09 Jan THIS IS THE YEAR
This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
“This is the day the Lord has made.” What a great thought. Each and every day is an opportunity, a gift from God. I love that this verse says, “THIS is the day.” Not just good days, sunny days, weekends or days that your team wins their NFL playoff game, but this day. Every day. Seven days a week. We have 365 days this year to rejoice and be glad in. As we stand at the starting line of a new year, I’d like to apply this passage in Psalm 118 to the year ahead: This is the YEAR the Lord has made. This is the year! Let me offer three reasons, all taken from Psalm 118, to believe that that this is the year. May these thoughts serve to increase your faith!
“His love endures forever.” This refrain shows up five times in Psalm 118, as if God knows how quick we are to forget or doubt his love. Let me remind you that no matter how you may have botched 2016, God still loves you. Never forget that the greatest thing you have is the love of your Father in heaven. Now I know that many of you are thinking, “Yes, thanks David, I know that God loves me.” But consider this: no matter how much you think you understand God’s love, no matter how long you’ve been a Christian, no matter how great you know and believe God’s love to be, I have news for you: It’s a lot bigger! You and I have barely begun to understand how vast God’s enduring love is for us. The Psalmist says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.” See what he’s doing here? He is lining up his thinking with the truth. He is getting in agreement with God and claiming God’s goodness and love. Get this into your heart: God is good, his intentions toward you are good, and his heart toward you is love. The original deception from Satan in the Garden was meant to cause man to question God’s intentions toward us, to think God is holding out on us. But Jeremiah says He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you. This is the year because His love endures forever.
“In the name of the Lord I cut them off.” David uses this phrase three times in Psalm 118 to declare that God has allowed him to defeat his enemies. Just because we believe, by faith, that “this is the year”, does not mean we will be unopposed. 2017 will be a year of victory but it will not be a walk in the park. We were opposed last year; we’ll be opposed this year and the next. Peter tells us in I Peter 5, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him.” The biggest thing standing in our way is often our old self that Satan will use to try and take us down. But in Christ, we have the ability to cut sin off! What do you need to cut off this year? Your anger or impatience? Your sexual impurity or lust… your cable or internet connection?! Or perhaps you need to cut off the baggage of unforgiveness that you’ve been carrying around. What is it going to be for you? Praise be to God that in Christ we are not stuck in the old self! This is the year to cut some things off in the name of the Lord.
“O Lord, grant us success.” After the famous line declaring, “this is the day the Lord has made”, the very next verse speaks of asking God to grant us success. When we join together and pray by faith, God will answer and grant us success. But if we are problem focused rather than prayer focused, our faith diminishes along with our probability of success. Go read Psalm 118 in its entirety and see how David magnified his God rather than his obstacles. We need to pray big, bold prayers in 2017. In the story of the persistent widow (and many others as well), Jesus invites us to ask boldly in prayer and to keep on asking. We need to pray for success in our careers, success in our homes, success for our churches. But more than anything, we need to see more success in saving souls. “The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine upon us” (Psalm 118:27). We are made to shine! How will you and your family shine this year? Who will you study the Bible with? This is the year to let your light shine. May God grant us success.
In verse 22, we find a prophetic line that is twice applied to Jesus in the New Testament: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” The ultimate DAY we wait for is the day of Christ’s return. That will be a day of rejoicing, indeed! Let us pray together that 2017 will be the year that Jesus returns to set all things right in our world. Come, Lord Jesus. May this be the year!