Repeating Good Things

17 Jan

Psalm 118 uses a simple tool for emphasizing the greatness of God by repeating praise statements for God.

1-4 Thank God because he’s good,
because his love never quits.
Tell the world, Israel,
“His love never quits.”
And you, clan of Aaron, tell the world,
“His love never quits.”
And you who fear God, join in,
“His love never quits.”

It is a good thing to remember anytime that, God’s love never quits!

5-16
Pushed to the wall, I called to God;
from the wide open spaces, he answered.
God’s now at my side and I’m not afraid;
who would dare lay a hand on me?
God’s my strong champion;
I flick off my enemies like flies.
Far better to take refuge in God
than trust in people;
Far better to take refuge in God
than trust in celebrities.
Hemmed in by barbarians,
in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
Hemmed in and with no way out,
in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
Like swarming bees, like wild prairie fire, they hemmed me in;
in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt.
I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall,
when God grabbed and held me.
God’s my strength, he’s also my song,
and now he’s my salvation.
Hear the shouts, hear the triumph songs
in the camp of the saved?
“The hand of God has turned the tide!
The hand of God is raised in victory!
The hand of God has turned the tide!”

I love the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases the scripture. The sentence,”Pushed to the wall, I called to God; from the wide open spaces, God answered., is a wonderful way to express the limited nature of human beings and the vast power that God has to change our circumstances. The psalmist is in trouble, trusts in God and then repeats, “in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt” and all the praise goes to God.

17-20
I didn’t die. I lived!
And now I’m telling the world what God did.
God tested me, he pushed me hard,
but he didn’t hand me over to Death.
Swing wide the city gates—the righteous gates!
I’ll walk right through and thank God!
This Temple Gate belongs to God,
so the victors can enter and praise.

In verses 21-25 is a phrase associated with Jesus, “the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” and paraphrased by Peterson. If we look at this phrase in this context and think more broadly about it, it becomes clear that many people of God have become unlikely leaders. People who the world discards, can become foundational leaders – it is God’s work – the possibilities are endless.
21-25
Thank you for responding to me;
you’ve truly become my salvation!
The stone the masons discarded as flawed
is now the capstone!
This is God’s work.
We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!
This is the very day God acted—
let’s celebrate and be festive!
Salvation now, God. Salvation now!
Oh yes, God—a free and full life!

It is God who has the power and the possibilities and it is us who give the praise. Has God given you hope today? It is something to sing to God about? You know, God’s love never quits!

26-29
Blessed are you who enter in God’s name—
from God’s house we bless you!
God is God,
he has bathed us in light.
Festoon the shrine with garlands,
hang colored banners above the altar!
You’re my God, and I thank you.
O my God, I lift high your praise.
Thank God—he’s so good.
His love never quits!

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