PSALM 118 ...
INTRODUCTION ... LESSON ONE:
Let me today just show you an interesting two
verse passage of Scripture. I will use it to introduce another
text which we shall study this week, Lord willing.
It is found in the Old Testament Book of
Ezra. I believe ALL the Bible is inspired and without error ...
including these little Old Testament Books of history!
"And when the builders
laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the
priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons
of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance
of David king of Israel. And they sang together by course in
praising and giving
thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy
endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the
people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD,
because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid."
The interesting thing I want you to notice
today is that the priests on this great occasion loudly praise
God with these words: "O give thanks unto
the Lord; for He is good: because His Mercy endureth for
Now the interesting thing about these words
is that they are the beginning words and the ending words to a
begins verse 1 with those exact words ... and ends verse 29 (its
last verse) in an identical manner!
Now the old Jewish writers often used this
literary technique. When a much longer passage was being
quoted, the author would just include both the opening words and
the closing words of that longer text ... indicating that the
whole text was either read or quoted.
It is believed by many that on this occasion
of victory (the laying of the foundation of the post captivity
Temple, Zerubbabel's Temple) the priests shouted and quoted and
sang THE WHOLE 118th PSALM!
That is quite likely!
Here is another example: In the crucifixion
account the Gospel writers remind us that Jesus spoke both the
first words of Psalm 22 ("My God, My God,
why hast Thou forsaken Me?") and the last words of Psalm
22 ("He hath done this!" Or ...
"IT IS FINISHED!") It is quite
likely that Jesus quoted and meditated on the whole 22nd Psalm
while He was dying on the Cross for our sins! Knowing that sure
makes Psalm 22 precious, doesn't it? Several years ago I
preached Psalm 22 verse-by-verse in a camp meeting (five
mornings)! It was one of the highlights of my preaching
ministry. I also preached it verse-by-verse to the folks of
Victory Baptist Church in Cumming, Georgia, over a two or three
month period of time. Jesus loved that portion of Scripture!
(Of course He loved it all!)
Now here's my point today. IF
Psalm 118 is so important that it was quoted in
its entirety at the dedication of the new Temple ... it
certainly is worth our study.
We shall not exegete each verse (if so it
would take 29 days) ... but we shall survey the Psalm over the
next few days and draw some interesting conclusions from the
great teaching of this chapter of Scripture.
I confess to you, I do not know the 118th
Psalm like I should. I want to change that in these days ahead,
Lord willing. Anyone want to join me?
Grab your "nugget" bag and let's begin!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
PSALM 118 ... LESSON
We are surveying the 118th Psalm for a few
days. It seems to be attached some way (in position and in
meaning) to both the 117th (the shortest chapter in the Psalms)
and the 119th (the longest) Psalms!
If so ... we have another "trinity" of Psalms
that magnify the things of God.
The first four verses belong together. They
form something of an introduction.
"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is
good: because his mercy endureth for ever. Let Israel now say,
that his mercy endureth for ever. Let the house of Aaron now
say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Let them now that fear
the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever."
I believe Psalm 118 is the fuller version of
Psalm 117! Their subject is praise! Psalm 117 answers two
critical questions for the Christian. WHAT am I do to? PRAISE
THE LORD! And WHY am I do do so? Two reasons are given:
because of His "merciful kindness"
and because "His Truth
endureth for ever!" Psalm 118
continues by telling us HOW to do it. HOW to praise the Lord!
(And in some detail!)
Verse 1 gives us the general principle.
"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is
good: because his mercy endureth for ever."
Verse 2 tells us that the whole people of God
are to praise Him: "Let Israel now say,
that his mercy endureth for ever." The proper
name "Israel" means a people "ruled by God" and of course has
the precious Jewish people in mind!
Verse 3 adds that one particular group in
Israel who MUST praise the Lord for sure!
"Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth
for ever." These are the priests (the preachers). The
name "Aaron" means "light bringer." God's men take the Word and
bring light to the people of God! ("Thy
Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
And verse 4 declares another group yet ("them
now that fear the Lord") who are to praise the Lord!
These are believers who are NOT necessarily Jews. These include
the Gentiles, thank the Lord! This is where WE got "in" folks!
"Let them now that fear the LORD say,
that his mercy endureth for ever."
Notice that whatever their backgrounds and
callings in life ... these people ALL are to praise God for His
mercy and goodness!
This introduction (like Psalm 117 before it)
carefully teaches us that the whole family of mankind is (at
least some day) going to praise the Lord!
Now lastly (for today) let's look at the
opening verb of this whole paragraph. It is "give thanks" and
in Hebrew ("yadah") means "to throw, to hurl, to shoot or to
cast something!" Actually the root "yad" is the common Jewish
name for one's "hand." In word picture form, when a believer
thanks the Lord and praises His Name, he or she is throwing
gratefulness toward heaven! And how does one throw honor and
thanks heavenward? Why, of course, with one's HAND! Next time
you lift your hand (or hands) ... hurl Him a word of praise!
Also let me add that the verb is an imperative --- expressing a
command to us! And its sense of time is that of an on-going
action. Just keep on thanking Him!
Tomorrow, Lord willing, we shall get into the
body of the Psalm.
Until then, keep your hands free. You may
need to throw something! (Some "thanks" to God!)
Or to pick up a nugget or two!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
PSALM 118 ... LESSON THREE:
We are surveying the great 118th Psalm this
I notice earlier today that it has one verse
that contains at least three startling truths.
Let me show you what I mean.
It's verse six.
"The LORD is on
my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?"
Truth number one: THE LORD IS ON MY SIDE!
Truth number two: I WILL NOT FEAR!
Truth number three: WHAT CAN MAN DO UNTO ME?
"The Lord is on my side!" I have always
taught folks that it's a matter of US being on the LORD'S
SIDE! But here. the expressions are "turned." The Lord is
said to be on our side! (I stand corrected by Scripture!)
Listen to Paul: "If God be for us,
who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31) Here is a
word of ASSURANCE!
Then "I will not fear!" When I ponder the
goodness of God (which this Psalm has done now for five verses),
I realize He's been with me in the past ... and is with me in
the present ... therefore I conclude He will not leave me in the
future! That alone removes my fear! Furthermore the Lord
"surrounds" me with His Presence! If God is our Protector ...
of whom could I possibly be afraid? Here is a word of
And then "What can man do unto me?" Man can
only harm the body ... which will go to the grave some day
anyway. He can't destroy the soul ... which lives eternally and
God has "saved" by His grace! So ... really ... WHAT can man do
to hurt you eternally? Here is a word of
I would say that our verse today contains
some of the "secrets" to victoriously living for Jesus in these
I trust that God will give you a "nugget" of
truth somewhere in this Bible study. If so ask Him to bring it
to your mind throughout the day! That's meditating on the Word!
Our little verse today is short enough to
memorize in a couple of minutes. Then you would have it to
"ponder" forever! "The LORD is
on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?"
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
PSALM 118 ... LESSON
Today I have gathered some general facts
about the 118th Psalm that I thought might interest you.
It is strategically placed between the
shortest Psalm (117) and the longest Psalm (119)!
It is a "Messianic" Psalm. That means that
it speaks of Jesus and His Life and Work.
It is the last of a group of Psalms called
the "Hallel Psalms." They include Psalms 113-118. They were
memorized by every Jew. They were quoted (or sung) at the end
of every Passover meal by the Israelites. Matthew 26:30 says:
"And when they had sung an hymn, they went
out into the mount of Olives." The "hymn" they sang was
the "Hallel." It included Psalm 118! Jesus' very eyes have
read the words of this great text! His divine mind memorized
these verses! That alone makes them special!
For what it's worth, this was Martin Luther's
all-time favorite Psalm too. He taught and preached a lot from
the Psalms ... and here's where he "settled in" most often for
help and encouragement.
It is a Psalm that employs "inclusio" as a
literary feature. What's that? It is a passage that opens and
closes with the very same thought (or even the very same
words)! This Psalm begins and ends with identical verses.
(Verse 1 and verse 29 are word-for-word the same!) Read them
and you have the Holy Spirit's "KEY" for opening the whole
text! "O give thanks unto the LORD; for
he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever."
One Bible teacher says that when this happens ... the last verse
precisely repeating the first verse ... it means read it again
(and again and again)!
Another teacher says that this is one of the
"I" Psalms. The personal pronoun occurs 15 times. It records
someone's (Someone's) personal experience.
Verse 22 of our Psalm is applied to our Lord
Himself (Both by Jesus and by Peter)!
"The stone which the builders refused is become the head
stone of the corner." See Matthew 21:42 and Acts
4:11 and 1 Peter 2:7.
In Hebrew the Name "Jehovah" occurs 22 times
in this Psalm! (Once for every letter in the Hebrew alphabet!)
And "Jah," the contraction of Jehovah, occurs another 5 times!
This Scripture is filled with all the fullness of God (as Paul
Before I close today let me show you one more
amazing verse in this great passage. "The
LORD is my strength and song, and is become my
salvation." This is verse 14. You preachers who love
"alliteration" look! The Lord is our: Strength and Song and
Salvation! (That covers one's body, soul and spirit!)
"Strength" ("oz" in Hebrew) comes from a root
verb that means "to be stout!" (Wow! I just found our verse in
another place! Exodus 15:2 --- "The LORD
is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation:
he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my
father's God, and I will exalt him." And now again in
Isaiah 12:2 --- "Behold, God is my
salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH
is my strength and my song; he also is become my
salvation.") We serve one stout God! (God's Name Elohim
especially emphasizes His Strength!)
"Song" is only used ("zimrath") three times
in the whole Bible! It means music or melody or song! But a
closely related term ("zimrah") means "the best fruits" in
Genesis 43:11! Our word is translated "Psalm" in Psalm 81:2.
The Lord is our Psalm! (He also is the BEST!)
And "salvation: is the noun "Yeshuah"
(pronounced yesh-oo'-ah), which is just the name of Joshua (or
Jesus) in Hebrew! The text says the Lord is my Jesus! The noun
means deliverer or saviour!
What a verse!
What a Psalm!
Did anybody get a "nugget" of truth today?
I sure did!
PSALM 118 ... LESSON
One Bible teacher catalogues the 118th Psalm
in a particularly precious way. He calls it "Our Lord's Journey
Home!" This to me is just a beautiful thought!
We know the Psalm is a "Messiah" Psalm
("Messianic" the teaches say) because of the way both Jesus and
Peter used it. See Matthew 21:42 and Acts 4:11 and 1 Peter 2:7.
First of all ... the Journey begins in verses 1-4. Jesus
concentrates on God's great mercy!
Next ... the Journey builds in verses 5-18.
We just may be seeing Jesus in GETHSEMANE in verses 5-7! Then
Jesus is at GABBATHA (where He was judged according to John
19:13) in verses 8 and 9. Read these two please:
"It is better to trust in the LORD
than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in
the LORD than to put confidence in princes." See that
word "princes." It well could refer to Pilate and Herod!
(Wow!) Next Jesus goes to GOLGOTHA in verses 10-13! More
people were destroyed at Calvary than were saved! It is ever
so. "Few" there be that find eternal life in the Son! See
Matthew 7:14. Then we may see Jesus IN GLORY (after His
Ascension) in verses 14-18! Notice the expression (twice)
"the right hand of the Lord!"
Lastly ... the Journey blossoms! This would
be the closing paragraph of our Psalm, verses 19-29. I believe
it pictures Jesus at the Temple when He comes again (Second
Coming) in all His Splendor! Listen to Him as He enters the
Temple: "Open to me the gates of
righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the
LORD." (verse 19) What a day that will be! ("This
is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This
is the day which the LORD hath made; we will
rejoice and be glad in it." Verses 23 and 24)
Our Psalm ends gloriously in a spirit of
praise and worship ... with King Jesus ruling on earth for the
duration of His Kingdom Age!
I would surely say this is a new and exciting
way to view this passage of Scripture!
When we began this short series I asked the
Lord to show me some "wondrous" things out of His Word. He has
indeed! (I found that prayer in Psalm 119:18 ---
"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of thy law.")
Some real "nuggets" are here!
PSALM 118 ... LESSON SIX:
We have been concentrating on it since Sunday
(six days). I have sure enjoyed learning more about it with you!
All the studies are "saved" here for you.
You may go back and review them anytime!
I saw something else about the first four
verses the other day that just thrilled me! In them 4 voices
praise God because "His
Mercy Endureth For Ever!" The voices are those
of: ALL THE PEOPLE ... then the nation of ISRAEL ... then the
HOUSE OF AARON ... an finally those who FEAR THE LORD! And old
Preacher said that they reminded him of four other voices who
praised God for His mercy and grace! (He was referring to the
four Gospel writers; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John!) Now THAT is
something to think about! (Forerunners of the Gospels!)
Ezekiel also mentions some "types" of the Gospel writers in his
great first chapter!
Does anyone remember what they cried out to
Jesus the day He rode into Jerusalem on that little donkey?
(The very week of His crucifixion!) Matthew 21:9 ---
"And the multitudes that went before, and
that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David:
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest." Here's even more PROOF that
this is a Messianic Psalm! (Mark 11 and John 12 record the same
What's that? Ourselves! "Our bodies, a
living sacrifice!" (Romans 12:1-2) Paul says that it's our
"reasonable" service. (Reasonable = "logikos" ... our word
BUT the Epistle of Hebrews adds that
"sacrifice" can also consist of PRAISE! Listen. Hebrews 13:15
--- "By him therefore let us offer the
sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of
our lips giving thanks to his name."
You know what we all should be doing after
going through this Psalm? Praising the Lord for the light He
has given us! It's the only proper response to such a great
(and giving) God!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell