Psalm 118:1 ESV
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!”
We can always count on God to be who He says He is, and to do what He says He will do. His love will never fail us, even though human love will. He will always have in mind what is best for us. He won’t lie to us, or trick us, or be unfaithful, or mask his intentions. He is always on the “up and up.”
So, we should thank him and praise him always for his steadfast love and mercy, and for his faithfulness, and for his goodness to us, his people.
Call on the Lord
Psalm 118:5-7 ESV
“Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.”
We all have enemies. We especially do who are teaching God’s Word in its fullness and who are exposing the lies of Satan for what they are. For, Satan is strongly against us, and he will convince other humans to come against us, too. For, his goal is to destroy Jesus and His Word and His messengers, too. And, so he will do everything he knows to do to try to stop the spreading of the gospel (the true gospel).
And, sometimes Satan’s attacks against us, which can come through other humans, even from other Christians, are very fierce. They can cause confusion in our minds, and pain to our hearts and emotions. And, so we call on the Lord in our distress, and in our suffering, and he then sets us free, not necessarily from the distress or the suffering, but from its debilitating impacts on our minds and on our hearts.
We never have to fear anything in this life, for our God is absolutely sovereign over all that he has made. He is totally in control. Evil is only allowed to exist because God allows it to exist, but he puts limits on it. No enemy forged against us can ever prevail against those of us who love God and who obey him, because God is on our side. Although it may seem, at times, as though the enemy is gaining on us, God is watching over us. And, He is working out all things for the good of us who love (who obey) him.
Take Refuge in Him
Psalm 118:8-9 ESV
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.”
Amen! As humans we are frail creatures. We live in flesh bodies. We are clay vessels. We who are in Christ, by faith in Him, are not yet made perfect, not in the sense of what we will be when we are in our heavenly bodies. So, we are bound to fail one another at some time or other, whether willfully or not.
And, the older I get, the more I realize this, because my mind at age 70 is not as sharp as it was at age 50. So, I forget things sometimes, which is why I have to write things down, and then I have to remember that I wrote them down, too, and where. It is just a fact of life. So, I may fail others due to forgetfulness, but I must realize my weakness, too, and do what I can to make sure I don’t forget, especially out of love and consideration of others.
But, then there are those who willfully fail others, because they are liars and deceivers. They are tricksters who put on a show of kindness, but who will stab us in the back when we aren’t looking.
They mask their intentions in hopes that they can trip us up in some way, or in hopes that they can perhaps persuade us to come their way. And, this is one of the biggest reasons we should not put our hope and trust him humans, besides the fact that our primary faith and trust should always be in God, and not in man. Humans will fail us, but God will never fail us!
Surrounded by Enemies
Psalm 118:10-13 ESV
“All nations surrounded me;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me like bees;
they went out like a fire among thorns;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
but the Lord helped me.”
Amen! Satan is a powerful foe! But, he is not too powerful for God! Amen!
Our enemy will attack us in so many different ways. For some people, they literally have physical armies coming against them, and they are having to run for their lives. But, an army can be invisible, too. And, this invisible army may come against us with words instead of with guns and bombs. It may disguise itself as Christians or as our friends, but it may not be friendly at all to us. It may befriend us to gain our confidence, and then turn against us.
And, our enemy doesn’t even have to use other humans to come against us, either, but he attacks us in our minds and in our emotions with lies that he whispers in our ears and with wrong or false thoughts that enter into our minds. And, so we have to cut him off! We have to immediately reject those thoughts and lies, and replace those thoughts with what is godly and holy.
And, these attacks against us, which can be physical, or they can be with words, or with thoughts coming into our minds, can be really fierce and oppressive, at times, to where they truly do push hard against us, and we may even begin to fall, or feel as though we are falling. And, that is definitely when we need to call on God to help us. Sometimes when I am in situations like that, all I can pray is “Lord, help!” And, he does help me.
My Strength and My Song
Psalm 118:14-18 ESV
“The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
Glad songs of salvation
are in the tents of the righteous:
‘The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,
the right hand of the Lord exalts,
the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!’
“I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has disciplined me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.”
No matter what we go through, as followers of Jesus Christ – no matter what battles we may face – our Lord is there to help us through it all, and to lift us up, and to encourage our hearts, and to give us his strength to endure.
But, we must recognize that God allows these difficulties to come into our lives, too, but that they are ultimately for our good, to draw us closer to our Lord, to get us to call on him for help, to mature us in Christ, and to make us holy as He is holy. So, they serve a purpose. For, through trials and tribulations in this life, if we trust in the Lord through them, we grow stronger in our faith and in our determination to stay the course with Christ.
So, when we go through life’s difficulties, we must not let them defeat us. We must trust in God’s sovereign grace over our lives, and submit ourselves to our faithful creator who truly always has our best interest in mind. We must believe he is in control, and let him do his work in and through our lives. We must believe he is with us and that he will not desert us, too.
And, one of the best remedies I know to fighting off the attacks of the enemy is with songs of praise to God. When Satan throws his fiery darts against us, and he will, we need to reject his attacks, and we need to put on the armor of God and sing songs of praise to God, and songs which encourage and strengthen our hearts and our faith, too. And, we need to keep on serving our Lord, doing what he says to do, and trust him with the results. For, He will be faithful in all that He does! Amen!
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.