Summary: The two challenges to joy are adversity and ingratitude. It takes a choice to rejoice; I WILL be glad and rejoice in it! Circumstances don’t determine joy, it comes from the Lord, in spite of circumstances.
"THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE”
A. HUMOR: THE SOUR INTERVIEW
1. Some people have a knack for picking things. Hannah went to a citrus Farm and asked Henry, the manager, if there are any jobs available at the farm.
2. He told her that the only job available was for a part-time lemon picker. Hannah says the job would suit her well.
3. After Henry has asked her some questions about her education and previous jobs, he told her, "You’re really far too qualified for such a lowly position."
4. "But I would still like the job," said Hannah. "I would be very good at it." Henry asked, "Do you have any experience in picking lemons?"
5. "Well, actually, I do," replies Hannah. "I’ve been divorced three times."
6. That’s funny but betrays a sad view of life that she needed to beat (us too!). God wants us to be positive; people of hope and good expectation. That’s our direction today.
B. TEXT & TITLE
1. “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” Ps. 118:24.
2. We’ve heard this verse for so many years, that it’s possible we could miss the deeper message God wants us to receive from it: circumstances don’t determine joy, it comes from the Lord, in spite of circumstances.
3. The title of this message is, “This is the Day the Lord has Made.”
I. TWO CHALLENGES TO JOY
A. FIRST – ADVERSITY
1. This Psalm 118 was written in incredible adversity. The writer was crying out to God in anguish; he feels surrounded by troubles and about to fall.
2. But despite his troubles, he begins and ends his prayer with praise to God. "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever" (118:1,29).
3. To some, praising God when things are bad may look like foolishness. But PRAISE IS A MAGNIFIER: David said, “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” Ps. 34:3. We know what a magnifying glass can do; it makes some things bigger while others stay small. That’s what praise does; it makes God bigger and your problems smaller.
4. When you praise, you redirect your focus to God. Ps. 22:1 KJV says that ‘God inhabits our praises.’ As we praise, the Holy Spirit begins to fill us; our faith rises, and suddenly we feel our chains fall off and our prison doors open, just like they did when Paul & Silas when they praised God in the Philippian jail!
B. SECOND CHALLENGE TO JOY – INGRATITUDE
a. A street vendor sold bagels for 50 cents each at a corner food stand. A jogger ran past and, feeling charitable, threw a couple of quarters into the bucket but didn’t take a bagel.
b. He did the same thing every day for months. One day, as the jogger ran past, the vendor stopped him. The jogger said, “You probably want to know why I always put money in but never take a bagel, don’t you?”
c. “No,” said the vendor. “I just wanted to tell you that the bagels have gone up to 60 cents.”
2. Too often, as believers, we treat God with that same kind of attitude. Not only are we ungrateful for what He’s given us—but we want more.
3. Some feel that God owes us good health, a comfortable life, & material blessings. Of course, God doesn’t owe us anything, yet He gives us everything.
II. JESUS IS THE KEY TO OUR JOY
1. Ps. 118:20-24 says: “This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me, you have become my salvation. The [corner]stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
2. Did you know that Psalm 118 is the center chapter of the Bible? And Jesus is the center of this Psalm! Jesus quoted these exact words in Matt. 21:42, Mk. 12:10-11, & Lk. 21:17. Jesus is the Gate to Heaven!
A. JESUS: CORNERSTONE & CAPSTONE
1. Despite the Jewish nation rejecting Jesus as the Cornerstone (the most important part of the building, upon which all the other foundation stones lean), Jesus still became the “Capstone” (the topmost stone completing the structure). Some interpreters think the “Capstone” represents the “keystone,” the center stone at the top of an arch; it holds all the other pieces together; without it the arch would definitely fall. Whichever…
2. So it’s to be with us: Jesus should be so crucial to us that He’s the foundation of our lives. We’re to start with Him in the morning (as our foundation) and end with Him at night (‘capping’ off the day).