.

  • God had provided for the author; now the author will prepare his worship of God.  The sacrifice was bound & prepared & ready to be offered unto the Lord in sincere worship.
  • Do we prepare ourselves to worship God & to exalt His holy name?
  • Closing refrain (vs. 29)

29 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

  • Concludes the same way it began: the national refrain.

Conclusion:
What reasons to praise God!  Our God is the Living God – the Active God – the God who hears us – the God who invites all the world to be saved – and the God who indeed brings salvation.  He saves us from our distresses – He saves us from death.  This is a God who is worthy of our everlasting praise, to be sung and declared everywhere we go with everyone we meet.

Christian, is this what your life looks like?  No matter what distress & trial you endure, do those around you know of your confidence in the Lord & trust in His deliverance and salvation?  It’s easy to sing of His praise during the times of rest; yet it’s in the times of our testing when our praise becomes more real in the ears of the people around us.  These authors were tested & still sang forth the praises of God…and they only looked forward to the coming Messiah.  We can look back & see what Jesus has actually done & know the full promise of all that He delivers – we have even more reason to give Him praise!

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