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Reading:                                         Psalm 118

(Verses 1-7)

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Let Israel say:
“His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
“His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the L
ORD say:
“His love endures forever.”

 When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD;
he brought me into a spacious place.
The L
ORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
The L
ORD is with me; he is my helper.
I look in triumph on my enemies
(NIV).

Reflection

Psalm 118 is a psalm of thanksgiving and triumph, over adversaries and adversity. Many of the enemies we encounter have no human face; instead they are life circumstances, worldly thinking, or schemes hatched in hell. We all have struggles and obstacles that we must overcome. The good news found in this psalm is that God is on our side. When we surrender to the LORD, we join the winning side. Then we can join the psalmist in this declaration: The LORD is with me; he is my helper.

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A winter walk in the park — photo by David Kitz

This psalm begins and ends with this statement: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. From ancient times this psalm was likely used in public worship. It may well have been used in a kind of call and response with the priest calling or singing out, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,” while the congregation answers back, “his love endures forever.”

I think at various times we all have experienced the truth of the following words: When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD. If you have prepared for a semester-ending-round-of-exams, you know all about being hard pressed. If you have a crucial work deadline, you know all about being hard pressed. If you have spent countless days and hours preparing for a special event, you know all about being hard pressed. Life is full of hard-pressed moments. How we respond in those stressful situations is crucial to our development as citizens of earth and heaven.

In those high pressure moments have you learned to cry out to the LORD? Have you experienced His help? Have you come out the other side as a stronger, more courageous person because you faced your fears? When you called out to God did He bring you through to victory? If the answer is yes, let these words become your response: He brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Response: Father God, I am facing some deadlines. You are my helper, LORD. I call out to you. I want to triumph over the obstacles I face. I thank you in advance for the victory. Amen.

Your Turn: Has God helped you in a high pressure situation? I would love to hear about your victory.