Psalm 118

Mark Rhoads   -  

April 2, 2023

Heavenly Father,

Your faithful love endures forever.  We cannot repeat it enough.  And your faithful love is nowhere as evident than in your Son, Jesus, who gave his life that we might live.

Having sung the words of this Psalm, the last of the Hallel Psalms, at every Passover celebration throughout his life, Jesus knew they referred to him.  We almost hear him praying these words to you, Father. He was the rejected stone. He was the chief cornerstone of your great plan of the ages, that all things would be founded and fulfilled in him.

That night as Jesus anticipated the physical pain and suffering leading to death on the cross, and anticipated bearing the terrible burden of our sin, he must have been comforted by these words from this Psalm:

In my distress I prayed to the Lord,
and the Lord answered me and set me free
The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?
Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me.
I will look in triumph at those who hate me.

and later

I will not die; instead, I will live
to tell what the Lord has done.
The Lord has punished me severely,
but he did not let me die.

O yes, Jesus died a physical death like we all will experience, but he would not be destroyed. Instead, he would be raised from the dead to new life to sit at your right hand.  This was your plan, Father, and we rejoice.

In this life we are surrounded by pain and suffering. We cannot escape it. Father, in our distress we pray to you, we take refuge in you, as Jesus did in the garden before his crucifixion. You answer and will set us free from the fear that accompanies the distress. Mere man can do nothing to separate us from your love and care.  The powerful leaders of this world cannot take away our ultimate redemption. Though the enemy of hunger or poverty or persecution or failed marriages or trouble in our families swarm around us like bees, we will not be destroyed.  For “If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)”

We all have an appointment with death. We are prone to fear it with the mystery that surrounds it, for while you have put eternity in our hearts, we cannot fully fathom it. But, Father, deliver us from the fear of death. Help us to live with eternity in mind, remembering that “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”  May we recall that Jesus has made a way for our salvation, for he is The Way, and has prepared a place for us to be with him, an eternal home. May we say along with Jesus during his last Passover celebration on earth,

I will not die; instead, I will live
to tell what the Lord has done.

Surely, we must

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.

Let all Israel repeat:
“His faithful love endures forever.”
Let Aaron’s descendants, the priests, repeat:
“His faithful love endures forever.”
Let all who fear the Lord repeat:
“His faithful love endures forever.”

Let the believers at Centennial Church repeat:
“His faithful love endures forever”

This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And all of God’s people said,