Give Thanks to the Lord
Psalm 118 (Pastor Brian)
- (Anticimal Psalm? Responsive Psalm – written at the ascension to the throne)
- (Also prophetic – pointing to Christ and HIS ascension to the throne)
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 2 Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.” 4 Let those who fear the LORD say: “His love endures forever.” 5 In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. 6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. 8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. 10 All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 11 They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 12 They swarmed around me like bees, but they died out as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 13 I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me. 14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. 15 Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things! 16 The LORD’s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!” 17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. 18 The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. 19 Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter. 21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. 22 The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; 23 the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. 27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God,and I will exalt you. 29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
The Lord’s name be praised, The Lord’s name be praised,
Praise ye the Lord, Praise ye the Lord.
For his mercy endureth forever, his mercy endureth forever,
Praise ye the Lord, Praise ye the Lord.
Spurgeon: Ezra 3:10-11 “When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their apparel and the trumpets and cymbals took their places to praise the Lord – with praise and thanksgiving they praised the Lord – “The Lord is good, his love endures forever” – and they sang loudly for the foundation of the Lord’s mercy/love had been laid.”
His mercy, love, loving kindness, (haeset = Hebrew) endures forever.
In Ezra, some of the people were given permission/favor by King Cyrus to return to build the temple of the Lord. After some opposition, they were able to lay the foundation – the priests and Levites and people rejoiced (this is the second temple – Solomon’s temple was destroyed (prophesied) and they were restored (prophesied) and they rejoiced that the foundation had been laid).
The older people who had seen the first temple wept (it was less splendid – the original took 7 years to build). But the people rejoiced nevertheless.
Many of these verses are mentioned throughout the New Testament as well – referencing Jesus. Let’s look at some of them.
Matthew 21:42 Jesus quotes the verse to the Pharisees (nearing the end of his earthly ministry) – he was compassionate, not hard and bitter – he even said that the “sinners” were entering into the KOH first. The leaders kept opposing him up to his very death – they even asked for Barabas to be freed (a criminal) instead of Jesus. Here, the leaders are challenging his miracles again and the casting out of the marketplace people inside the temple. Jesus asked, “John’s baptism, from God or man?” They thought he would trap them, so they refused to answer, and so did he.
Here, in Matthew, he gives a parable about a landowner – he built a watchtower over his land and lent it out to farmers, then he sent his servants to collect the fruit that was owed to him – but the tenants killed them and didn’t give up their dues. He sent his servants a second time and they killed them. Then, he sent the son and they killed him. “So, what will the owner do?” “He’ll kill them and take his land back.” “Yes, the KOH is with you now, but it will be taken from you and given to others.” – This is what happened, the Gentiles brought forth and are bringing forth the fruit God wanted.
Fortunately, these days, in the latter days of the Last Days, many more Jews are coming to Jesus – they recognize Jesus as their Savior and Messiah.
But Jesus, when he spoke this parable, at the conclusion of it, “Have you never read, ‘the stone the builders rejected became the capstone – the Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes’ – therefore, I tell you, the KOH will be taken from you and given to others. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken, anyone on whom this stone falls will be crushed.” What?
- The one who falls on the stone in this life will be broken – hear the gospel and accept it, or reject it? (if they reject the good news they’ve heard, they will be broken in some way throughout their lives – they stumble over the stone and are broken).
- Anyone on whom the stone falls will be crushed – ground to powder (crops are ground to dust and the wind blows them away).
Jesus is ultimate in tenderness and compassion, but he IS still God and you don’t just reject him – we have to take heed to what he says.
Esp as Jesus and his ministry have performed many miracles and yet the hardness of the hearts of the leaders were such that he still rejected him – and he became the stone they rejected.
The legend of the rejected stone:
The temple in Jerusalem was the center/focus for worship for the ancient Jews – originally built under the guidance of Solomon.
One rule = “no sound of workmanship, no hammer, no chisel on the site” – therefore, the workmen had to measure things precisely and send the instructions to get the stones cut. The stones would be sent back and laid in pre-determined locations.
One time, the workmen sent an odd shaped piece of marble and the workmen on the site couldn’t see where it went. They set it aside (possibly down a hill into a valley). The temple was ALMOST done, but they needed the keystone/capstone that would be placed into the arch to hold it all up. They sent off to the quarry and said, “Where is it?” “We already sent you it” “Uh? Where?” “Ah, that crazy looking one” “Ah ha! That one!”
What at first seemed to be odd, not compliant, not fitting, was the ESSENTIAL part of the temple.
Jesus and all the people there knew this legend – Isaiah also spoke of it – and here he spoke of it again (Matthew). He’s obviously referring to himself. He’s the one upon whom everything else depends. He is the cornerstone.
- Acts 4:2? “Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
- Acts 4:11 “Jesus IS the stone you builders rejected which has become the cornerstone.”
The events leading up to this time (Acts) begin in chp 3 – Jesus has risen to heaven, he’s poured out the HS on the believers, and much of the worship still takes place in the temple.
As they pass through the gate, there’s a lame man at the gate – he’d never walked from birth – he used to beg alms from the passersby. “Can you give me something” to Peter “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have, I give you. Get up and walk.” He raised him up and he walked, lept, etc – he’d never done it in his whole life. All the people were amazed by it. Now here he is, leaping and praising and in the company of Peter and John.
As they went into Solomon’s Colonnade – it was an ideal time for Peter to preach of Christ – “it is by HIS name that this man now stands whole in your site” – it was by Jesus that this had taken place.
The temple guard came by with “Sad, you sees” (didn’t believe in the resurrection) – they were offended and put in prison for the night. Then, they were brought before the High Priests the next morning to be questioned. This is where Peter says, “Look, you guys killed this other guy who helped this one guy walk.”
They take Peter and John out of the way and said, “Wow, big miracle – let’s not let this get out of hand… Let’s just forbid this action in the future.” The only reason they let them go was because the people favored them.
- “Don’t preach Jesus”
- “Hmm, obey you guys, or THAT guy?”
They went back and continued to preach the gospel.
Here’s the “cornerstone” Scripture used again.
- 1 Peter again references Jesus as the “cornerstone” (2:4) “As you come to him, the living stone, rejected by humans, but chosen by God and precious to him, you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house – to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices, pleasing to God.”
We also are blocks – being built into a holy temple – and Jesus is the cornerstone.
Remember in the Old Testament, the sacrifices of animals was permitted to cover sins – on the Day of Atonement the priest offered sacrifices for the people and himself and God accepted those sacrifices for another year – until the next “Yom Kippur.” But when JB came, he introduced Christ as the Lamb of God who not only “covers” the sins of the people, but “takes AWAY the sins of the world.”
He became sin, who knew no sin, that we might become his righteousness.
For Christians, we understand this and must apply it. We are all sinners saved by grace – saints – even though we still fail. Even in 1 Peter, he writes, “see, I lay a stone in Zion, a precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will NEVER be put to shame” – because Jesus has taken our shame – exchanged our sin/shame for his righteousness – his Justification.
Jesus gives us that which was his and takes that which was ours and it was put to death with him on the cross, therefore we will never be put to shame.
- “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and a stumbling stone, and that causes people to fall.” – because they didn’t believe the message – but Spurgeon says, “If you believe in Jesus, and you accept his salvation, you are part of the elect (pre-destined), if you reject him, you are not elect (pre-destined).”
- Joshua “Choose for yourself… who you will serve.”
- We are responsible for the decisions we make.
- Peter “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
- “Therefore, because you’ve been born again, rid yourselves of all malice (evil thinking/attitudes), and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander (evil speaking – this word connotes “washing” or “removing”), defilement.”
- Repentance (life-long process) – is necessary to mature as a Christian.
- “Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
- With the Psalmist,
- “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love, everlasting kindness, endures forever.”
- David knew this wonderful mercy as well. He exhorts us to join him – “for his loving kindness endures forever.”
- “Let the house of Israel give thanks, his love endures forever.” Even though they sinned much and rejected God’s prophets, and had to be exiled into slavery, when they repented, God brought them back. They knew well the chastening hand of the Lord until they repented and he restored them.
- “Let the house of Aaron say ‘the Lord is good, his (haeset) love endures forever.’”
- This was the priestly line of Israel – they knew that God was accepting their sacrifice and they could go on in intimate union/communion with the Lord.
- “Let those who fear the Lord say, ‘His love endures forever.’” – this indicates non-Israel, non-Aaron clan people (Gentiles) who seek the Lord. There were people in the temple at the time of Jesus who were not Jews who feared/loved the Lord.
Matthew 21:9, 23:39
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (first = Palm Sunday) “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” – they recognized Jesus as the one sent from the Father. The leaders said, “Stop it!” Jesus said, “Yo, then your stones will say it.”
Second, “You’ll not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Are you blessed? Are you a dead stone? Are you a living stone? Do you believe in the cornerstone?