In this season of Epiphany, where we celebrate that Jesus has come, read Psalm 118, and ask yourself, “What difference does this make to me?”
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 2 Let Israel say: His love endures forever. 3 Let the house of Aaron say: His love endures forever. 4 Let those who fear the Lord say: His love endures forever. 5 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. 6 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? 7 The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. 9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. 10 All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. 11 They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. 12 They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down. 13 I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. 14 The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. 15 Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: The Lords right hand has done mighty things! 16 The Lords right hand is lifted high; the Lords right hand has done mighty things! 17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. 18 The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. 19 Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. 21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. 22 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 23 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. 25 Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. 27 The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine on us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. 29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
For me, the point of this Psalm is simple. The Lord is victorious, and for us. He is the source of deliverance. Yet in the midst of this WE (like those in the passage) may feel surrounded by enemies, enemies of uncertainty, enemies of fear. We may even feel defeated, hopeless.
A Psalm like this speaks to the reality at play. When we are worrying and concerned about the things around us, our brains go to places, and create scenarios that are not healthy. But, the reality is that the places my brain goes in the face of uncertainty are not reality. They are not the end and conclusion of the matter. What is true and life giving is the truth of Epiphany, the truth that our messiah has come. He is here, with us, among us. He is strong and capable, and we can trust in messiah to defeat our foes. We can trust that He will diffuse the cloud of uncertainty and bring us home to wholeness.
This is life giving because we can have faith that our hardships and fear are not the end. Even if we are facing decline in our lives, or even death, that is not the end. Because of Jesus, we will be made whole. Because Jesus rose to life, after His crucifixion, we will follow Him into wholeness and life eternal, as we confess Him as Lord. Because of Jesus, the clouds of uncertainty are not the ultimate reality. Because of Jesus our hardships and fear are not the conclusion and end. We can trust that He will diffuse the cloud of uncertainty and bring us home to wholeness. The Lord is victorious, and He is with us.