¿Habla español?

I Will Rejoice: a Psalm 118 devotional

When my children were small, we adopted a family motto: This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it! The line comes from Psalm 118, but was most familiar to me as a lyric in a silly song.  Please know that I did not intentionally choose this motto because I am such a great mom--in fact, at the time, it seemed quite the opposite to me.  The motto was born out of struggle.  It is what I would shout instead of cursing when we were running late and someone was missing a shoe, or when I burned dinner, or when the girls dumped out all the toys just before my husband got home so that he never saw the house tidy that day.

Eventually we started to say it in the car on the way to school each day.  It was my way of trying to ensure the last thing the girls heard from me was positive instead of critical.  As they got older it became a call and response to end our morning prayer.  I would say, "this is the day that the Lord has made," then my littles would reply from the backseat, "I will rejoice and be glad in it."  During the middle school years, we played with emphasizing different words because there was a lot of attitude in the car.  "I will rejoice" or "I will rejoice" or "I will rejoice."  Only recently did I learn what an impact this had on their lives and that my college student carried the motto to her new friend group at school.

On that first day when I shouted out, "this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it," I was desperately proclaiming what I hoped would be true.  I did not have a firm grasp on the theology of the Psalm, I just remembered the lyrics to a silly song and--by God's grace--it began to change my life.  Repeating this motto and searching for ways to make it true, things to rejoice over each and every day, was critical to breaking a cycle of anger and fear in my life.  In the years since, I have read Psalm 118 countless times and have learned more about the purpose of the Psalms in the lives of believers since the time these ancient texts were written.

It turns out, the Psalms were very often used to proclaim a truth about God even when there was no evidence in the lives of believers that he was at work.  Declaring victory in a battle that had yet to be won, or faith for God to heal even before the healing came; these poems gave voice and theology to the people of God in every circumstance they faced.  The language of armies and enemies could be interchanged with whatever struggle they faced and those Psalms that were born in victory could be repeated any time as a reminder of God's faithfulness and love.

Perhaps you are in a situation that has you feeling stressed, in need of a victory or healing or reminder of God's faithfulness and love.  Consider taking about fifteen minutes to sit quietly and read through Psalm 118.  Read the Psalm slowly, making the words your own.  When you read a phrase you fully believe, pause to thank God for how he has made this known to you in the past.  When you come across words that are hard to believe, make it your prayer that they would be true.  Replace the threat of warring nations with whatever threatens you today.

Then, choose a line or two to be your motto for the week.  When you are struggling and want to complain or curse or cry, proclaim these words aloud, even through tears and gritted teeth.  I pray that--by God’s grace--they will begin to change your life too.

Psalm 118 (RSV)

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his steadfast love endures for ever!
2 Let Israel say,
    "His steadfast love endures for ever."
Let the house of Aaron say,
    "His steadfast love endures for ever."
Let those who fear the Lord say,
    "His steadfast love endures for ever."
Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
    the Lord answered me and set me free.
6 With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
    What can man do to me?
7 The Lord is on my side to help me;
    I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to put confidence in man.
9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to put confidence in princes.
10 All nations surrounded me;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
12 They surrounded me like bees,
    they blazed like a fire of thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my song;
    he has become my salvation.
15 Hark, glad songs of victory
    in the tents of the righteous:
"The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,
16     the right hand of the Lord is exalted,
    the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!"
17 I shall not die, but I shall live,
    and recount the deeds of the Lord.
18 The Lord has chastened me sorely,
    but he has not given me over to death.
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 thee that thou hast answered me
    and hast become my salvation.
22 The stone which the builders rejected
    has become the head of the corner.
23 This is the Lord's doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save us, we beseech thee, O Lord!
    O Lord, we beseech thee, give us success!
26 Blessed be he who enters in the name of the Lord!
    We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God,
    and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
    up to the horns of the altar!
28 Thou art my God, and I will give thanks to thee;
    thou art my God, I will extol thee.
29 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures for ever!

No Comments



1 Kings 12 Days of Christmas 20 minutes 2020 Acts Adonai American way America Antelope Valley Apostle Paul Apostle's Creed Bibile Bible study Bible Birmingham Book of Acts But God COVID-19 COVID Calvary Charlies Angels Christian Voter Guide Christian home Christmas Church Colossians Communication Confessional Prayer Corinthians Dallas Willard David Devotional Doing Life Together Eastertide Easter Ecclesiastes Emmanuel Ephesians Epiphany Esther Father in Heaven Father's Day Father Galatians God With Us God first God is good God of peace God still Moved God's Will God\'s Will Good Friday Gospel of John Gospel of Luke Gospel of Mark Gospel of Matthew Happy Father's Day Hawaii Hebrews Holy Spirit Hosea How are you doing How to Pray I want that Instagram Isaiah 43 Isaiah James Brown James Jenna Bush Hagar Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah Jesus John 3:16 John Hughes John Wesley John Judy Garland King David Kingdom Come Kingdom of God Leadership Lectio Divina Light of the World Lord Love is Love your neighbor Luke MLK Malachi Mama Bear Mark Martin Luther King Jr. Mary Matthew Memorial Day Merry Christmas Micah 6:8 Micah Molly Ringwald Monday Night Manna Mother Hen Mothers Day Nancy Drew Nehemiah New Testament Old Testament Only God Knows Paul Pentecost Peter Philippians Prince Phillip Prince of Peace Proverbs 13 Proverbs Psalm 10 Psalm 139 Psalm 23 Psalm 40 Psalm 42 Psalm 46 Psalms of Joy Pursuing the Presence of God Queen Elizabeth Revelation Romans Ruth Haley Barton Savior Sermon Sheridan Voysey Son of God Son of Man Son Spider Man Sunday School Surprised by Joy TV Target Thanksgiving The Free Market The Lord's Prayer The Sound of Music Timothy Titanic Today Show Twelfth Night Veggietales Voter Guide Wizard of Oz Women in Leadership Women of Faith Women's Bible Study abide abstain accused act justly action adoration adventure advice advocate afraid allelon alone anchor anger answers anxiety app art ask attack authority awe awkward back to school balance baptism be kind be open be prepared be still and know beaten and condemned beauty and struggle beauty belief believe belonging betrayed by a kiss betrayed black friday blackbelt blameless bleeding woman blessed blessing blog body bond bookmark book boundaries breadsticks broken brotherhood burden butter called by God called by name called carbs care cause celebrate centered in Christ challenges change childbirth children choice choosejoy choose christian christ chronic illness church nerd alert church online citizen civil rights clean hearts cleaning comfort comment community compassion into action compassion compost confession of faith confession conflict resolution conflict confusion connection connect consumer culture contemplative prayer conversation with God conversation corruption court tv court creation creative juice creativity cross crucified and kind crucified crucify dad dating daughtership daughters death defense delight denied depression differently abled disabled discernment discipleship discipline discovery discrimination distracted divine divinity do good do the action donate doughnuts dreams dream early church eating disorder eden election emotional health emotions empathy encouragement endurance enjoy enough excess expectations failure faithfulness faith fall family dynamics family fun family of God family systems family fangirl fasting fast favorite scripture favorite things fear feel find and follow Jesus fine flexible forgiveness forgive free time freedom free friendship friends fruit funeral fun future gaining faith galaxy garden generations generosity genesis gift give it away give life giving goals god good news good shepherd gospels gospel government grace of God grace grass is always greener gratitude gravy great cloud of witnesses green bean casserole green thumb grief grieve grit groups growth ham hangover happiness harmony harsh truth head healing healthy habit heart sick heart help holding tight holidays holiday homeless homeostasis homeschool honor hope deferred hope how the Lord speaks how to read scripture how to talk about loss how to worship how to humanity human humility humor innocent inspiration intercessory prayer intimacy introvert invitation isolation join journal journey joy just believe justice kids kindness kind kingdom of heaven knock lament laughter learn lent let it be life together light listen live loneliness longing losing faith loss love in action love mercy love story love the Lord love loving like Jesus magi map marathon march marginalized marriage mashed potatoes meditation memorial memories mental health mentalhealthmonth messiah momlife mom motivated by joy mourn moved with compassion move mystery navigate need neighbors neighbor new beginning new normal new season new year newlywed news new nickname normal not alone not easy note to self nothing but joy nourishment now and not yet nowandnotyet nurse offering one body online overflowing with gratitude pain pandemic parenting parents pastor patience patient peacemaker peacemaking peace perseverance personal prayer perspectives perspective petition phillipians pity planted by water plan play something podcast politics potatoes practice of confession practicing gratitude pray for pastors pray without ceasing prayer request prayerwarrior prayer praying praywithoutceasing pray preach prepare presence of God present priortize prize promise of God promise prophetic psalms psalm purpose quarantine questioning God questions quiet race read reconciliation reconnect recovery reevaluate reflect regather regret rejoice relationships relationship remember repentance repost research resilience resources respect rest resurrection retreat rhythms riot road to the cross roles routine ruby slippers rules sabbath sacred sadness safe at home safe salvation scalloped potatoes schedule scripture about justice scriptures about fear scriptures about joy scriptures about peace scriptures about race scriptures scripture searching seasons season seek self-care self-denial self-differentiation serve serving share shelter at home shepherds signs silence simple pleasures single dad single mom single parent sing sinking sink slowly smile sober social distancing social media soil solitude sonship soul care soul music spiritual disciplines spiritual health spiritual practices spirit spring stars starting point star stayathome still good stop and look up storm storytelling streams of water strength stress struggleisreal study success sudden suffering of Christ suffering summer support surrender take heart talking with kids teacher tears technology template thank God the truth is out there the truth will set you free the way the truth and the life theology thessalonians think thisistheday time tithe to be honest together traditions transformed transition trauma treasure tree of life trials trust and obey trust in the Lord trust truth turkey understanding unfailing love unity universe vacation vice president virtual voices volunteer vote vulnerable waiting waking up walk humbly we cannot go back weather wedding welcome welcoming prayer wisdom wise counsel woman at the well woman caught in adultery women pastors women wonder worry worship yield youmatter zoom