This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. 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. 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.(Psalm 118:24-29)
Just as Christians have certain songs which we sing at certain times of the years, associated with holidays and historic experiences, so also does Israel have certain Psalms which they sing at certain holidays. I remember how amazed I was after being born again, when I realized the true meaning of Christmas Carols I had sung all my life, without grasping the significance of them.
“Born to save the sons of earth, born to give them second birth….”, I had never realized that Christmas songs proclaimed the gospel until after I was saved.
One of the songs associated with the Jewish feast of Passover, was Psalm 118. Israel sang the Psalms 113-118 as part of the Passover celebration.
The Psalm comes from the perspective of the patient sufferer, Israel, who was delivered by the LORD out of a tight spot, because he called upon the name of the LORD. He then admonishes his hearers, “It is better to trust in the LORD, than in princes”.
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Let them now that fear the Lord say, that his mercy endureth for ever. I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? 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. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.(Psalm 118:1-9)
Next, the song celebrates the deliverance of God’s people, when they were surrounded by the nations intent on their destruction. The nations who surrounded Israel in this prophetic song were like Bee’s(terrorism, asymmetrical warfare?), intent on overwhelming them and dealing a fatal blow.
But the Psalmist and his singers, confess the “name of the LORD” and avow that they will destroy these surrounding nations, by God’s help and in the name of the LORD.
Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the Lord helped me. 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 valiantly. 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. The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.(Psalm 118:13-18)
The Psalm becomes a first person testimony, of the Messiah, “the Right Hand of the LORD…” , someone whom the enemy thought they had destroyed,but whom God would not “give over to death”.
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 will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. 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.(Psalm 118:19-24)
Now the Messiah is leading a procession of victory, through the gates of the city and into the temple of God. He has triumphed and would praise the LORD in the congregation of the Holy people. This part of the Palm echoes earlier Psalms 22, and 24.
The Theme of the victory of the Messiah, and the triumphal approach to the temple of God for worship and thanksgiving with the congregation is on all three of these passages.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. (Psalm 24:8-10)
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.(Psalm 22:22-25)
The procession has arrived at the Temple, the Messiah and the congregation are there to Praise the LORD for the victory he has won in the name of GOD. The gates open. Theoretically the Priests are supposed to say ;
Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.(Psalm 118:26)
This would be a warm , scriptural welcome by the “Builders” of the Temple/Nation, a way of saying, “We welcome you, for we see that you are the ONE the LORD appointed, you came in his name and on his terms and fulfilled His pre-requirements. You are the Messiah, welcome in….”.
But it is at this point in the song where this lyric is inserted,
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.(Psalm 118:22)
The Builders from within the walls of the Gates of Righteousness, are in place. The crowd of worshippers has assembled, but…Instead of acceptance by the “builders”, there is rejection of the Messiah by the “builders”.
The most important Stone in God’s building, the LORD’s Messiah, presented himself in the Temple, on the very day predicted by Daniel, 530 years earlier, but He was “Despised and rejected” instead, and eventually led away to slaughter, in the name of God.
But this was “The LORD”S DOING, and it is right in His eyes! Remember Daniel’s prediction that the Messiah would come and be “cut off” , but not for himself , but for the people?
On that Spring day, in either 32 or 33 AD, whilst the people were making preparation for the Passover, and were singing lyrics among themselves, “Passover carols”, singling lines such as “This is the Day that the LORD has made…” or “Bind the sacrifice with Chords to the altar…” or “Blessed is HE that comes in the name of the LORD”, How many realized that in that year, they really had arrived at THE DAY, the long anticipated, prophesied day of visitation.