“I Shall Not Die, But LIVE, and Declare the Works of the LORD” Psalm 118:17

We live in trying times. Our religious freedoms are slowly being diminished and our right to speak of the ways of the LORD GOD are being eroded like the cliffs on the sea. The stone foundation of our nations are no longer secure as the enemies of Salvation reach out to strangle us. In the nations that once declared Christ as Supreme in their laws now find ways to say that Christ is irreverent and out of step with social progress and stifle our voice.

The media, the press and the law makers, all find ways to silence our right to speak of God’s Law and the Promise of Christ. They make mockery of our Faith and our fortitude, our resolve to stay faithful to the ways of righteousness. In these difficult and aggravating times I turn to Psalm 118 for comfort. From the opening verses of this procession hymn to the very last there is the song of Hope and Jubilation.

“Let Israel say,(that is the Nation)
His steadfast Love endures forever.
Let the house of Arron say, (The leaders of the churches)
His steadfast Love endures forever.
Let those who fear the LORD say, (Those who are faithful to God)
His steadfast Love endures forever.”
Psalm 118:2-4

When the world turns against us, we are to rejoice in the blessings of the Most High God. As a society, we are to declare God’s enduring love for us. Our priests, pastors and spiritual leaders are to live His Holy Name up. And we as the congregation of Christ, are to sing praises of His Salvation. As we are surrounded by the trials of the world, we are to rely on God and the Law of His Loving-kindness to see us through. We are His eternally and our life with him is forever. As a nation, as a priesthood of believers and as a congregation of love, we are to retain an attitude of praise to the Creator.

Psalm 118:5-7 says in part, “the LORD is on my side,…I shall look in triumph…” Nothing the world throws at true believers will sway them from the pleasure that God provides. Verse 8 tells us, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” With God on our side, the side that is surrounded with Righteousness, godly service, purity of body and spirit and abounding love for one another, how can the wicked ever prevail against our souls? The bodies we wear are of the world, made of flesh and bone. The homes we live in are of brick, wood and mortar. None of these things will last, they are of the world but we are not of the world, our souls are of heavenly things. Although the world may seem to triumph over us, that victory is short lived.

Every were we go, we are surrounded by the sinful nature of man. Wickedness and sin penetrate our workplaces, our schools and our homes (through the media). Even our churches seem to buckle under the weight of sin as leaders lead adulterous lives, condone homosexuality and extort poor people with false promises of prosperity. Yet under this barrage of ungodliness those who live in the rightness of God’s pure Law stand strong. Because we know that the true life began with Christ Jesus and is assured by the promise of the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 1:3-14), we are held in the “Bosom of Abraham” and shall rest in the palm of His Hand.

We know that “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.” (Psalm 118:17). With the grace of God and our desire to live wholly and honestly in His Ways, we are already triumphant. As we see our brothers and sisters tormented and slaughtered in strange lands, we are confident that they are victorious by their Faith. As we see our ideals of faith weakened and dismissed by permissive courts under false notions that we have a duty to protect the sinful, we remain strong. When the final battle is waged, God will send the man with the writing case (Jesus) to place the mark of salvation on our foreheads and none pf the wicked shall withstand his harsh judgement (Read Ezekiel 9:1-11). We are always to adhere to His ways, His Words and His Love. “The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep Your words. …When I think on my ways, my feet turn to Your Testimonies.” (Psalm 119:57,59). In order to walk in the victory to the heavenly temple of the Most High, we are to keep our souls right with Him. Often I stress this little preached fact. Only those who obey God truly love Him. Only those who live to serve God in righteous living, are counted as the redeemed. To say Lord, I believe and not live in belief is to lie to God and deny salvation. Even Satan believes in God!

To get back on track, Psalm 118:19 and following tell us, “OPEN the gates of RIGHEOUSNESS, that I may enter through them…I thank You that You have answered me and have become my salvation.” And, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing…” (see Matthew 21:42-44; Acts 4:10-12; and 1 Peter 2:4-8). Jesus is the foundation stone that the Kingdom of God is built on. Through Him we walk in triumph over the true enemy of our souls. “Let us be glad and rejoice in it!” Are you living in triumph or are you coasting along on the seas of despair? Are you building on the foundation of Christ or are you stumbling over it? Are you singing praises to God’s Glory with thanksgiving or are you moaning on the wayside, lost and dejected? It is the time now to say with an open heart, filled with gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon us, “You are my God,and I will give thanks to You. You are my God; I will extol You. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures FOREVER!” (Psalm 118:28-29

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