This is the Day...
Updated: May 23, 2019
"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." ~Psalm 118:24
We hear this verse by itself a lot.
We hear people sing it in a song, or say it to someone else who's looking a little mopey. We mutter it under our breath when the baby's crying, a pot's boiling over, and we've just dropped an entire plate of spaghetti on the floor. It's almost a way of saying, "I hate this day, I can't handle it, but I'm supposed to have a good attitude. So I'm going to put on a smile and remind myself that I should be happy right now, because God put me in this situation!" We also see this verse plastered over breathtaking photos of God's creation and made into cute little fridge magnets. The mistaken and dangerous notion that crops up is, "cheer up, because God's creation is pretty to look at. Check out this sunrise or those daisies. Now, don't you feel better? Every day is a great day, simply because God made it."
Yeah, that'll cheer you right up. Or not.
It's true that every day is a day that God has made. And it's also true that we are told to be glad when trials come our way… not necessarily "glad" to be going through them, but glad that God is using them to make us more like Jesus. But some days we just don't feel like rejoicing and being glad. Nobody feels glad when they lose their job, their marriage, or their child. Nobody felt like rejoicing when our country was attacked and thousands of innocent people died fiery deaths in the World Trade Center towers. Especially since Scripture is clear that there is "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance," is this verse really saying that we're required daily to rejoice and be glad?
I don't think so.
If you get out your Hebrew dictionary (because everybody's got one), and look up this little word for "made," you'll see the meaning it was trying to get across: "accomplished." This is the day the Lord has accomplished? That sounds a bit bigger than just making a day happen. It sounds like he was busy… but doing what? Let's back up and read it again, only with the four verses that come before it:
This is the gate of the LORD;
the righteous shall enter through it.
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 LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Did you catch it? Did you figure out what day we're actually celebrating?
If you're still waking up, I'll help you out. Think about this part… "This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it." The gate? THE Gate? As in the gate mentioned in John 10:9?
"I [Jesus] am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved."
Now consider the next part… "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." THE Cornerstone? As in, the cornerstone mentioned all over the Bible, such as in Acts 4:11?
"This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone."
This Psalm is all about Jesus saving us!
Jesus is the gate, the only way to God. He is our cornerstone. He answers our prayers. The day he made us righteous by giving us his righteousness, the day he became our salvation… that really WAS marvelous! What a staggering accomplishment on his part! That's something worth rejoicing over!
So even though those days will come when you're stuck in situations that make you feel hopeless, you don't have to try to fake happiness in the midst of those times. Because you have something better instead, something truly worth celebrating… the day the Lord accomplished your rescue. Let us rejoice and be glad in THAT!