Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Psalms 118

Verses 1-29

Psalms 118:1. O give thanks unto the LORD for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

Here is a standing reason for thanksgiving. Although we may not always be healthy, nor always prosperous yet God is always good, and, therefore, there is always a sufficient argument for giving thanks unto Jehovah. That he is a good God essentially, that he cannot be otherwise than good, should be a fountain out of which the richest praises should perpetually flow.

Psalms 118:2-3. Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

These were specially set apart for God’s service, and, therefore, where much is given, much is expected. The house of Aaron, therefore, must have a special note of thanksgiving, and though we who preach the gospel claim no sort of priesthood, yet if any ought to lead the strain of thankfulness, it should be those who minister for God continually.

Psalms 118:4. Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

Let them all say it: let them all say it now: let every one of us say it for himself, “His mercy endureth for every.”

Psalms 118:5. I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.

I think many of us could make just such a record as that and not once but many times in our lives, we could say, “I called upon the Lord in distress.” We have had many trials, but we have a mercy-seat always to fly to, and a God always ready to hear the cries of his distressed ones.

Psalms 118:6. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

The past always gives us assurance for the future, for we are dealing with the same unchangeable God, and, therefore, we may expect to have the same dealings from him.

Psalms 118:7-8. The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

There is one text which I have never seen put up anywhere. You have illuminated texts in your houses and schoolrooms, and so on, but I think I have never seen this, “Cursed is he that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm” or this other one, “Cease, ye, from man whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted of?” and I am sure there is no teaching of Scripture more necessary than that, whether it refers to great men or to little men, whether it refers to men of eminence, or to those of your own family circle. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence, in man.”

Psalms 118:9. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

It is nobler, it is more agreeable to sound reason, it will lead to better results. God better deserves our confidence than the princes of the earth do — even the best of them.

Psalms 118:10. All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them.

This may apply to David, but it applied better to Christ, around whom Jews and Gentiles came, but he won the victory over them.

Psalms 118:11-12. They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. They compassed me about like bees, they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.

The thorn makes a good blaze and crackle, and sputter, but it is soon out altogether. “For in the name of the Lord will I destroy them.” In this way we may meet our spiritual foes, temptations, trials, the world, sin, death, hell, the name of Jehovah shall be our strength. “In hoc signo vincit,” said one of old — “By this sign thou conquerest,” and so by this sign we also overcome through the blood of the Lamb.

Psalms 118:13. Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the Lord helped me.

This will rebut all the attacks of our fiercest foes — “But the Lord helped me.”

Psalms 118:14-15. The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiatly.

Where God’s people dwell, there is the voice of joy. Their family prayer sanctifies the house with its joyous notes. Even then there is trouble and sorrow in the house, yet resignation makes joy and rejoicing there still; and if rejoicing for a moment should go, yet salvation never does. “This day is salvation come to thine house.” If thou be now a converted man, it will never go away again. It is an abiding being: it is in the tabernacles of the righteous.

Psalms 118:16-17. The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.

Some have thought this psalm was composed by Hezekiah after his sickness, and after the destruction of Senacherib’s host. It may be so. It has been used by many besides Hezekiah, who have not forgotten that these are the words of Wickliffe, used when monks came round his dying bed with prayers, Paternosters, and crucifixes, and urged him to repent, and he said, “I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.” And so, indeed, he did.

Psalms 118:18. The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.

Many of his best children can say this, for “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.” “The Lord hath chastened me sore, but he hath not given me over unto death.” You that have recovered from sickness, here is a song for you. You who above all were not given over to your sins and to the just punishment of them, here is music for you, “He hath not given me over to the second death, which he might have done.”

Psalms 118:19-20. Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.

I suppose he who uttered these words has passed through the beautiful gates of the temple.

Psalms 118:21. I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

Future, past, present — all full of blessing.

Psalms 118:22-24. The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Though this is applicable to the Sabbath, yet it is also applicable to any day, and to every day which God especially makes glorious by delivering many.

Psalms 118:25-27. Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD. God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.

It is the king returning from victory and recovered from sickness. He brings his sacrifice with thanksgiving, as every child of God should, and there it is ready bound to the altar horns.

Psalms 118:28-29. Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee. O give thanks unto the LORD for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

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Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 118". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.