November 21, 2017
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 21 November 2017
If the importance of a psalm is determined by the frequency of its quotation in the New Testament, then Psalm 118 should be considered the most significant of psalms. Psalm 118 is the single, most referenced psalm in the New Testament. All four Gospel writers quote Psalm 118. When the Lord Jesus lamented for Jerusalem’s lack of repentance, he referenced Psalm 118 (Luke 13:35); and, when He later entered Jerusalem in prophetic fulfillment (Zech 9:9), the crowds shouted Psalm 118 (Matt 21:9). A few days later, Jesus spoke the parable of the landowner in reference to those who rejected his messiahship, and again quoted Psalm 118 (Matt 21:42). Jesus wept a second time for Jerusalem and quoted Psalm 118 (Matt 23:39). When he and John were arrested, and placed on trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin, Peter cited Psalm 118 for the culpability of the religious leaders toward Jesus, whom they crucified, yet “whom God raised from the dead” (Acts 4:10-11). Psalm 118 is also quoted or referenced in multiple books of the New Testament (Eph 2:20; Heb 13:6; 1 Pet 2:7). Psalm 118 is obviously quite strategic.
Psalm 118 is classified as a thanksgiving psalm, in which God is praised for his saving goodness. The psalm itself is comparable to a worship service of celebration and thanksgiving; it would be sung as the people of God walked in procession towards the Temple, entered through its gates, and there worshipped God. The procession to the Temple begins with an urgent appeal: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for his lovingkindness is everlasting” (v. 1). Two reasons are given why thanksgiving should be expressed toward God: (1) “He is good” and thus everything the Lord bestows upon his people is always impeccably appropriate (cf. Rom 12:2); and, (2) God’s love “is everlasting.” There is no end to God’s boundless lovingkindness that He lavishes upon his people.
The great reality of the Lord’s goodness is to be declared by all his people (v. 2), those who lead worship (v. 3), and all those who honor the Lord (v. 4). The shout of praise from the entire nation is followed by an expression of trust in the Lord in time of distress (vv. 5-14). As opposed to placing trust in a human alliance, “it is better to take refuge in the Lord” (v. 8). Recognizing “the right hand of the Lord does valiantly” (vv. 15-16), his people shout joyfully and victoriously (v. 14). The “right hand of the Lord” is more than sufficient for any help needed from his people. Therefore, give public witness to God’s mighty works of salvation for his people (vv. 15-18) and declare his greatness (vv. 19-20). God answers the prayers of his people, and He alone is their salvation (v. 21).
Psalm 118 is not only a celebration of thanksgiving, but also a messianic psalm (vv. 22-27). Jesus Christ is the rejected stone, yet chosen by God as the “chief corner stone” of the church (v. 22; Acts 4:11; Eph 2:20; 1 Pet 2:7). What the Lord God has accomplished is truly “marvelous” (Ps 118:23). “Rejoice and be glad” (v. 24), and pray for God’s continued blessing. Psalm 118 concludes as it began, with giving thanks to the Lord (vv. 28-29). Ultimately, the reason to praise God is “for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (v. 29); therefore, praise unto the Lord should be eternal. Thanksgiving is living a daily life of gratitude, recognizing the name of the Lord God (vv. 10-12) and the hand of the Lord (vv. 15-16) is all-sufficient.
Our hearts here at Capitol Commission are thankful for you who have partnered with us throughout this year. Please know that what God is doing and what He is accomplishing through this ministry in the Capitols of our nation is truly culture changing. As the gospel is being proclaimed and the Word of God is being taught, and as His people are praying, men and women are experiencing the power of the gospel, lives are changing, and leaders are changing the way they lead. That will change culture! Please pray and consider how you may be able to share a significant gift with Capitol Commission prior to the end of this year.
Your Missionary to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.