This Is the Day that the Lord Has Made! What If I’m Not Rejoicing?
Inside: This is the day that the Lord has made! But what if you’re not rejoicing in it? Is this wrong? What can you do to rejoice more?
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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24 ESV)
We learn this Bible verse early on, sing songs about it, and find it on pretty wall hangings! The psalmist compels us to rejoice! Every day? Even on bad days?
Let’s be honest: Do we really rejoice when the alarm clock goes off on Monday morning? Does our heart dance during times of grief, pain, or depression?
Yet there it is, in the Bible, in black and white. Darn. Now what?
Does it help you to know that this psalm was written for a special occasion, and the author did not rejoice every day? What a relief! So many times, we take verses out of context and then our thinking gets all twisted, because we or God are not living up to our expectations.
Psalm 118 was likely written by David when he finally defeated the Philistines and was seated as king of Israel. After years of hiding for his life from King Saul, David could rest, and he rejoiced at God’s provision for him and his people!
It is also possible that the psalm was written by a representative of the people during the Feast of Tabernacles, after the Israelites had been released from Babylon and the walls of Jerusalem had been rebuilt.
Either way, it was not an ordinary, grind-your-way-through-work or spilled-milk type of day!
So we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves for not rejoicing on days that tax our patience or challenge our resolve. Neither did David! But on this day that the Lord had made, it was time to rejoice! The construction of the wall was complete, or David was settled on the throne, which would also usher in the coming Messiah!
Let’s live guilt-free when we are not rejoicing for legitimate reasons!
Yet I would like to look at this from another angle: If we had a renewed perspective on all that God has given us, might we rejoice a little more? Would the alarm clock not seem so unwelcome, and would relational difficulties not turn our eyes from our Savior’s love for us?
In his book The Insanity of God, Nik Ripken shares a glimpse of what it is like to see things from a different perspective. Samira was a Muslim background believer witnessing a baptism of a family at a church in the States. We join the story as the baptism in an ordinary Christian church begins (pp. 320-321):
Samira tugged on the sleeve of my jacket. She whispered forcefully in my ear: “I cannot believe this! I cannot believe that I have lived long enough to see people being baptized in public. An entire family together! No one is shooting at them, no one is threatening them, no one will go to prison, no one will be tortured, no one will be killed. And they are being openly and freely baptized as a family! I never dreamed that God could do such things! I never believed that I would live to see a miracle like this.” . . . .
When she caught my eye she leaned toward me. “Why aren’t all the people standing?” she wanted to know.
“What do you mean?” I whispered back.
“Why aren’t all these people standing and cheering and clapping at such a miracle from God? I think that I am going to burst with joy! I think that I am going to shout!”
(You can order the book by clicking on the image above. It is riveting, challenging, and encouraging!)
It is all a matter of perspective! What we take for granted, another person might rejoice over!
Sometimes we miss that common events in our lives are cause for rejoicing:
- Perhaps your boss is a pain, but you have a job that pays the bills! Praise God!
- Are you wondering if you and your spouse will ever see eye-to-eye on a particular subject? What a blessing your spouse is in so many other ways. Remember how you met?
- For those of us with a lingering winter: Wishing spring were here? Thank God that the seasons do change and that warm, sunny days truly are around the corner! (I will admit it: I will rejoice more when that comes to pass!)
With the context that all things this side of heaven are not perfect and with the perspective that what we have is pretty darn good compared to what it could be, yes, let’s rejoice!
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!
What can you rejoice in today?
Digging Deeper: This Is the Day that the Lord Has Made!
If you’d like to spend more time with the Lord today, consider these questions:
1. Let God know how you are feeling. I am very sensitive to the fact that some of you reading this have legitimate reasons to not rejoice today. That is OK! I encourage you to page through the book of Psalms and perhaps land on one psalm that you read all the way through. Notice that David often laments in one verse and praises in the very next verse! God created us with emotions, and He understands them all.
2. Read Psalm 118 and use the prompts below to apply it to your own life. I have linked to it in Bible Gateway, but you might want to use your own Bible.
- Verse 1: What is an example that proves God’s steadfast love in your life?
- Verses 5 and 6: Where do you feel distressed or fear in your life? Ask God to set you free from those anxieties!
- Verses 8 and 9: Is there an area in your life in which you need to take refuge in the Lord rather than trust in people?
- Verses 14 and 15: “The LORD is my strength and my song”–praise Jesus as you read these verses!
- Verse 22: See the Extra Info below! So cool.
- Verse 25: What do you need saving from? Or who in your life needs to be saved? Where do you need success? Ask God to provide, according to His will.
- Close by reading verses 28 and 29 aloud:
28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
29 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Praise and Worship
“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24 ESV). I would like to end that verse with an exclamation point and add music notes for a graphic! Listen to or sing with these songs as you wish, today or over the course of the week:
Resurrection Power, lyric video (Chris Tomlin). You can also watch the official music video.
O Come to the Altar (Elevation Worship)
Just for fun: This Is the Day sung by children. I was surprised to see that this song is still sung, and it is sung around the world. I found videos of children singing it in the UK, India, Kenya, and in the Philippines (sung in Tagalog)!
God’s Word is so magnificent! Later verses in Psalm 118 point to Jesus. Even the Jewish people saw this psalm as foreshadowing the Messiah. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, which we commemorate on Palm Sunday, the people lined the road with their coats and palm branches and shouted verse 26 (ESV):
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!”
Jesus quoted verses 22 and 23 when he confirmed that he was the stone the builders rejected–our true cornerstone! See Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10-11, and Luke 20:17.
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
(Matthew 21:42 ESV)