The Day That the Lord Has Made! [Devotion]

I wanted to share some thought today on an oft quoted verse, Psalm 118:24, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.“ We’ve all heard this verse before. In fact, many of you now have the children’s song stuck in your heads (you’re welcome). But it popped into my mind a few mornings ago and made me see it in a new light. Let me set the stage.

I had every intention of getting up on time and getting out the door to work in an efficient and polished manner to start the day off right and lead into a highly productive time of work… but I’d been up late the night before working on tax stuff… and I have an eighteen month old… and my wife needed a little extra sleep because, coincidentally, she also has an eighteen month old (the same one, just in case you were wondering) and so about the time I was supposed to be striding out the front door with lunch neatly packed and coffee steaming in my travel mug I was still in pajamas trying to heat oatmeal for my little boy who was running around the house yelling “Baw! (ball)” and “Mama! (exactly what it says)”. It’s a wonderful scene… I just wish I’d had the discipline to see it that way. Instead I was getting frustrated (not at my wife or even at my son just at the morning for not going the way it should). I had plans! I was going to be responsible and prompt and super productive! But now I was going to be late (for my own schedule not anyone else’s). So when I finally got out the door and I was grumbling, about how the day had started. As I opened the gate to leave that scripture popped into my head.

At first I simply thought of it as a call to be joyful but then I realized something more that caused me to drop my attitude in shame. THIS is the day the LORD has MADE. I’d always thought of it as just being a general call to joyfulness but then I realized that there was so much more. No matter what day you read Psalm 118 on it is always THIS day that the Lord has made. He fashioned this day with its trials and tests, with its ups and its downs, with it’s smooth sailing and rough waters! THIS IS THE DAY!!! We’re not supposed to rejoice because God only makes happy days we’re supposed to rejoice because even the bad ones are still made by Him (though please understand that I’m not saying that God makes them bad, our sinful natures and this fallen world have a lot to do with that, but He makes even the days where He allows trials!). In other words rejoice because God is in control!

The encouraging nature of this passage is deepened when we put it in context!

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
    that I may enter through them
    and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord;
    the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
    and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save us, we pray, O Lord!
    O Lord, we pray, give us success!

I found it incredible that when I looked this passage up it was smack in the middle of a prophecy concerning the coming of salvation through Christ!!!!!!!!!

Verses 19-20 contain a plea for the Lord to save, “…Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them…“. Indeed it very much reminds me of John 10:9, “I am the door [some translations say gate]. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.“

But this plea for salvation is answered in verses 21-22 the Psalmist says, “I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.“ This is the very passage that Jesus is connected with in Matthew21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, and 1 Peter 2:7! The prayer for salvation is answered in the person of Christ!

And then we see that Psalmist praises God for the work of salvation in verses 23-24. In 23 he says that this work of salvation is the Lord’s and in verse 24 he says that, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.“ The Psalmist is rejoicing in the Lord, not because the day is good or even easy but because His salvation is in the Lord and no matter what happens the Lord who saved Him is in control because HE made the day!

And so may we all echo verse 25 “Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success!”