Summary: Psalm 118 - THE LORD HAS BECOME MY SALVATION. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: PSALM 118
Ill: If you think your family has problems,
• Consider the marriage mayhem created when 76-year-old Bill Baker of London;
• Recently wed Edna Harvey.
• She happened to be his granddaughter’s husband’s mother.
• That’s where the confusion began, according to Baker’s granddaughter, Lynn.
• “My mother-in-law is now my step-grandmother.
• My grandfather is now my stepfather-in-law.
• My mom is my sister-in-law and my brother is my nephew.
• But even crazier is that I’m now married to my uncle & my own children are my cousins.”
In many ways Psalm 118 is a confusing Psalm;
• The structure of this Psalm is complex and not very obvious:
• As we look at it you will notice that it does not fit into a nice neat outline.
(A). Background to the Psalm:
(1). Unknown writer and setting.
• William Phelps taught English literature at Yale for forty-one years;
• Until his retirement in 1933.
• Marking an examination paper shortly before Christmas one year,
• Phelps came across the note: "God only knows the answer to this question. Merry Christmas”
• Phelps returned the paper with this note:
• "God gets an A. You get an F. Happy New Year”
We are not sure who wrote it:
• Or exactly what the background setting was when it was written.
• Quote: “Many writers only one author”.
• Not knowing who the human author was;
• Is also a hindrance to interpreting the events that this psalm describes.
The Psalm is a strange mix:
• It seems to require different readers at different points,
• It moves from the singular, the individual; to plural, to collective elements.
• Its content is also mixed,
• Using imagery from both a battle and the temple.
• The most satisfactory or simplistic background for the psalm,
• Is to say it is connected to a time when the Lord had given victory to his people.
(2). It is a HALLEL PSALM.
• Six of the Psalms (numbers 113 to 118):
• Form what is called the Egyptian Hallel,
• These six psalms are called this;
• Because they celebrate the Children of Israel's deliverance from Egypt.
• These six psalms were sung at the three great Jewish feasts,
• The Passover, Pentecost, and Booths or Tabernacles.
• At Passover it was song or chanted when the Passover lambs were offered,
• And later at home over the Passover meal.
• This Psalm is very likely the hymn Jesus song after he instituted the Lord's supper.
• Matthew 26:30: "When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives ".
• We are used to reading that Jesus preached and taught or served or prayed;
• But this is the only time in the gospel records where we find Jesus singing.
(3). THE THEME OF THE PSALM IS FOUND IN Vs 6:
“The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?”
• Unlike the Psalmist we might read that verse and think;
• ‘What can man do to me?’ Answer: A lot!"
• e.g. People can oppose, slander, hurt, hate, maim, murder us etc .
• Evil people can do evil things.
• But the point that the psalmist is making is in the end,
• They cannot really harm us because our lives are preserved by God and in God.
QUOTE: New Testament equivalent would be Romans chapter 8 verses 35-39:
Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?
Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death?
36(Even the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep. '') 37No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love.
Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. 39Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I believe that is what the Psalmist is saying in verse 6:
• The enemy cannot really harm us;
• Short term they may kill the body but they cannot destroy the eternal soul.
• Because our lives are preserved by God and in God.
• When the Emperor Valens threatened Eusebuis with confiscation of all his goods,
• Torture, banishment, or even death, the courageous Christian replied,