We do not know who wrote Psalm 118 or the exact occasion. It is the most quoted psalm in the New Testament as it looks forward to a messianic king who would establish his kingdom by being rejected by men. It roots God’s promise to bring a messiah in God’s past faithfulness and steadfast love. The phrase “steadfast love” refers to God’s covenant faithfulness. The phrase would have reminded Israel of the many ways God has been true to His promises to Israel through the ages. The phrase acknowledges that Israel’s victories and blessings are not the product of their own skill or power, but the result of God’s faithful covenant love. Any blessings that Israel experienced were owed to God’s faithfulness and not Israel’s.
We all face the temptation of putting our confidence in ourselves or in others. No one, however, can guarantee our safety, save God. The Bible is an astounding record of God’s faithful promise keeping. By reminding ourselves of how God has been faithful to Israel and the saints of old, we can rest assured that He will be faithful to the promises He has made to us. When God brought deliverance, Israel responded with celebration and acknowledgement that their victory came from the Lord (v. 15-16). This statement in verse 18 makes clear that the psalmist did not receive deliverance from the Lord because of his faithfulness. The reason the psalmist and the nation of Israel were delivered was because of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. If God did not love us, He would ignore our sins. It is because God loves us that our sin rouses Him to step into our lives and show us our foolishness and our desperate need for Him. We are not righteous, but when we trust Christ for salvation, Jesus takes our sin and grants us His righteousness (Phil. 3:7-11). The people promised to proclaim what the Lord has done (v. 17). If you are a Christian, you have experienced an even deeper and more profound deliverance. You have been delivered from the power of sin and death – this is news worth celebrating and proclaiming to the ends of the earth!
What are some ways that God has been faithful to you in the past? How might remembering those ways help you be more faithful to Him in the present?
PRAYER – Praise God for His steadfast love that endures forever. Thank Him for being faithful to us despite our rebellion against Him and for making us able to enter the righteous gate through His sacrifice on the cross. Seek Him and rest in Christ supremely!