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Give Thanks to the Lord 1

Let all of us say, “The Lord’s mercy endures forever”

Psalm 118.1–13

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • January 8, In the year of our Lord, 2016

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Larry Amberg – No suggestions


  1. In the first century, the Jews sang Psalms 113–118 during the Passover. 
    1. That being the case,
    2. think of Jesus singing Psalm 118
      1. during the night in which He was betrayed,
      2. when His enemies conspired against Him, and
      3. when His enemies would surround Him
        1. that night and the next day, and
        2. kill Him slowly.
  2. When you read Psalm 118
    1. you will see HIs enemies surrounding Him, but
    2. you will also see His confidence in the Father,
      1. praising Him as His strength, and
      2. finding hope in Him by means of the resurrection.
        1. You will then gain insight into the thinking of Christ
        2. as He faced the horrors of the world against Him.
  3. I started out preparing this message on Psalm 118
    1. seeing it from the view of the unknown psalmist,
    2. knowing that it had some references to the Christ.
      1. However, as I continued to prepare
      2. I discovered that the whole psalm speaks of the Christ.
        1. This is a messianic Psalm, for
        2. it prophesied of the Messiah,
        3. the Hebrew word for the Greek word for Christ.
    3. I began to rewrite my whole sermon
      1. from the vantage of seeing what the Messiah
      2. would experience on Earth
        1. as His enemies surrounded Him to kill Him.
        2. We will see this as Jesus speaking through the psalmist
          1. hundreds of years before Jesus experienced these things.
          2. He knew fully what would happen to Him before it happened.
      3. Also, in my rewrite I kept expanding my discourse more and more,
        1. until finally I realized
        2. that I could not cut things to keep it as one sermon.
          1. Therefore, I will continue speaking on this evening.
          2. I do not like to split up a message, but sometimes I have to do it.
  4. Let us look into His mind 
    1. as men plotted His death, but
    2. as He simultaneously put His faith in God.


  1. Psalm 118.1 | Give Thanks

    1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
    For His mercy endures forever.

    1. This sets the tone for the whole Psalm, and
      1. It will close with the same words.
      2. It will also set the tone for the awful day of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
        1. Yet, amazingly, He gave thanks to Yahweh God
        2. for showing Him mercy that day.
          1. How and when did Jesus of Nazareth receive mercy that day?
          2. The second half of the Psalm speaks to that question.
    2. Telling the world to give thanks to the Lord,
      1. the psalmist turned his attention
      2. to three specific groups.
        1. Are you in one of them?
        2. Listen to Jesus speak through the psalmist.
  2. Psalm 118.2–4 | Mercy Without End

    2 Let Israel now say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”
    3 Let the house of Aaron now say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”
    4 Let those who fear the LORD now say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”

    1. The Hebrew Bible showcases the Lord’s enduring mercy toward Israel.
      1. Think of what Jesus said through the psalmist,
      2. even while His own people did not receive Him,
        1. He performed a work to receive them!
        2. Truly, that was a work of mercy that knows no end.
          1. Jesus received mercy that day and
          2. He showed mercy that day to Israel.
    2. The house of Aaron could also sing the enduring mercy of the Lord, because
      1. that was the house of the high priests, and
      2. they had to atone for Israel’s sin
        1. by going to the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies.
        2. Yet, the house of Aaron led in surrounding Jesus,
          1. conspiring against Him,
          2. employing the Romans to do their dirty work.
            1. Nevertheless, in what the chief priests did to Jesus,
            2. He used to offer them the enduring mercy of God.
    3. Jesus through the psalmist addressed anyone who fears the Lord.
      1. Do you fear the Lord?
      2. Join with ancient Israel and the house of Aaron
        1. in declaring the goodness of the Lord
        2. as shown through His enduring mercy.
          1. For you see, we also have sinned against our Maker.
          2. He made the world, but
            1. we did not know Him, yet,
            2. He still showed us mercy.
    4. Next, watch how the Father showed mercy to the Son.
  3. Psalm 118.5–7 | Mercy Shown

    5 I called on the LORD in distress;
    The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place.
    6 The LORD is on my side;
    I will not fear.
    What can man do to me?
    7 The LORD is for me among those who help me;
    Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.

    1. What more distressing situation can you find yourself in
      1. than what Jesus experienced as pictured by John,

        10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him (John 1.10–11).
      2. That ignorance of Him,
        1. that rejection of Him,
        2. led them to conspire how they might make Him suffer the most.
    2. However, Jesus did not rely upon Himself, but
      1. called on Jehovah His God,
      2. who in a short time placed Jesus in a broad place.
    3. Therefore, He knew that the Lord was on His side.
      1. He had nothing to fear.
      2. If the Lord was on His side, what could man do to Him?

        1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
        Whom shall I fear?
        The LORD is the strength of my life;
        Of whom shall I be afraid?
        2 When the wicked came against me
        To eat up my flesh,
        My enemies and foes,
        They stumbled and fell.
        3 Though an army may encamp against me,
        My heart shall not fear;
        Though war may rise against me,
        In this I will be confident.
        (Psa 27.1–3)

        9 Surely the Lord GOD will help Me;
        Who is he who will condemn Me?
        Indeed they will all grow old like a garment;
        The moth will eat them up.
        (Isa 50.9)

        1. Did Jesus show fear at His trials?
        2. Did He show it during the beatings?
        3. Did He show it when men pierced His hands and His feet?
    4. Jesus was not alone.
      1. The psalmist was not alone.
      2. He had those who helped him.
        1. The great Helper, the Lord was there for the psalmist.
        2. So were others, including the angelic host.
    5. He knew then that He would see His desire upon those who hated Him.
      1. Forty years later, the Lord sent the Roman armies against Jerusalem, and
      2. they flattened it and the temple.
        1. A few hundred years later,
        2. the Lord decimated Rome.
    6. Jesus then exhorts us with these words.
  4. Psalm 118.8–9 | Trust the Lord

    8 It is better to trust in the LORD
    Than to put confidence in man.
    9 It is better to trust in the LORD
    Than to put confidence in princes.

    1. Jesus through the psalmist taught us
      1. that we should put our confidence in Yahweh God, and
      2. not in man who will let us down, and
      3. may even do us evil, and
    2. Jesus through the psalmist taught us
      1. that we should put our confidence in Jehovah God and
      2. not in princes, or the government, who will let us down, and
      3. may even do us harm.
    3. Next Jesus showed why we should put confidence in the Lord and not man.
  5. Psalm 118.10–13 | The Lord Helps in Trouble

    10 All nations surrounded me,
    But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
    11 They surrounded me,
    Yes, they surrounded me;
    But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
    12 They surrounded me like bees;
    They were quenched like a fire of thorns;
    For in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
    13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall,
    But the LORD helped me.

    1. Not just enemies in Israel surrounded Jesus, but
      1. all nations, represented by the Romans,
      2. plotted against Him and then
      3. men surrounded Him, beat Him, and crucified Him.

        1 Why do the nations rage,
        And the people plot a vain thing?
        2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
        And the rulers take counsel together,
        Against the LORD and against His Anointed…
        (Psa 2.1–2)
    2. Four times He says that His enemies surrounded Him,
      1. surrounding Him to destroy Him,
      2. surrounding Him like a swarm of bees.
        1. Some of us have experienced bees swarming around us, stinging us.
        2. Some of us have had it happen more than once.
          1. You do not forget such an event, because
          2. somehow these little insects have total dominance over you.
      3. Three times He declared
        1. that in the name of the Lord he would destroy them.
        2. He also added
          1. that though they pushed Him violently,
          2. trying to make Him fall,
            1. even as they did during His ministry with trick questions,
            2. yet every time during His ministry and
              1. during His last night and last day,
              2. Yahweh God, His Father, helped Him.
      4. They may have been as thorns to Him, but
        1. they have passed away quickly
        2. like thorns on fire do.
    3. They pushed him violently (because argumentation did not work),
      1. wanting him to fall,
      2. beating him,
        1. slapping him,
        2. spitting on him, and
        3. scourging him.
          1. However, he never sinned in return.
          2. Though they reviled Him,
            1. He did not revile them in return.
            2. As a man He could not, but
              1. later He would be in a position
              2. to destroy them, and destroy them He did.
    4. He gave Yahweh God, the Lord, full credit for the help.
      1. While He never lifted His hand against His enemies, and
      2. while He never cursed them,
        1. He did pray to God, and
        2. by death He found deliverance.
    5. What else could He say but
      1. what verses 14–29 record Him saying?
      2. Come back tonight, please.


  1. This Psalm teaches us what the Messiah would experience for us. 
    1. It also teaches how we should live when in distress.
    2. Even as He did not fear when surrounded by the worse of humanity,
      1. so He teaches us we do not have to fear.
      2. Think of what Paul wrote the Roman Christians,

        31b If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us (Rom 8.31–34).
  2. The only way to live a life void of fear 
    1. is to think as Jesus did during His trials and crucifixion:
      1. Thanking God for mercy shown,
      2. Placing trust in God and not man.
    2. Who do you trust?
      1. God or man?
      2. Who can save you in death?