Summary: Get Pumped for Your Salvation!
Last Sunday in his children’s devotion, Mr. Donovan talked about movie previews. He pointed out how previews package up the highlights of an upcoming movie to get you excited about seeing that film. But once you’ve seen a preview a few times, the novelty wears off doesn’t it? When you get a movie from the library or borrow a DVD from a friend, I bet you just fast-forward through all the previews. Well I’m going to share with you today a preview that may have been playing for as long as three thousand years! Part of Psalm 118 is a preview of the Palm Sunday events. But why look at this preview when we’ve already seen the real thing? Just moments ago Chris read the script for that movie—recounting how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey while crowds waved palm branches. But if that’s the only thing you remember about Palm Sunday, that event may be interesting, but you won’t see what it has to do with you. That’s where Psalm 118 can help. This ancient Palm Sunday preview will get you pumped again for your salvation which Jesus came to secure.
Our text begins like this: “Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD” (Psalm 118:19). Ancient cities like Jerusalem were usually built like forts. Huge walls encircled the city, and the only way in were through gates. But just as airport security today won’t let anyone without an airline ticket pass their gates, so gatekeepers in ancient times would let only those who belonged in the city or who had legitimate business there pass through. The psalmist plays with that theme and perhaps has us picturing the gates of heaven—gates through which only the righteous may enter. So how can the psalmist demand that this gate be opened to him? Even if the author was the famous King David, a man after God’s own heart, David committed sins of adultery and murder which made him unrighteous.
Well it’s a good thing you haven’t committed those sins right? So you should have no problem waltzing into heaven through the gates of the righteous. Just like you have no problem walking through the metal detectors at airport security because you’re smart enough not to wear your big cowboy belt buckle when you go through. But do you remember how right after 9/11 they jacked up the sensitivity of those detectors? They were so sensitive that tiny wires in undergarments and even metal screws underneath the skin holding bones together would set off the alarm. It was quite annoying. Well, the sin-detector that we have to pass through before we can enter heaven is even more sensitive. It’s not enough to shed obvious sins like murder and adultery. God says we need to also get rid of sins that seethe under the surface. These are sins that no one other than God may see—sins of bitterness, of silent grumbling, of pride, and sins of unholy desire. Yes, how was it the author of Psalm 118 thought that he could enter through the gates of the righteous?