Psalm 118: 24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
This is a simple verse of thanksgiving, but it means a lot. I am the pastor Rejoice Lutheran Church in suburban Dallas, so this is a popular verse for us. I’ve heard it hundreds of times, to the point where I don’t really think about it much anymore. But as I read this verse today I see some new perspectives emerge.
This is the day that the Lord has made…
First, we don’t know what kind of day it is the psalmist is referring to. Is it a bad day? Is it a good day? The rest of the psalm would suggest it is, but perhaps not. Sometimes the most difficult times in life come after what appears to be great success or victory. I was recently reading about the flag flown over the island of Iwo Jima during WW2. It was a moment of great triumph and a much-needed shot in the arm for US marines – but there was a lot of fighting left to do. In fact, three of the men appearing in the photo above ultimately died on the island. Victory today, death tomorrow. It happens.
The only thing we know for sure about the day in our verse is that God made that day. And every day before or since. God ordains each day with his presence and the promise that God will be present with us, no matter what kind of day it might be. Then there is the second half of the psalm,
“Let us rejoice and be glad in it…”
Here is expressed a determination to rejoice and be glad – whatever a day brings. There are some people who manage to find what’s wrong in just about any situation. They are people whose first impulse is to complain. I’ll admit I can be a bit like that too. It’s hard not to cry out when you’re getting hit from all sides. Some days are just like that. Other days, of course, are wonderful.
But in our verse the psalmist makes no distinction. There’s not one posture for good days and another for bad days. There is simply the mindset to rejoice and be glad – no matter what. For whatever reason, that speaks to me today. Even on the most difficult of days I have so much to be thankful for. God has been good to me and those I love.
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Amen.