Tuesday, January 02
Trusting the LORD in 2024
1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
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."
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.
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.
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.
14 The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.
We have no idea what we might have to face in our personal lives or in the world in 2024, but we don’t need to despair and feel hopeless because we have a God who is good, and He is always good even when everything is falling apart around us! Psalm 118 gives us several things we can do when the crisis comes, and really that we should already be doing when everything is fine.
First, we should be giving thanks to the LORD and focus on Him and His goodness and mercy (vv. 1-4). Usually when problems or difficult people are disturbing our peace, we begin to focus on them. We start using up all our emotional and physical energy trying to figure out how to solve the problem and get things back to normal. But instead of doing that, we should take time to remember how great and awesome our God is, and believe and look back to the cross of Jesus and His resurrection that assures us of God’s love for us.
Then in verses 5-14, we are assured that we can trust in Jehovah in every crisis! "The LORD" is mentioned in every verse in this paragraph because He was the one who protected Israel from their enemies and enabled the people to complete the work in difficult times. In 537 b. c, Israel had been set free from captivity (v. 5), and about 50,000 Jews returned to Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel the governor and Joshua the high priest. (See Ezra 3-6.) The Jews laid the foundation of the temple in 536 B. C., but local officials interfered and the work stopped from 536 to 520 B. C. The nations around the city did not want a restored Jewish state in the neighborhood, so they opposed both the rebuilding of the temple and the fortifying of the city. The work was resumed in 520 B. c. and the temple was completed and dedicated in 515 B. C. The people learned to trust, not in kings and princes, but in the Lord alone (vv. 8-9). They also learned that, though the enemy might attack them like bees, the Lord would give them victory (vv. 10-12). This was also true when Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in 444 B. C. and directed the work of rebuilding the walls and restoring the gates.
Knowing that the nation of Israel was God's chosen instrument for bringing blessing to the world, Satan opposed the work and sought to destroy both the people and their city, but faith and courage carried Israel through to victory (vv. 5-7; Heb. 13:6). The statement in verse 14 is significant. The Jews sang it when they were delivered from Egypt (Ex. 15:2) and when God enabled them to rebuild their temple and the city walls (118:14). They will sing it in the future when Messiah redeems them and establishes His kingdom (Isa. 12:2, see context). Just as "all nations" attacked Israel in the past, and even now are attacking them, they will do so again in the future (Isa. 29:2-7; Zech. 12:9; 14:1-5; Joel 3:1-2), and the Lord will again rescue them. God's people must learn to trust Him in every crisis of life.
In closing today, it might be interesting to note that verses 8 and 9 are considered by many to be the two middle verses of the Bible! “It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes.” Wow! How fitting! Trust Jehovah in 2024!