Give Thanks for God’s Deliverance
Matthew 21:1–10; Psalm 118
Matthew Lesson #119
May 15, 2016
“Father, we’re thankful that we have Your Word that You’ve preserved down through the centuries and that we have confidence that though we are using a translation, this translation reflects the eternal truth of Your Word, and that as we come to understand it more fully through a study through the original languages, we come to a precise realization that You have spoken and that this resonates throughout all eternity.
Father, we pray now that as we study and continue in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, especially during the last week [of His life on earth], that we may come to more fully understand how Your Word fits together, and how the old sets the stage for the new, and how the new fulfills the old, that we may see that the Bible is not a collection of individual parts, but that it is all very neatly fitted together in a whole that unifies all the parts, and that we can therefore have great confidence in the truth of Your Word.
We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
We’ll begin this morning in Matthew 21, but we won’t stay there. So open your Bibles with me to Matthew 21. What I want to do initially is give us a little bit of a fly-over of the next five or six chapters.
The next five chapters cover what is going on during the time of Christ’s last week in Jerusalem. Then starting in Matthew 26, we see the events leading up to the crucifixion, and then the resurrection in Matthew 27. And then Matthew 28 covers the last period of time with His disciples.
In order to understand this a little bit, what I want to do is just give us a little bit of a fly-over, and then we’re going to go into an Old Testament passage; we’re going to go to Psalm 118 because that psalm sets the backdrop for what happens in the first chapter here in Matthew 21.
I had hoped that I would cover this in one message, but the more I dug into the psalm, the more I discovered we need to take at least two weeks just going through that psalm, but that sets up the backdrop and the foundation for what happens in Matthew 21.
What we have to understand is that the Old Testament prophesized, predicted, and also displayed various patterns of things that are related to the coming of the Messiah, His person, and His work. In the New Testament we’ve seen the writers of the Gospels, as they develop their arguments for who Jesus is and what He did, quote from the Old Testament, especially Matthew.
Matthew quotes from the Old Testament more than the other three Gospel writers do. But it shows us that what Christ did is grounded in what is predicted and prophesized in the Old Testament.
In order to fully appreciate what Matthew is telling us, we need to go back and look at these Old Testament passages so that we can see how the Bible fits together, that the Old Testament compliments the New, the New Testament fulfills the Old.
And that you don’t just go in, which is the manner of too many pastors and too many preachers, and just teach these little topics. They go here and go there, but nobody sees how the text is interdependent and interrelated—that you have to trust it all or you can’t trust any of it.
And that we can trust all of it. We’ll see a little bit more about the importance and evidence for why we believe the text when I look at some things out of order in 1 Samuel on Tuesday night.
But let’s just do a quick overview of what’s coming:
We see in Matthew 21 the beginning of this last week of Christ’s life on earth, leading up to the crucifixion.
In Matthew 21:1 down through verse 17, we see Jesus presenting Himself to Israel as the King, as the Messiah, as the Son of David, a title that is definitely going to be used in the first ten verses of this chapter.
In the first seven verses we see that our Lord prepares the circumstances for His presentation. I think I have this on the slide here.
So we’re going to see how the Lord presents Himself and how He prepares the circumstances for His presentation in these first seven verses.
That’s going to be just the details of sending the disciples ahead to Jerusalem for the Mount of Olives to find the colt of the donkey on which He would ride into the city in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy from Zechariah.
The disciples do this, fulfill the command to do that, and they will prepare the donkey on which Jesus will ride as He enters into the city. That’s the first seven verses.
The next four verses He is entering into the city. He enters into Jerusalem on the donkey in fulfillment of the prophecy. As He approaches the city, there will be a multitude of His followers who will speak out, who will praise Him.
They will sing from Psalm 118, and they will throw their clothes upon the road, they will cut down branches from the trees and spread them out on the road in front of Him, and all throughout this, they are singing from Psalm 118:24–26, “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Now we need to ask this question: What is significant about that? What are they saying? What does Hosanna mean?
We will take a look at that. We have to understand Psalm 118 in order to answer those with some other questions.
This celebration, as they are rejoicing that He is entering in, causes other people to ask the question, “Well, who is this that’s coming into the city?” “Who is Jesus?” “Why is he important?” And they will be forced to explain that.
Then our Lord begins to demonstrate His Messianic credentials. He cleanses the temple, He will heal the blind and the lame in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. This in turn sets off a hostile reaction among the chief priests and the scribes. That’s the focus of Matthew 21:11–16.
Another thing that’s going there, as a lead-up to Pesach, to Passover—Pesach is the Hebrew word—and this is at the beginning. In fact, the same time that Jesus comes into the city is the day that they would be selecting the lamb that would be the offering for Pesach—the lamb that was to be without spot or blemish.
This period of time from the 10th of the month of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar to the 14th was a time when the lamb would be evaluated to make sure it was indeed without spot or blemish.
So what’s going to happen as Jesus comes into the city. He is going to be tested, examined, evaluated, and criticized by all of the religious leaders: The Scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians, the chief priests. All of them are going to challenge Him, and evaluate Him, and question Him, and He is going to come out of that demonstrating that He has a firm understanding of the Scripture, that He is who He claims to be, and that He is there to bring things to a conclusion in terms of God’s plan of paying for the penalty of our sins.
So He’s demonstrating who He is by what He is doing in terms of cleansing the temple, healing the lame, and that causes this reaction from the chief priests and the Scribes.
This confrontation between the Messiah and the religious leaders goes on through the end of Matthew 22. It includes the judgment of the fig tree. When He sees this beautiful, full fig tree, remember it’s Spring … I went to Israel just now. We arrived there just at the end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
During that period of time, the first day is the first day of Passover, they remove all the leaven in the house. All the bread, all the chametz is taken out of the house, and the house is cleansed. For a week, if you’re a Jewish family, you don’t eat anything but matzah: Peanut butter and matzah, butter and matzah, matzah in your soup; it’s just nothing but matzah.
When we left to go over there, I didn’t put it together because I was too busy thinking about packing and everything, but I got an e-mail from our travel agent, and she said, “If you want bread, we have to go to an Arab restaurant for lunch.”
It didn’t click with me. I said, “Well, you know, I really don’t eat that much bread. I didn’t say anything about bread. What’s that all about?”
She said, “If you want bread other than matzah, you have to go to an Arab restaurant.” So that became clear when we got there.
We arrived at that time. This is the Spring of the year. In the Spring of the year, a fig tree is full and green, and it’s putting out, already putting out little figs that are about the size of the end of your little finger. I saw several fig trees like that.
Jesus curses this fig tree. So what is that all about? He’s going to have confrontations with the chief priests, the Pharisees, the elders. In this He has three parables that are significant for understanding God’s plan and purposes for the Jewish people. There’s a lot of confusion over the meaning of these parables.
This is followed by another confrontation with the disciples, the Pharisees and the Herodians in Matthew 22:16–22—then a confrontation with the Sadducees in verses 23–33—and a conversation with a lawyer—this would have been a Torah expert from the Pharisees trying to trip Jesus up—in verses 34–46.
All of that basically shows that Jesus is being rejected by the religious leaders of Israel. The Lamb of God, the Savior that God has prepared for the last 4,500 years or so of human history is rejected by the religious leaders of Israel.
Then in Matthew 23, after Jesus condemned the religious leaders, He shows why, in this discourse against specifically the religious teaching of the Pharisees, they have rejected Him, and He rejects their religiosity. This is a blanket indictment and condemnation that the leaders of Israel have rejected the Messiah. For this reason they will come under divine discipline.
Then in Matthew 24–25 there’s the discourse called The Olivet Discourse, where Jesus is answering the question from His disciples, “What will be the signs of Your coming?”
So we get into prophecy, and we get into some significant parables as well in that section that we have to understand. But remember, it’s all related to Israel, it’s not related to the church yet, so we have to understand these parables.
In Matthew 26–27 we have the crucifixion and the resurrection of the Messiah. Then in Matthew 28 we’ll have the closing comments, the challenge to His disciples.
As we look at the chapter before us in Matthew 21, we have to understand that the backdrop for this is Psalm 118. It’s the last psalm in a set of psalms that’s referred to as the Hallel Psalms.
The Hebrew word hallel means praise. If you take that verb “to praise” and you make it a command and you’re commanding a group of people, rather than saying, “Y’all praise,” they would say, “hallel.” Y’all have heard that somewhere before, I think. They would say, “hallelu,” and it’s that “u” at the end that is a second person plural imperative. It’s a command to praise.
Then if there’s an object to the praise, then that’s added. If you’re praising God, it’s “hallelujah.” So hallelujah isn’t praising God, hallelujah is a command to praise God.
Sadly, we live in a world where so many Christians are shallow, superficial, and untaught, and they think by simply saying, “Praise God” or “hallelujah” that they are praising God. But those terms are a command to praise God.
What should follow is a description of what God has done in your life, how God has done it in your life, how He’s answered prayer, how He’s delivered you, how He’s provided for you, how He’s given salvation; but there’s content that should fill out the content, the meaning, and the whys and the wherefores of praising God.
So these particular psalms, Psalms 113–118 are psalms that are specifically focused on calling the people of Israel as a community of believers to praise God. These were psalms that were sung at the various feasts days.
There were three feasts days where all of the males in Israel were commanded to come to Jerusalem to worship God there.
- The first of those was at Pesach, at Passover.
- The second was at Pentecost, fifty days after the first Sunday after Passover.
- And then the Feast of Tabernacles.
Those three times every year every adult male, not only those who lived in Israel, but those who lived in the diaspora, were required to come back to Israel and to worship at the temple.
It was from those psalms, Psalms 113–118 specifically, that would be sung at the end of the Passover meal, at the end of a Seder. We’re told in the Gospels that when the disciples finished eating the Seder meal with our Lord, that they sang, and then they went out. And this is that from which they sang.
I want you to notice, if we turn down to the end of Psalm 118, there’s a reference in verse 27 that Jesus would have sung this. I want you to think about this. They celebrate the Lord’s Table, He invests the Seder with new meaning—just as we talked about in the Lord’s Table which we just celebrated—and then they sing from these hymns.
Listen to what He sings as He’s going out. He’s going to go to the Garden of Gethsemane, He’s going to get arrested, He’s going to go through the trials, and He’s going to be crucified, and this is what He is singing. Look at verse 27:
“God is the Lord, and He has given us light”—remember Jesus is the Light of the World—“He has given us light; bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.”
He’s singing this, and He’s the sacrifice that’s going to be bound to the altar the next day. So this all shows how everything here ties together and fits together.
These Hallel Psalms were sung at these special festivals, especially at Pesach, Passover. In the original context of these psalms, they were sung in the Old Testament as a large group of believers would be in a procession going up to the Temple Mount to enter the temple and to praise God, offer sacrifices at one of these particular feasts.
In the period before the Babylonian captivity, that procession of people would have been led by the king. After the Babylonian captivity, there was no king, so they would be led by a political leader, the governor, or they might be led by the high priest. We don’t know what the specifics would have been at this particular time, but they would have been led up to the Temple Mount in order to worship God.
This psalm was written to celebrate God’s deliverance of the nation from a time of intense discipline. You may not catch that if you read it through in the English; and there’s a lot of debate among scholars as to who wrote this, when it was written, what the occasions were. But most scholars believe it was a post-exilic psalm, and I think that’s right.
Others think that it’s just kind of a generic psalm to celebrate God’s deliverance over military victory or something like that. I think that those who take it that way and who may put it before the exilic aren’t really paying attention to the specifics of a lot of the language that we will see in this particular psalm.
This psalm is sung. Now let’s look at a key verse in this first of 10 verses that we’re going to look at.
When Jesus is entering into Jerusalem, we’re told that the multitudes who went before and those who followed—in other words all around Him—are singing:
“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
This is not just something they decided was a good thing to say. It comes out of a particular psalm, Psalm 118:26, and they understand what it is that they are singing. They understand its significance to some degree as they are welcoming the Messianic King into Jerusalem.
Remember Matthew presents Him as the Messianic King. He offered the Kingdom. The Kingdom was rejected by Matthew 12, and He announced the judgment on the people. But He is still training His disciples after that, focusing them that there’s still a future for Israel, even though that generation has rejected Him.
Now this is in Matthew 21:9, and there the psalm says, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
We have to understand, what does that mean? This phrase brackets a lot of these events in this last week of Jesus’ life on earth. It’s stated here as He enters the city, and then at the end of Matthew 23:39. When Jesus is condemned in Matthew 23, He is rejected by the religious leaders of Israel. What does He say at the conclusion of that rejection?
He says, “I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
See how that statement brackets everything that’s in between? It’s all going to be ultimately related to He is, the One who comes in the name of the Lord. This phrase “the one who comes in the name of the Lord” by the first century had become an accepted title for the Messiah, that’s He’s the One who will come.
He is the coming one. The woman at the well refers to Him this way, “Are you the coming one?” That comes out of this passage in Psalm 118:26.
Let’s take a look at the opening part of Psalm 118. This is a great praise psalm, and it’s a communal thanksgiving psalm, which means it is to be used by the community of believers as a whole as they come together, giving thanks to God and worshipping Him.
In the commentary on the psalms by Keil and Delitzsch—Franz Delitzsch was a German Jew who became a believer in Jesus Christ, and this is a classic commentary written in the 19th century—they commented that:
“… this was Luther’s favorite psalm: his beauteous Confitemini—which is a Latin term for a particular type of praise or thanksgiving psalm. Luther said—this had helped him out of troubles out of which neither emperor nor king, nor any other man on earth, could have helped him. With the exposition of this his noblest jewel, his defense and his treasure, he occupied himself in the solitude of his Patmos.”
Now if you missed the metaphor there, the Island of Patmos was an island off the coast of Turkey, off of where Ephesus is located, and it was where the Apostle John was exiled. So he’s living there by himself in exile and isolation. Luther had a similar experience in that he was imprisoned in the castle of Marburg as he was going to be tried by the Holy Roman Emperor for heresy. So this is one of his favorite, favorite psalms.
As we look at it we need to understand a few things about it. First of all, as I’ve stated already, it’s a communal Thanksgiving psalm, and it begins in verse 1 with this call to give thanks to the Lord. In the Hebrew it’s yadah, and it’s just the form of the word meaning to give thanks, and it calls to the people to give public thanks. This is used in several different psalms—we’ll see some of these references a little later on.
In Psalms 33:2, the psalmist calls upon the people to praise the Lord with harp. “Giving praise” is actually yadah in the Hebrew, and it should be translated “give thanks to the Lord.” But often these ideas get shifted some in translation because the way you’re praising God is to do what? Is to give thanks, and to give thanks to the Lord is to praise Him. So Psalm 33:2 actually translates yadah as praise, but it’s the same phrase, “to give thanks to the Lord.”
Other verses such as Psalm 105:1, 106:1, 118 is bracketed by this statement. If you look at the first verse, we read, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
The last verse at the end of Psalm 118, verse 29 says, “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever.”
What do you think this psalm is going to be about? Giving thanks to the Lord and describing how God has been merciful to Israel, and how that will endure forever.
In seven of these verses where this is found, we have this same phrase, “Give thanks to the Lord for His mercy endures forever.” You can take that by way of application as something you could include in your prayers is giving thanks to the Lord because His mercy endures forever.
We don’t know who wrote this psalm. There’s not an inscription to identify either the author or the specific occasion for the psalm. And this has led to a lot of debate among scholars, as I indicated earlier.
It appears to have been sung by a Davidic leader, a political leader over Israel who represents them, and then leads them into the temple to praise God for His act of mercy in delivering them from some extreme, dire circumstance.
This isn’t just a standard deliverance from a battle, but something that threatened the very existence of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. And that language that we’ll run into in the psalm indicates that this was an extreme and distinct kind of situation. In fact, it was a disciplinary action upon Israel by the Lord—one of the most extreme.
That’s going to help us because we need to understand some things about why this psalm is written and those historical circumstances so that we can properly understand what’s going on when we get into Matthew 21.
As we look at this psalm, as I said, it appears to be written by a political leader of the Israelites. It might be Zerubbabel who was a Davidic descendant. He was not a king, but he was governor of Israel after they returned from the exile.
Remember, in 586 BC the Southern Kingdom of Israel was defeated; the city of Jerusalem was sacked; the temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar; and the people were taken off into exile.
Some that were not taken off by the Babylonians left, and they went down to Egypt. Jeremiah was taken by that group, but the majority went to Babylon.
There they were in captivity for 70 years, until God restored them to the land under the leadership of Cyrus, who was the king of the Persians.
When they came back, they were just a small group. The initial group was somewhere around 45,000, and they had to rebuild the city, rebuild the walls, and they’re living in temporary dwellings.
There’s a reference later on in the psalms to their tents. And that should be taken a little more literally. It’s not a reference to the Feast of Tabernacles, when they would create temporary booths and live in them, but that they were still at this period of time, this early period of the return where they’re living in temporary dwellings.
The writer is speaking as the representative of the people. He refers to himself in the first person. But what gives this away is many times in the Hebrew he shifts inadvertently to plural verbs because he is viewing himself as the representative of the community, the representative of the nation.
So we know that it’s not talking about him because in some passages it says “the nations surrounded me.” Well, the nations don’t surround an individual. They’re surrounding Israel and the nation and Judah with the intent to destroy them.
So this is the situation. We see that David too would refer to himself in some psalms as the first person, but he is representing the nation.
What this leads us to conclude is that there’s an extreme set of circumstances that is a result of God bringing a severe disciplinary action against the nation, which would threaten their very existence, and God has restored them.
There are only a few times in Scripture when this could possibly have taken place. One would be God’s deliverance of the nation from slavery in Egypt. Another might be the deliverance from some severe battles that took place in almost their conquest during the period of the judges.
But the scenario that fits it best is the return from the exile. God brought discipline on the nation, took them out of the land. And it looked as if the nations had won, that the Gentiles had destroyed them, and there would be no return or resurrection of the nation.
Yet God is faithful to His covenant, and He has brought them back. That which was insignificant, the stone the builders rejected, has been brought back and has been made the chief cornerstone again of God’s plan and purpose for Israel. And so it fits a post-exilic declaration of God’s grace.
Also the fact that there’s the mention of the chief cornerstone. One of the first and most important projects after their return was to rebuild the temple—laying the cornerstone. And this would be an illusion that would bring this idea to mind for the psalms.
That brings us to the occasion for the psalm, which I stated is God’s deliverance of the people from a time of severe divine discipline.
Now almost all scholars agree that this is a psalm written to celebrate the victory that God has given His people in battle, and that the psalm itself calls for a national procession up on the Temple Mount to praise God.
Something along these lines, this is an earlier victory at the time of King Jehoshaphat of Judah, when the Israelites had victory over the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Edomites.
We’re told that “on the fourth day”—after this victory, the people—“assembled in the Valley of Berachah”—that’s the Valley of Blessing. Berachah is the Hebrew word for blessing—“for there they blessed the Lord; therefore the name of that place was called The Valley of Berachah until this day.”
“Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them”—so this is the processional. The king is leading—“to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies.” This is the same kind of situation.
“So they came to Jerusalem with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets, to the house of the Lord.” It’s this kind of scenario that is being reached.
Now as I said earlier, some think that this could be various situations in Israel’s history, the Exodus, something going on during the period of the judges, but it’s most likely that this is the return after the exile, and it’s the rebuilding of the temple.
There are four different times that this is often suggested and summarized:
- The first is that this took place with the first celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in the seventh month of the first year of their return.
They came back in 538 BC when Cyrus issues his decree for them to return. And when they return in 537–536 BC, then in the seventh month of that first year of their return, there was only a plain, simple altar erected on Mount Moriah where the temple was located. This is described in Ezra 3:1–4.
But not more is done, and what we see in this text is the use of the grammar indicating that the temple has been completed, it’s been built, and they’re celebrating this. So that’s probably not the time.
- Second option would be when the foundation stone for the Second Temple was laid. This is described in Ezra 3:8–13.
- Third option would be the dedication of the completed Temple in the 12th month of the sixth year of Darius. This is described in Ezra 6:15 and following.
- These references don’t quite fit all the facts. I think the great Feast of Tabernacles described in Nehemiah 8:13–18 is the one that’s observed and the Temple has been completed at that particular time.
From all of this we conclude a couple of important points:
First of all, that this psalm refers to a historical event, and it must be interpreted first and foremost in terms of that historical event. Now that’s going to be critical, as we’ll see. Remember—those of you who’ve gone through these studies with me in the past—when we’ve talked about how the Old Testament is used in the New Testament, that there are four basic ways the Old Testament is used in the New Testament—I covered this in Acts if you want to go back and look at those—but briefly:
You have a prophecy in the Old Testament that speaks about the future and is fulfilled as a future prophecy. That would be a passage like Micah 5, “The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem,” and it’s fulfilled when Jesus is born in Bethlehem.
Then you have another example where a historical event, such as the Israelites coming out of Egypt, is used typologically to foreshadow a future event, and it’s applied to a future event, such as in Hosea 11:1 that talks about “out of Egypt I call my son,” and we’ve covered that in detail where that’s referring to a historical event, but is applied typologically to Jesus and His family coming out of Egypt after the death of Herod the Great.
Then you have an application type of situation where Matthew quotes from Jeremiah when Jeremiah speaks of Rachel weeping. The historical situation, it’s not a prophecy, is the exiles were being taken off to Babylon, and the mothers are on the road, and they’re weeping because their sons and daughters are being taken off to Babylon, and they won’t ever see them again. It is as if they were dead. So their mothers are weeping. In Matthew 2 there are significant differences, but the mothers are weeping because their infants have been killed by Herod. So it is like that scenario.
Then the fourth was you don’t really have a specific event in the Old Testament, but you have a summary of things that are said about the Messiah that He would be rejected by the people, and so when you get into the New Testament He’s called a Nazarene to fulfill prophecy.
Well nowhere in the Old Testament does it say that, but the idea was that someone who is from Nazareth was sort of like, you might say, some folks in Texas may think of people in Arkansas as not really quite having a high IQ.
When I was up in Connecticut, they used to be a little saying that if you cross the border into Maine, your IQ dropped 50 points. Sometimes in Houston we say things like that about folks who live in Pasadena, that may be their family tree doesn’t fork.
Every geographical location around the world in different countries in different cultures all have some area that they think, well, those people just quite aren’t as bright and as cultured as everybody else. I don’t want to offend anybody from Maine or Arkansas or Pasadena.
But Nazareth was like that. Nazareth, nothing good can come out of Nazareth. Those folks aren’t real bright; there are only a few of them; they’re just in the back waters of Nazareth. So the summary of Old Testament teaching was a Messiah was going to be looked down upon. That’s why He would be called a Nazarene.
So those are the four different ways the Old Testament is used in the New Testament, and you can go back and listen to earlier lessons in Acts where I go through those in detail. But it’s important to understand that this probably fits either Category 2 or Category 3, which are talking about historical events.
Now the reason that’s going to come up is that when you look at this particular psalm, we’re going to see a number of things that are referenced in the psalm, but one of the things that you’re going to see is in verse 24; it says, “This is the day that the Lord has made.”
I’m not going to ask anybody to raise your hands if you’ve sung the little chorus that is very popular among churches. We had somebody lead us in it on the bus one day when we were in Israel. That was my first clue that I needed to go back to walking to Yad Vashem every morning.
It trivializes the text. “This is the day the Lord has made.” This is an historical psalm. It’s referring to when God restored the nation and they completed the building of the Temple. It’s not referring to just any ole’ day. You wake up in the morning, and you feel good, and the sun’s out, and it’s a great day, you say, “Ah, this is the day the Lord has made!” No!
The day the Lord made was the day that He brought Israel back into the land and restored them and restored the Temple. This has a future application and significance.
It is applied to what Christ does on the Cross, and it is the fulfillment of this, you might say, typologically, it is when Jesus does come in when they say, “Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord,” or “Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord when He establishes His kingdom.” It’s not just any ole’ day. It is the day that God’s redemptive work is fully developed.
So this is the background. The New Testament applies this as a type of future events related to God’s Messianic plan of redemption to Israel and the world.
As we get into the text, it begins, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
Here I have a picture of Solomon’s temple because they were to sing this as they walked up Mount Moriah. If you don’t know that the Temple Mount, which was the threshing floor of Araunah the Hittite, that this was Mount Moriah, the same location where Abraham brought Isaac to sacrifice him, Mount Moriah. This is where the temple is located, that when you talk about that Moslem monstrosity that’s up there, the Dome of the Rock—see I’m not politically correct—the rock is the rock that in Jewish legend that’s the creation rock where it all began.
That would go back to Eden, but this is the rock on which Abraham would sacrifice Isaac. The Moslem distortion of that is they think it was Ishmael. That’s the rock that’s there. It’s the rock on which Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac.
They will make this procession up on Mount Moriah, and there they would turn to worship the Lord.
Our time is running short, so I’m going to stop here. We’ve gotten our introduction. We understand that this psalm is about something God did in the past that is going to be used in the New Testament to talk about what we have in Jesus Christ and who He is as the Messianic King, and this is why this psalm is quoted in Matthew 21.
“Father, we thank You for this opportunity to reflect upon Your Word, to see how the Old and New Testaments fit together, but ultimately to learn that the work of Christ on the Cross, the death that He died on the Cross wasn’t an accident of history, but was the focal point of Your plan. It was planned from before the foundation of the earth, that He would come and He would go to the Cross, and there He would die on the Cross for our sins and pay the penalty for our sins so that we could have eternal life, not on the basis of who we are or what we do, but on the basis of who He is and what He did on the Cross, that salvation is a free gift. It is by faith alone in Christ alone. It is not to be earned or to be deserved, but it’s to simply be accepted, to be received as a free gift by simply believing. As John says over 85 times, believing that Jesus died on the Cross for us.
Father, we pray that if there’s anyone here, anyone listening that has never trusted Christ as Savior, that they would take this opportunity to do so. At the instant that you believe Jesus died on the Cross for your sins, you receive eternal life, which can never be taken from you. You are made a new creature in Christ, and you are identified with Him and His work on the Cross, that forever transforms you into a child of God.
Father, we pray that as we respond to what we are studying that we might recognize that it is incumbent upon us as the Old Testament events of Psalm 118 unfolded, to worship You and to give thanks to You for your grace, for how You have worked in our lives to redeem us, and that this is something that was planned and prepared for throughout the Old Testament, leading up to its fulfillment in the life of Christ.
We pray this in His name. Amen.”