The Psalms

Psalm 118 The LORD Is On My Side-His Mercy Endures Forever.

“His mercy endures forever.” This is true of the covenant making and covenant keeping LORD. Therefore we give thanks, “for He is good.” (vv. 1, 29) His mercy is inseparable from His goodness (Cf. I Chr. 16:34; II Chron. 5:13; 7:3; Ezra 3:11; Ps. 136:1; Jer. 33:11). This is all true for “those who fear the LORD.” (v. 4a) We call to Him in our distress and He sets us in a broad place, a place where we have room to breath (v. 5 Cf. Pss. 18:19; 120:1). It is this very fear of the LORD which dispels all fear of man, for no one can oppose the LORD (v. 6 Cf. Heb. 13:6). The LORD is the One behind those who help us-this is His sovereign providence (v. 7 Cf. Ps. 54:4). Our enemies will therefore meet their own bitter hateful end (v. 7 Cf. Ps. 59:10).

“It is better to trust in the LORD.” (vv. 8-9 Cf. Pss. 40:4; 115:9; 146:3; Is. 31:1; 57:13; Jer. 17:5) “The LORD is on my side,” is at the heart of the covenant relationship (v. 6). The psalmist, who was likely the king himself, looked to the LORD, because the surrounding nations were coming at him violently to defeat him and the nation, but his confidence was in the name of the LORD (vv. 10-13 Cf. Ps. 88:17). “The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.” (v. 14 Cf. Ex. 15:2; Is. 12:2) The right hand was a position of power and authority, and “the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.” (vv. 15-16 Cf. Ex. 15:6) Rejoicing and salvation is found among the righteous, but it is a righteousness that the LORD opens up to His own (vv. 19-20 Cf. Is. 26:2; 35:8; Rev. 21:27; 22:14-15).

The king would live to declare the works of the LORD (v. 17 Cf. Ps. 73:28). The LORD may chasten, but He delivers from death (v. 18 Cf. Ps. 73:14; Jer. 31:18; Hab. 1:12; I Cor. 11:32; II Cor. 6:9). The psalmist praises the LORD because He answered his prayer and saved Him (vv. 21, 25 Cf. Ps. 116:1). A much greater king also found solace in the words of this psalm. Jesus was the stone which the builders in Israel rejected, but He has become the chief cornerstone (v. 22 Mt. 21:42; Mk. 12:10; Lk. 20:17; Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20; I Pet. 2:7-8). “This was the LORD’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” (v. 23) It was this day in particular that the psalmist declared that the LORD had made, and we would “rejoice and be glad in it.” (v. 24)

Jesus has become the cornerstone in the house of the LORD, the sacrifice on the altar (vv. 26-27 Cf. Mt. 21:9; 23:39; Mk. 11:9; Lk. 13:35; 19:38). For this reason the psalmist praises the LORD. This is the righteousness and salvation received. The true children of the covenant say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” All of this comes to those who the LORD has given to see the light (v. 27). All humanity sits in darkness, but out of mercy some see the light. “The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor.” (Esther 8:16) However, Jesus became a stumbling block for many, and the message of salvation was taken to those same nations which were once violently opposed to Israel’s king (Cf. I Pet. 2:9-10). Praise and exaltation of God who is the LORD, is the only proper response (v. 28 Cf. Ex. 15:2; Is. 25:1).

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