Psalm 118:5-6 - Narrow Straights to Wide Open Spaces
From my narrow "straights" of anguish and pain [brought on by threatening enemies], I called upon YAHWEH;
YAHWEH answered me and set me free and in a large place [this contrasts with "straights"! Psalm 31:8].
YAHWEH is on my side; I will not fear.
What can people do to me? [Heb 13:6]
Rejoice in God's deliverance of me and pray for those in "straights" to be delivered. I have two people who are on my heart to pray for today.
Here is a study of the whole chapter I did at the Bible Book Club:
LINK: Psalm 118
This is part of a group of Hallel songs (Psalms 113-118). These songs were sung at the three "great" festivals of Israel, when every male was to come to Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16). Those three festivals were Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. They were also sung at other holy days. Psalm 113-114 were sung before the Passover meal, and Psalm 115-118 were sung afterwards.
Some speculate that it was written for the Feast of Tabernacles and maybe for the first celebration after the exiles had returned from their captivity. The fact that he talks about the "corner stone" may relate to the rebuilding of the temple that was going on at that time. Also, he talks of how God has reestablished His nation and triumphed over other nations.
It is a songs of praise to God for his loyal, eternal love. It is a song of thanksgiving and confidence in our God.
It is perfect for the American readers who are heading into the Thanksgiving holiday!
The Scarlet Thread of Redemption
Jesus referred to Psalm 118:22 when He spoke about being rejected by His own people (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17). Jesus was rejected but he became the cornerstone of the church (Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6,7). The cornerstone could be the foundation stone or a stone which crowns a building. Jesus is both the foundation on which the church is built, and He is the capstone the crowns the church!
The crowds shouted lines from Psalm 118:26 when Jesus entered Jerusalem at the beginning of the Passion Week,"Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" (Matthew 21:9).
Jesus is also the Light God has made to shine upon us (118:27).
Did you know that the middle verse of the Bible is found in this Psalm!
Psalm 118:8 says, "It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man."
I remember having a terrible couple of years in college as I struggled to make Jesus my Lord. I had been trusting in someone who turned out to be very deceitful and unkind. I was devastated and depressed.
I went to babysit, and after I had tucked the kids in bed, I opened my Bible to the very center!
God spoke directly to the center of my heart though this verse that He was the only one I could trust 100% for everything. I gave it all to Him, and He has not let me down. I cling to this verse to this day.
What a great verse to be at the heart of the Bible! Trust in Him is the key to everything!
Who or what are you trusting in?
Lord, You are the better choice when it comes to trust. Help us to put our lives in Your hands. Amen.
2014 Update: Also, could you pray for one of those kids I tucked in bed that night? She is a grown woman now and has colon cancer.