Skip to main content

Psalm 117 & 118

Since Psalm 119 is very long, the longest in the entire book, I want to save it for tomorrow and focus on that one psalm for the day. Then the day after, we can begin the psalms of ascent with 120.

Psalm 117, by contrast to 119, is one of the shortest psalms, if not the shortest. It is another invitation to join the psalmist in praise. In fact, this invitation goes out to all nations and all peoples. Thus, there is the clear suggestion, that not just Israel, but all nations, all peoples, can praise the Lord.

However, it gets even better than this. After inviting all the nations, all people, to join him in praising the Lord, the psalmist gives us all a reason to praise God. “For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.”

What an inclusive vision! God loves everyone! Clearly, the “us” in verse 2 refers to all the nations, to all peoples. God loves everyone…no exceptions. This means that God loves people of every creed, of every nation, of every race, of every color, of every sexual orientation, of every gender, tall, short, fat, skinny, God loves every type of person, every person you can think of, every person who has ever existed, is living now, or will live in the future. This is just as sweeping a statement of the love of God for all people as what we have in John 3:16.

As if that was not good enough, the writer of Psalm 118 makes the statement even more expansive. “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!” God’s love is not only for everyone, it is also for all time; God’s love for us is never ending! There is nothing we can do that will make God love us any less and there is nothing we can do that will make God love us any more because God’s love for us is already perfect.

Furthermore, just in case we did not get the message the first time, the psalmist repeats it four more times: God’s steadfast love endures forever. The Psalmist invites Israel to make this confession of faith. He invites the house of Aaron, the priests and Levites, to make this confession. Furthermore, he invites all who fear the Lord to make this confession.

The things we voice with our own mouths often have greater power for us than the platitudes voiced by others. Therefore, I invite you today to voice these words throughout the day until they get ingrained in your mind, in your heart, in your soul: God’s steadfast love for me endures forever.

Sometimes we have a hard time believing this. It is often easier for some of us to believe that God loves everyone else but us. Perhaps this is the case because every one of us experiences rejection at some time in our lives. Therefore, we assume that God, if he really knew us, would reject us too.

When we are feeling rejected, I think it is good to remember that Jesus also experienced rejection. Psalm 118:22 was picked up by the first Christians and applied to Jesus: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” If you want to see how much rejection Jesus experienced, just read the Gospels. He experienced it from the beginning of his life (no room for him in the inn) all the way through to a bloody end on the cross.

However, as we know, that was not the end of the story. If the accounts in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament are true, God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus experienced rejection so that we would never have to know the rejection of God. He was raised to new life so that we might know a life of love that will never end.

The bottom line is: God loves us, you and me. God loves us in our excellence and in our imperfections. God loves us in our joys and in our sorrows. God loves us in our true-blueness and our quirkiness. God loves us in our moments of wholeness, however few, and in the long stretches of our fractured living where we choose less than the best for ourselves. God loves you and me right now, regardless of what we are getting right or wrong, and his love will see us through forever.

I hope you will accept this truth for yourself today and every day. Embrace it. Revel in it. Steep yourself in the love of God. God’s love changes everything, maybe not all at once, but over a lifetime.

And even if you don’t accept God’s love for you today, or even believe in his existence, that does not change the fact that God does exist, and that God does love you, now and always.

If you want to learn more about the love of God, I have a whole book on the topic. You can read more about that here:


Popular posts from this blog

C. S. Lewis on Homosexuality

Arthur Greeves
In light of recent developments in the United States on the issue of gay marriage, I thought it would be interesting to revisit what C. S. Lewis thought about homosexuality. Lewis, who died in 1963, never wrote about same-sex marriage, but he did write, occasionally, about the topic of homosexuality in general. In the following I am quoting from my book, Mere Theology: A Guide to the Thought of C. S. Lewis. For detailed references and footnotes, you may obtain a copy from Amazon, your local library, or by clicking on the book cover at the right....
In Surprised by Joy, Lewis claimed that homosexuality was a vice to which he was never tempted and that he found opaque to the imagination. For this reason he refused to say anything too strongly against the pederasty that he encountered at Malvern College, where he attended school from the age of fifteen to sixteen. Lewis did not rate pederasty as the greatest evil of the school because he felt the cruelty displayed at Malver…

A Prayer at Ground Zero

Christmas Day Thought from Henri Nouwen

"I keep thinking about the Christmas scene that Anthony arranged under the altar. This probably is the most meaningful "crib" I have ever seen. Three small woodcarved figures made in India: a poor woman, a poor man, and a small child between them. The carving is simple, nearly primitive. No eyes, no ears, no mouths, just the contours of the faces. The figures are smaller than a human hand - nearly too small to attract attention at all.
"But then - a beam of light shines on the three figures and projects large shadows on the wall of the sanctuary. That says it all. The light thrown on the smallness of Mary, Joseph, and the Child projects them as large, hopeful shadows against the walls of our life and our world.
"While looking at the intimate scene we already see the first outlines of the majesty and glory they represent. While witnessing the most human of human events, I see the majesty of God appearing on the horizon of my existence. While being moved by the ge…

Sheldon Vanauken Remembered

A good crowd gathered at the White Hart Cafe in Lynchburg, Virginia on Saturday, February 7 for a powerpoint presentation I gave on the life and work of Sheldon Vanauken. Van, as he was known to family and friends, was best known as the author of A Severe Mercy, the autobiography of his love relationship with his wife Jean "Davy" Palmer Davis.

While living in Oxford, England in the early 1950's, Van and Davy came to faith in Christ through the influence of C. S. Lewis. Van was a professor of history and English literature at Lynchburg College from 1948 until his retirement around 1980. A Severe Mercy tells the story of Davy's death from a mysterious liver ailment in 1955 and Van's subsequent dealing with grief. Van himself died from cancer in 1996.

It was my privilege to know Van for a brief period of time during the last year of his life. However, present at the White Hart on February 7 were some who knew Van far better than I did--Floyd Newman, one of Van's…

Fact, Faith, Feeling

"Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods 'where to get off', you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith." Mere Christianity

Many years ago, when I was a young Christian, I remember seeing the graphic illustration above of what C. S. Lewis has, here, so eloquen…

C. S. Lewis Tour--London

The final two days of our C. S. Lewis Tour of Ireland & England were spent in London. Upon our arrival we enjoyed a panoramic tour of the city that included Westminster Abbey. A number of our tour participants chose to tour the inside of the Abbey where they were able to view the new C. S. Lewis plaque in Poets' Corner.

Though London was not one of Lewis' favorite places to visit, there are a number of locations associated with him. One which I have noted in my new book, In the Footsteps of C. S. Lewis, is Endsleigh Palace Hospital (25 Gordon Street, London) where Lewis recovered from his wounds received during the First World War....

Not too far away from this location is King's College, part of the University of London, located on the Strand, just off the River Thames. This is the location where Lewis gave the annual commemoration oration entitled The Inner Ring on 14 December 1944....

C. S. Lewis occasionally attended theatrical events in London. One of his favorites w…

C. S. Lewis on Church Attendance

A friend's blog written yesterday ( got me thinking about C. S. Lewis's experience of the church. I wrote this in a comment on Wes Robert's blog:
It is interesting to note that C. S. Lewis attended the same small church for over thirty years. The experience was nothing spectacular on a weekly basis. For most of those years Lewis didn't care much for the sermons; he even sat behind a pillar so that the priest would not see the expression on his face. He attended the service without music because he so disliked hymns. And he left right after holy communion was served probably because he didn't like to engage in small talk with other parishioners after the service. But that life-long obedience in the same direction shaped Lewis in a way that nothing else could.
Lewis was once asked, "Is attendance at a place of worship or membership with a Christian community necessary to a Christian way of life?"
His answer was as follows: &q…

C. S. Lewis's Parish Church

The first time I visited Oxford, in 1982, the porter at Magdalen College didn't even recognize the name--C. S. Lewis. I had asked him if he could give me directions to Lewis's former home in Headington Quarry. Obviously, he could not and did not. (Directions to Lewis's former home are now much easier to obtain. Just click here for directions and to arrange a tour: The Kilns.)
Things have changed a lot since 1982. Now Lewis is remembered all around Oxford. At the pub where the Inklings met, at Magdalen College, and not least--at his parish church--Holy Trinity Headington Quarry. The first time I visited the church I only saw the outside and Lewis's grave, shared with his brother Warnie.
Since that first visit I have returned to Holy Trinity a number of times and worshiped there. Father Tom Honey is a real gem. Under his leadership the congregation has grown and now includes a number of young families. I was overwhelmed by the number of children who came into the sanctuary…

A Christmas Psalm

Psalm 110
The Lord says to my Lord:
"Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet."

The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion;
you will rule in the midst of your enemies.
Your troops will be willing on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy majesty,
from the womb of the dawn
you will receive the dew of your youth.

The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
"You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek."

The Lord is at your right hand;
he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
He will drink from a brook beside the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms,
Chapter XII, paragraphs 4 & 5:

"We find in our Prayer Books that Psalm 110 is one of those appointed for Christmas Day. We may at first be surprised by this. There is nothing in it about peace and good-will, nothing remotely sugg…