November 16, 2015
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
The Song Christ Sang
This is the day which the Lord hath made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it … Thou art My God and I will exalt Thee.
O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good. For His mercy endureth forever.
Psalm 118:21, 28, 29
As the last of the Egyptian Hallel remembering the Exodus, this would have been the Psalm sung by the Lord in the upper room (Matt 26:30) as they observed the Passover. He sang of the loving kindness and mercy of God, rejoiced in the day that the Lord made, looked forward to a time when the stone, now being rejected by the builders, would be the Head of the corner. He sang of the bound sacrifice being brought to the altar.
On one level it was a song of worship and also of comfort; it was an expression as well, of total confidence and faith in His God.
It will have its fulfillment when Christ, their Messiah, returns and leads His people into the Temple, perhaps on the Feast of Tabernacles. Yet, as He sang these words in the upper room that night, they must have carried an even deeper meaning to His soul.
Look at the —
In the middle of this great Psalm, the speaker relates being “compassed about” three times (vv 10-12). Amidst this He speaks of God as His song, strength, and salvation. He would rejoice in God and leave His deliverance to God (v 14). The omnipotent One chose an attitude of dependence and faith going to, and through, Calvary.
In verses 15 and 16 there is a three-fold mention of the right hand of the Lord and His deliverance. But prior to knowing that hand in deliverance, He would know it in smiting. That arm of Jehovah, with unerring accuracy and immeasurable penetrability, would come down upon His Son on the cross.
The Day in Expectation
He sang of the gates which will one day open to Him, the righteous One (Psalm 24). But before then, He must exit those same gates bearing a cross and not a crown. He must be the theme of the ballads of the drunkards and the insults of those who sat in the gate. A day is coming when all nations will praise Him.
He looked forward to the day when the Stone being set at naught would become the Head of the corner. He moved by faith, a faith fortified by the Word of God.
Come to the end of the Psalm, the last words of the Lord. He speaks of a Relationship Owned – Thou art My God. He owns God as His. Without a waver in Hs heart’s affection or consecration, He confesses God as His own.
Linked with this is a Resolve Expressed. “I will praise Thee.” Nothing would stanch the flow of praise coming from the heart of Christ moving to the cross and upon the cross. There was a heart that worshiped the very hand that was smiting Him.
The Reason Given: for He is good … his mercy endures forever. The Lord Jesus sang of the goodness of God and of His steadfast love under the shadow the greatest grief and suffering history has ever known.
1. Note how the Psalm begins as all of Israel celebrates a redemption. Do you think a redeemed nation in the future will think back on this Psalm and sing of their greater deliverance?
2. See links between this Psalm and the song of Exodus 15 sung at the banks of the Red sea.
3. Why do you think Luke, the other synoptic writer, does not mention the singing of the Psalm as do Matthew and Mark?