As this psalm ends, it returns to the themes with which it begins. Its rich imagery confidently declares the central truths of Scripture that has inspired musicians and writers across the ages. Though rejected, God has become the chief cornerstone of salvation, the psalmist declares. “This is the day the LORD has made,” and “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD,” and “his steadfast love endures forever” (vv. 22, 24, 26, 29).
Verse 24 is the chorus that I sang in Vacation Bible School and during Youth Camp, and its page is well worn in many hymnals. Almost every time I sing this with a group, we divide into two so that each line can be echoed. When you sing your assigned part, standing is required. The song ends with both parts in unison and all singers on their feet together, declaring that this day belongs to God.
This is the day the LORD has made is a profound declaration, yet the Common English Bible translation offers another layer to its depth of meaning. It renders that first line: This is the day the LORD acted.
That nuance clarifies the message of this section of the psalm: God’s actions have changed the course of history. God decisively acts through Christ Jesus. Salvation has come and forever changed our lives. God’s decisive act in Christ changes everything!
The magnitude of a gift that changes everything is hard to comprehend, especially when we did not earn or deserve such a gift. So may we take our cues from the psalmist, giving praise and taking assurance that God’s actions on our behalf make clear that God’s “steadfast love endures forever” (v. 29).
When has God acted decisively in your life? How have you said thank you? Christ-followers can make a significant difference for others. What gift might you offer someone else?
God, for the joy of Easter we give thanks. For those whose lives are gifts to ours and for those whose lives could be gifted by our own, we are grateful. Empower us to receive and to give gracefully. Amen.