Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”3 Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”4 Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. 10 All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 12 They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. 14 The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
Psalm 118: 1-14 ESV
Psalm 118 is the last Psalm of the Hallel Psalms. Since the Hallel psalms were to be sung in all Jewish celebrations, they were also sung by Jesus growing up and especially during the last Passover He spent with His disciples. When we read Psalm 118 today and the next few days, we may try to picture Jesus singing the lines of what He was about to fulfill Himself, as the passover Lamb who was to be slain, and as the triumphal King who overcame death.
2020 has proven a brutal reality to us that nothing on this earth can last forever. During the pandemic, masks ran out before we even saw them; food ran out; even toilet papers ran out. The more we needed these supplies, the faster they ran out! Places that we couldn’t go; friends that we couldn’t meet; hands that we couldn’t shake; hugs we couldn’t give. As described in verse 5, we were distressed. The word “distress” used here is the Hebrew word “tsar”, which means a narrow place – being pressed into a narrow place from outside pressure. Just when we are calling out from our distress, our Lord Jesus was also the one that went through the biggest distress for you and me! He was “distressed” (verse 5) and “being surrounded” (verses 10-12). He was “surrounded on every side”, which we can recall the scene of the crucifixion, when He was being surrounded by the big crowd who was mocking Him and calling “crucify him! crucify him!” Give thanks to the Lord who also went through great distress for me!
During the last supper, while facing great distress, Jesus also sang “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” He was the one to be crushed and the Lamb to be slain. He was also the one that triumphed over death! Because of what Jesus had done, His God is our God, and His Father is our Father! He sets us free from distress. He is our very present help in times of trouble! We take refuge in Him, and take shelter in His steadfast love that never runs out, but endures forever. Praise the Lord, for His good, and His steadfast love endures forever!
Dear Lord, praise you for your love that endures forever! Thank you for going through distress and suffered for me! If ever I’m in doubt of your love, remind me of your cross. Your love never changed even when you were suffering great pain for me. Thank you, Lord!