Touchy-feely song from 60’s (Joan Baez): “No man is an island, No man stands alone” – or, phrase I used with high school students: things lead to things. We are relational creatures – relationships often define how we interact with other people. Are relational thinkers – reason by connecting one thing to another. Here in our part of world, often too much of the first, not enough of the second. Too much we decide based on emotion, not enough on proper and valid reason. Is true of Christian and unbeliever alike – how many times do you here “I feel” compared with “I believe”?
If Joan Baez was right, then there are some necessary conclusions. She came up with a couple later in the song: “No man is an island, Way out in the blue; We all look to the one above, For our strength to renew.” Regardless of specifics she had in mind, said some good words – highlighting connections and dependence we have on one another and on God. Now let’s change perspective just a little: if principles as well as people are interconnected, then….
Examples: If you believe Bible is word of God, and you believe has God’s weight of authority, why don’t you do what it says? If you believe what Jesus said about hell, then should influence your speech to others. If you believe Bible about heaven, should have consequences for how you live, how you encourage other believers.
Same line of reasoning applies to our text – is conclusion of Hallel, should expect some conclusions. Much has been said/sung in Psalm 113-117, where does that lead us in Psalm 118?
If our God is: Majestic and Merciful (113), with Transforming Power (114), who is sovereign in heaven (115), who is incredibly good (116) and Overwhelmingly Gracious (117), then… should bring us to point of action. Since God is Good…
Because God is who he is both in principle and in relationship, we his people should respond in a particular way. Knowing things just listed about God must not be intellectual exercise only; not talking theory here, not simply straightforward propositions that can be expressed in words but have no meaning in life. God is all he is in his relationship to us – revealed propositionally in his word, revealed experientially and relationally in our daily lives. If God is on one end of line, we on the other, logically follows that when God communicates it will influence change or response in us.
Anonymous psalmist helps us reach right conclusion: Since God is good, we must thank the Lord, trust the Lord, glorify the Lord, and see the Lord.
A. Thank the Lord v.1-4
repeated 2x in this psalm, a dozen times elsewhere: give thanks to the Lord for his goodness, because he is good
doesn’t take a lot of words to praise God: “God is good” suffices; recognizing / thanking God’s good deeds is a start, praising him because he is good takes to next level
can and should praise him for his goodness whether he is presently giving lots of good gifts or not
opportunity every Sunday – praise and prayer request time – publicly praise God for his goodness and mercy
do we believe Ps. 23:6? that God’s goodness and mercy will be integral part of our lives on daily basis? if so, then….take and make opportunities for praise
carry it over out there => thank God for his goodness in front of others, more than just at meal time
added reason for thanking/praising the Lord – “his mercy endures forever” 5x
chêsêd – one of those words that give Google Translate a headache – no single English word that fully conveys range of meaning, obvious by all different ways Bible translators try to express it
“steadfast love” (ESV, RSV); “loyal love” or “covenant faithfulness” (NET); “unfailing love” (NLT); “loving-kindness” (KJV); “love” (NIV)
“is fundamentally the expression of his loyalty and devotion to the solemn promises attached to his covenant” Renn
God has been, is, forever will be unchangingly committed to loving his people and demonstrating that love to them
just as his grace extends to all peoples of the world, so also does his mercy, his covenant love – is bestowed on people of all ranks and stations without regard for country of origin – shouldn’t be surprise
Acts 17:26 “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
matter for praise that because of his everlasting faithful love, all divisions of place and language and culture will ultimately disappear – the nations of men will some day be one again under immediate rule of Christ
B. Trust the Lord v.5-14
another principle repeated 2x in v.8-9 – since God is good, he can be trusted and should be trusted
can be absolutely confident God has child’s best interests in view and has ability to supply everything that is necessary
know that from v.6-7: “covenant Lord is on my side”, “covenant Lord is for me (on my side as my helper”
“big picture” view – so long as we are certain God is on our side, no cause for fear; are absolutely secure in God’s keeping
what’s the worst man can do – take our life? wouldn’t that be a good thing? Paul: “in a straight betwixt two”
what does it mean to live trusting the Lord? what does it look like?
Nik Wallenda: “The 35-year-old daredevil — a 7th generation progeny of the famed Flying Wallendas circus family — first walked uphill on the steel cable over the Chicago River connecting the Windy City’s west Marina City tower to the top of the Leo Burnett building. The walk, which took him up a 19-degree angle, started at 588-feet and culminated at 671 feet….The daredevil then put on a blindfold and walked — at a height of 543 feet — a wire between the two Marina City towers.”
think he’s nuts? maybe…if his ultimate trust was in wire and his ability; not so if trust is in God
since “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7), can and should have same level of confidence in God – walk where he tells us, doing what he tells us even when we can’t see a thing; following sound of his voice, using strength he gives us
truth be told, we’re in worse predicament than psalmist: our primary enemies are unseen, not visible ones like he had
even when surrounded, harassed, afflicted by enemies – can push back, prevail over them in strength God gives
sing with Moses song of triumph which kinda gets us back to the beginning – praise the Lord!
what about people we know – coworkers, family, neighbors – who have seemingly unstoppable enemies? things like substance abuse, sinful behavior patterns and consequences, diseases/illnesses of various sorts?
they need to hear the Good News – since God is good, they should trust him in all things; better to trust in the Lord than in man…. in princes
only God has all necessary resources to defeat all their enemies, something no human agent can even come close to
C. Glorify the Lord v.15-21
there’s celebration in the tent!! returned to camp after day of battle but not in defeat – celebrating victory
sitting around the fire, telling stories – did you see, did you hear, can you top this – and none about what we did, all about what He did
it’s “the right hand of the Lord” that gets attention & praise – God had given magnificent display of power
plain for all to see that psalmist’s deliverance from harm something that could only be done by God
there’s celebration in the church!! at earliest possible time, makes way to temple for purpose of praise
proper attitude of child of God is to give him praise and glory privately and publicly after every victory
must keep Christ front and center – he is one who fights battles, wins victories; we participate in his victory, do not achieve it on our own
is also essential to bring brothers and sisters along to help us praise: an opportunity for them to join in celebration, add their voices in praise to God
additional matter for praise – answered prayer
important to note change in perspective: v.19 – I will praise the Lord; v.21 – I will praise You
still in setting of public worship, expression of close personal relationship – not simply token acknowledgment to remote unknown God, is personal communication to personal God
D. See the Lord v.22-29
the Lord’s doing and the Lord’s day – that which was rejected was installed in place of honor and significance
is not man who decides who/what is significant – is God who does; is God who orchestrates events, places people how and where he chooses to suit his purpose
sometimes what takes place is so obvious, no mistaking hand of God; other times not so much – problem is with our vision
as understanding of God’s goodness grows, our recognition of God’s part in events and circumstances will improve
day of deliverance one that only God could pull off – especially true when considering deliverance from sin and its agents
sure, God deserves praise for his daily deliverances from temptation and harm; but….when he delivers from slavery in sin, when he delivers from spiritual forces who would do harm we really ought to crank up the praise
when we better grasp God’s goodness, we desire to see God receiving what is due him
deserves full-hearted praise from every last person; won’t get it, but he deserves it and should be our desire to do our part
deserves to have highest position of honor in our own estimation and the eyes of others
we can put him in that position for ourselves – give him honor in thoughts and deeds; can also influence how others (saved or unsaved) view God by how we live and speak
our praise encourages others to think of God more properly; our description of his deeds encourages others to look for his fingerprints
“Those who only praise God because he does them good should rise to a higher note and give thanks to him because he is good.” CHS God is so incredibly good in every respect, should not be a chore to bask in his goodness. Praise him for his goodness. Exalt his goodness. Rejoice in his steadfast and eternal love.