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Summary: Messianic Psalm. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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SERMON OUTLINE:

Background:

author & setting unknown

part of the Egyptian ‘hallel’

theme is found in verse 6

it is a very repetitious Psalm

it was used in a procession

Outline:

collective praise (vs 1-4)

personal salvation (vs 5-7)

national salvation (vs 8-26)

collective praise (vs 27-29)

Prophetic Meaning:

salvation (vs 25-26)

resurrection (vs 22-24)

SERMON TEXT:

Quote:

• A university student was seen with a large “K” printed on his T-shirt.

• When someone asked him what the “K” stood for, he said, “Confused.”

• “But,” the questioner replied, “you don’t spell “confused” with a “K.”

• The student answered, “You don’t know how confused I am.”

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.

• We are not sure who wrote it,

• Or exactly what the background setting was when it was written.

• That is of course true about various parts of the Bible:

• Quote: “Many writers only ever one author – God himself!”

• Now not knowing who the human author was;

• Is a hindrance to interpreting the events that this psalm describes.

• i.e. We can’t pinpoint a place or experience that the writer was going though.

As you read this Psalm it 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 easiest thing to say about this psalm is:

• It is connected to a time when God 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.

• And these six psalms were sung collectively at the three great Jewish feasts,

• Passover, Pentecost, and Booths or Tabernacles.

• 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.

Ill:

• An American tourist’s visit to the 19th century Polish rabbi, Hofetz Chaim:

• Astonished to see that the rabbi’s home was only a simple room;

• All it contained was a few books, a table and a bench,

• The tourist asked: “Rabbi, where is your furniture?”

• “Where is yours?” replied the rabbi.

• “Mine?” asked the puzzled American tourist.

• “But I’m a visitor here. I’m only passing through.”

• The Rabbi replied:

• “So am I, so am I!”

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 and our future is in God.

(4), THE PSALM USES A LOT OF REPETITION:

• Quote: Repetition is a good teacher.

• Ill: last week at the Holiday Club at each quiz I asked the same questions.

• The reason being - repetition is a good teacher.

• The object of a quiz is not to catch out the children but to teach;

• To reinforce the teaching they have received the day before etc.

• So it is always good to review and revisit what we have previously learnt.

Notice: The use of repetition is quite notable throughout this psalm.

• e.g. The opening and closing verses are identical.

• e.g. The same refrain "His love endures forever", also appears in verses 2, 3, and 4.

• e.g. Verses 6 and 7 both start the same way.

• e.g. Verses 8 and 9 are almost identical. Except for the last few words.

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