Today is Part 3 in our study of Psalm 118. If you tuned in last week, hopefully you remember the powerful conquering from verses 10-18. Go ahead and read verses 19-24.
Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
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.
Right off the bat in verses 19-21, our Psalmist Author, possibly Moses of the Old Testament, immediately expresses praise with adoration and thanksgiving.
“Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.”
Our Psalmist was experiencing great peril in the previous section of this psalm. He was being pursued by his enemies and the Lord saved him by fighting for him. It is only natural now, on the side of victory, that he wants to extol gratitude for being spared tremendous calamity. It is uncertain if our author is referring to a physical gate of a temple somewhere providing him with a place in which to praise, or a metaphorical gate much like the one referenced in Matthew 7:13-14:
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
A faith relationship with Christ is something many reject. Jesus told His disciples of many who would choose the world and enter through the wide gate and only a small few of would choose the narrow gate because of the sacrifices it requires. I see this to mean the Psalmist wanted to walk through that gate again to praise his Redeemer, reaffirming His choice to follow after Christ. In verse 21 he extols gratitude to God for listening and coming to his aid. God does listen, God does respond. Sometimes it does take us nearly falling on our face to see our need for God’s goodness and His magnificent power in which He can conquer even our darkest enemy.
Verse 22, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”
This verse could be referring to Christ Himself. Acts 4:11 says, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.” We all know Jesus Christ coming to us claiming to be the Messiah was not accepted by everyone. His ultimate plan of His death on the cross was set in motion because of the rejection He faced. If Psalm 118 was written by Moses, then it is possible Verse 22 could also be referring to rejection Moses faced. The Jews rejected him in Exodus 2 and the people of Israel rejected Him as he was attempting to lead them out of the wilderness, which encompasses most of the book of Exodus.
Verses 23, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” Everything God does is perfect. All He does is done to bless and teach us. He desires all honor, glory and praise from us, His children. Psalm 118 uses this reoccurring theme throughout the entire passage.
Verse 24, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” The Author had experienced so much trial and victory, his natural response was a full heart wanting to rejoice in the Lord. A wonderful testimony to those of us who believe. Let us live each day joyfully aware that God Himself designed it. To live in constant worship of our Creator and what great things He has done in our lives and in the world around us.
Stay tuned next week for our final section of Psalms 118!