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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Psalms 118

Verses 1-29

Psalms 118

The God Is Good Psalm

This is the last of the Hallel. Psalms of 113-118. This’ group of Psalms was used ’either to expose an individual or all Israel’s feelings toward God, commemorating His delivering them both from Egyptian and Babylonian bondage and captivity. Verse 8 is the middle verse of the Bible.

Scripture v. 1-29:

Verse 1-4 call on three classes of people to give thanks (continually) to the Lord because of one thing, His continuing, undying mercies upon men: 1 Chronicles 16:8; 1 Chronicles 1) "Israel" was to witness it was true, Psalms 115:9, v.2; 2) The "house of Aaron," the priestly family, was to affirm it, v.3; 3) All those who feared the Lord were to testify, tell it to others, their children, that His mercy never ended, Psalms 19:9; La 3:22, 23; See also Psalms 100:4-5; Psalms 115:9-11.

Verse 5 witnesses, experimentally, "I called upon the Lord in distress," or out of a state of distress; "The Lord answered me (responded) and set me in a large place," a wide place, in contrast with the narrow place, strait, or distress from which he called on the Lord, as also certified Psalms 18:19; as pledged 1 Peter 5:7. He, as Israel, was carried from sin’s captivity and sin’s bondage to the freedom of grace, John 8:32; John 8:36; Romans 10:13.

Verse 6 rejoices ’The Lord is (exists) (is present) on my side; I will not fear; What can man do unto me?" For He has promised, never to leave or forsake me, never to leave me as an orphan, Hebrews 13:5-6; Psalms 34:7; Psalms 37:23-24; Romans 8:28-39; Psalms 37:25; Psalms 26:4; Psalms 26:9; Psalms 26:11.

Verse 7 declares that the Lord continually takes the psalmist’s part with those (angels) who helped or guarded him, Psalms 34:7; Hebrews 1:14; an assurance his enemies would come to fall before him, for hating him, Psalms 54:4-5.

Verses 8,9 declare that "ft is better (more ideal, pays better dividends and capital gains) to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man," the depraved arm of flesh, as warned Psalms 62:8; Isaiah 2:22; Isaiah 30:1; Jeremiah 17:5; Jeremiah 17:7. Let It be observed that this verse 8 Is the middle verse of the Bible, containing a germ or miniature composite of almost all Its teachings. Verse 9 adds that it is also "better (more advantageous) to trust in the Lord than to put, place, or fix ones confidence in princes," earthly lords and rulers, as also certified, Psalms 62:8-9; Psalms 146:3; Isaiah 36:6-7; Ezekiel 29:7; Psalms 2:12; Proverbs 3:35.

Verses 10-12 repeatedly affirm that Though all nations had encircled the Psalmist and Israel, like an arrayed army, to capture and destroy them, both he and they of Israel, Psalms 88:17. Though the enemy surrounded them like an hive of bees, they were to be quenched, destroyed as by fire, in the name, by the power and word of the Lord, Deuteronomy 1:44. The enemies of God’s people shall be destroyed, like fire destroys thorns, with a blaze of fury, Ecclesiastes 7:6; Isaiah 27:4; Isaiah 38:12; Nahum 1:10; Hebrews 6:8; 2 Samuel 23:6.

Verses 13,14 address the enemies of the psalmist, acknowledging that they have "thrust sore" at him that he might fall, sought to kill him, but the Lord had "helped" him, came to his rescue, as He does to the righteous, in life and in death, Hebrews 13:5-6; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58. He added "the Lord is (exists as) strength and song (object of praise), and is become my salvation," from chastening, and trouble, Exodus 15:2; Isaiah 12:2.

Verses 15, 16 declare that there is just cause of joy and rejoicing in the exalted right hand of power and salvation of the Lord, who had done valiantly in bringing salvation or deliverance to the righteous, and continued to make them free to worship and serve Him with joy, out of and away from their former bitter bondage, Isaiah 12:3; Psalms 108:13; Psalms 60:12. God’s right hand of rule is exalted, Exodus 15:6; Hebrews 1:3; Ephesians 1:20-21.

Verse 17 vows and pledges "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord." It is "living sacrifices," not "dead sacrifices" that the Lord desires of His children today, Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 2:10; James 1:22. Though death and extinction seemed to threaten Israel a thousand times, her people of faith believed God would not let her die, because of His sacred oath and covenant of integrity, Exodus 19:3-8; Psalms 6:5; Habakkuk 1:2. Neither shall any who trusts Him for salvation ever die, cease to be His forever, John 3:16; John 5:24; John 11:26; 1 John 5:13.

Verse 18 witnesses "The Lord hath chastened me sore (severely), but He hath not given me over to death," an act of mercy and occasion for the psalmist’s gratitude, even as for that of the whole nation of Israel. When believers are chastened of the Lord it is for their own fruitbearing good and God’s glory, if accepted as it should be, as certified 2 Corinthians 6:9; Hebrews 12:5-11; 1 Corinthians 11:31-34. Israel’s recent chastening, as a nation, had been by the Chaldeans, Habakkuk 1:12.

Verses 19-21 cry for "open gates" (an opportunity) and privilege of God in a righteous way in this life, until the opening of heaven’s gates. The psalmist resolved to praise Him in public worship in the sanctuary of the Lord here on earth, because the Lord had heard his prayers and become his salvation or deliverance, an high reason for praising Him, as set forth Psalms 24:3; 2 Chronicles 15:15; Isaiah 26:2; Isaiah 35:8; Job 36:7; 2 Chronicles 5:13; Job 34:28; Psalms 27:1; Psalms 122:1.

Verse 22 prophetically declares that "the stone (foundation and capstone) that the builders (Israel’s leaders) refused is become (has come to be) the head stone of the corner," even Jesus Christ, Genesis 3:15; Matthew 11:6; Psalms 132:11; Matthew 21:42. This alludes to the coming and rejection of Jesus, as savior and church founder, Job 1:11-12; Acts 4:11; 2 Peter 2:8.

Verses 23, 24 affirm that "this is the Lord’s doing (a Divine supernatural work); it is marvelous in (the sight) of our eyes," Job 5:9. This alludes first to Israel as the cornerstone building of God, rejected in spirit by her own builders, and second, to Jesus Christ rejected by His own, who was both the savior and founder of His church, who shall ultimately be bridegroom to her while king over Israel, ruling with the twelve apostles of the church, over the whole earth, fulfilling this In both Israel and the church, Daniel 2:44; Luke 1:32; Mark 13:34-35; Matthew 16:18; Matthew 20:28; Ephesians 2:21.
Verse 24 adds that "this is (exists as) the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it," 2 Corinthians 6:2; What He provides in it, Isaiah 25:9; Revelation 1:10.

Verses 25, 26 call for the Lord to "save now" and send prosperity to Israel, adding "blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord; We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord," quoted by the people as a testimony toward Jesus in His triumphal ride into Jerusalem on the donkey, Matthew 21:9; Zechariah 4:7.

Verse 27 relates that this is the God that had shown Israel light and favor by day and night, by a pillar of cloud and fire, as He led them out of Egypt, Exodus 13:21; Exodus 14:20; Nehemiah 9:12. As a testimony of faith they were called to bring the festive season sacrifice with a cord, even to the horns of the altar of sacrifice, Exodus 23:18; 2 Chronicles 30:22.

Verse 28 vows that "you are my God" (living kind of God), "I will praise, exalt or extol you," Exodus 15:2; Isaiah 25:1.

Verse 29 concludes with the exhortation "O give thanks (gratitude) unto the Lord, (above all things); for He is good. For His mercy endures (lasts) forever," La 3:22, 23. Thus the psalm ends as It began, v.1. This ends the great Hallel, Psalms 113-118, and Is believed to have been sung by Jesus and His disciples at the last Passover, Matthew 26:30.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Psalms 118". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/psalms-118.html. 1985.