Making Psalm 118 a New Song for You!

When Mary and I visited Sitka, Alaska in July,
we spent the last five  hours in a park waiting for our flight to Juneau. 
When we reached Juneau, I was shocked to find
that I evidently left my Bible in the Sitka park!

So I have had only a little over one month to mark up my new Bible
with yellow highlighter.

Better to trust in GodThe only part of Psalm 118 I had marked was verse 8:  “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”

This is widely regarded as the center of the KJV Bible that has 31,174 words.  Verse 8 with 14 words appropriately makes words seven and eight “the Lord” the center.

As you can deduce, I wasn’t  getting all that much out of my superficial understanding of Psalm 118.  What a shame when 2 Tim. 3:16 says “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for ever good work.

The Bible says “Sing to the Lord a new song.”  There are no new songs in the Bible but a Psalm becomes new when you find new meaning to it and a greater depth of understanding, and it helps you live a more godly life!

So let’s make Psalm 118

A new song for you!

Psalms 113-118 are called Egyptian Hallel Psalms.  They are used in conjunction with the Feasts of Passover, Pentecost,  and Tabernacles.  Considering how important the Feasts are to God, that makes these Psalms important!

Psalms 113-114 were sung before the Passover Feast.  Psalms 115-118 (the Great Hallel) were sung or recited after the last cup.  So it is thought that Psalm 118 was the hymn sung as Jesus and His disciples ended the Passover (Matthew 26:30).   For several Passovers I have picked out the hymn for our local Passover service, and Churches of God with hymns created from the Psalms may want to consider using a hymn based on Psalm 118 rather than Psalm 51.

Prophetic & Messianic

Jesus said He fulfilled what was written in the Psalms concerning Him (Luke 24:44).

Messianic Psalms are usually about the suffering of  Christ, the coming glory of His Kingdom, or His thoughts and emotions He will experience during His earthly ministry.

chief cornerstoneIn verse 22 the word “cornerstone” is translated “capstone” in the New International  Version.  The literal meaning is “head of the corner.”  The Hebrew word for “corner” is sometimes used as a metaphor for “chief ruler.”  Jesus will be the most important stone in the structure of the new world!

The theme of Psalm 118 is verse 10 about confidence of victory after apparent near loss in battle.  Verse 14 gives thanks and praise for past deliverance and for intervention that will surely come.  “The Lord is my strength and my song” comes from the Song of Moses in Exo. 15:2 and is repeated in Isa. 12:2 so significantly is found in the Law, Prophets and Writings.

Psalm 118 evokes thoughts of the Feast of Tabernacles.   Verse 15 speaks of the tents of the righteous.  “Save  now” in verse 25 comes from the Hebrew “hoshi’anna’—later contracted to Hosanna—and became an appeal for the Messianic Age foreshadowed in Tabernacles.

An alternate translation of verse 27:  “With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar” (NIV) ties in with the Jews in Jesus’ day at Tabernacles would sing Psalm 118, proclaiming Hosanna, while waving palm and other branches during the priestly procession along a path decorated with branches that culminated at the temple altar with the water pouring ceremony.

The people deduced that this applied to Jesus on His entry into Jerusalem at His last Passover (Matt. 8-9).   By the way, Bible chronology shows this glad procession to take place six days before Passover–on a Thursday, not a Sunday, Nisan 8 in 31 A.D..  Palm Thursday!

So Psalm 118 supports a crossover in themes between Passover & Tabernacles

Lion's gateVerses 19-20 apply to the Second Coming!  Jesus and the saints will enter the gates of righteousness.  Salvation is through righteousness and Jesus is the door (John 10:9).  That makes Psalm 118 of urgent importance for me because I aim to pass with Jesus through the Lion’s Gate which is now closed up awaiting Jesus to bust it wide open and enter!

So now  Psalm 118 has a lot more yellow in it!  And there will yet be a lot more to learn about this exciting Psalm.

When you read or sing this song

Oh that it would help you:

  • Trust in the Lord—not any man—for deliverance and salvation! We must center our lives on that.
  • Give meaning for the Feast days, especially Passover, Trumpets and Tabernacles.
  • Become a new song for you and the circumstances you’re in and help you live God’s way more fully!
  • Inspire you to study into the other Psalms rather than just read them superficially for inspiration.

Until next time,
Robert

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