This morning I started my study by reviewing an old devotional I had written in July of last year. The study discussed the steadfast love of God. It began with Psalm 118 and contained text from other books of the Bible. It grabbed ahold of me and this morning was a look back which also led to a look forward deeper into God’s Word.
The first verses of Psalms 118 that grabbed my attention were Psalm 118:1 and 29 because they are the opening and closing of the Psalm.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
As I read the Psalm I was reminded that God’s love is beyond my ability to fully understand, but He shares enough that I am filled with a joy and thanksgiving. As I pondered these two verses I considered the word “steadfast”. You know I had looked at it a lot of times but not considered its significance until this morning, and I kept coming back to it until I looked up the definition in Merriam-Webster.
a: firmly fixed in place: immovable
b: not subject to change
As I read that Psalm over again, keeping in mind the word steadfast, it added so much to the passage. His love is firmly fixed in place: unmovable and not subject to change. And that love endures forever for those who fear him (verse 4)
All who fear the Lord
As I read through the beginning verses I saw something I had not noticed before. In verse 2 the writer calls out Israel, and in 3 he calls out the house of Aaron. But in verse 4 he calls out ALL who fear the Lord, not just Israel or the house of Aaron, but ALL. As I read that I was given great comfort. It was in my mind a foreshadowing of the church age.
When I came to verse 19 thru the end of the Psalm and I was humbled. All I could see was Jesus… and my heart was filled with the joy of God’s steadfast love.
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we pray, O Lord!
O Lord, we pray, give us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God,
and he has made his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
up to the horns of the altar!
28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
29 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
As I read 19-21 I could see nothing but the gate that Jesus spoke of in the Gospels. But not a gate of stone, mortar, and Iron… But Christ Jesus Himself. And verse 22; “The stone the builders rejected”.
The Day the Lord has made
And then verse 23-24 gave me cold chills…
“This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
This passage showed me a foreshadowing of the plan that God has for us through Jesus… and when I tie the two verses together it changes the meaning of verse 24 for me in such a way that I can hardly grasp it.
I have used that verse to describe the beauty of God’s creation a million times, but as I read it in this context I saw God’s Power and Majesty in it… It is not simply speaking of the beauty of His creation but the wonder and glory of His plan for me and for you…
When I look at the remainder of this Psalm I see Jesus, (I know I already said that), but in these final verses it is so clear… “he who comes in the name of the Lord!”… “he has made his light shine upon us”… who but Jesus…
Love Without Fear
I reread the middle of the Psalm. It had not gotten much focus the first time. I read verses 5-18. In these verses, I see the writer defining where his strength, courage, and discipline come from. They come from God. Verse 6 caught my attention first…
6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
As I ponder that verse this morning against the backdrop of God’s Steadfast Love I am reminded of 1 John, specifically 1 John 4:18 (ESV).
18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
What joy there is in God’s Love. This love that God shows to us is a life that defies description as I write this my heart aches with gratitude and love for my Heavenly Father.
Love and Discipline
How wonderful it is to be loved like that… but he also speaks of discipline… In verse 18 he is clear.
18 The Lord has disciplined me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
This discipline is not judgment but correction and it does not lead to death. I am reminded of Proverbs 3:11-12
11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
As I think about the encouragement in Psalm 118 and the steadfast love of God I am so encouraged. God is with me always. His plan is to prosper me. Not as the world defines prosper, but as God does. The Holy Spirit, as he works on my heart, will correct and discipline me as well and strengthen my spirit that I might grow closer to God. For one reason, only…
I am the blood bought child of my Lord, Jesus Christ. What more is there to say but to give thanks to God and be filled with the joy found in God’s Word. What comfort there is in knowing the steadfastness of His love and promise. I am thankful for all He has done in my life. My prayer is that He might fill your heart with joy, peace, and understanding in all you do today.
One last point… Regardless of how many times I find myself in God’s Word, it is never boring and what the Holy Spirit reveals to me builds on the last lesson He taught. I will never tire of God’s Word and Power. All my praise goes to Him. To Him be the Glory!!