This is the Day

This is the Day

Author: Stan Guthrie
March 14, 2022

This Is the Day

Stan Guthrie

 Far too many of God’s people wake up with frowns. Their glasses half-empty, they can always find, like grim meteorologists, the dark cloud overshadowing every silver lining. “Sad hearts have peculiar skill in discovering the most disadvantageous point of view from which to gaze upon a trial,” Charles Spurgeon once wrote; “if there were only one slough in the world, they would soon be up to their necks in it.”

Far too often, I have been one of those people. A lot of this “look on the dark side” mentality comes from my natural melancholy. I have been told that I have an artist’s temperament, given to dramatic swings from the high to the low and back again. Some of it is a response to deep disappointments that have come my way, as a means of self-protection. If I assume the worst, I figure I won’t be hurt as much. Wherever it comes from, the truth is, this gloomy outlook doesn’t allow me to fully realize the main reason I have been created: “toglorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.”

But as I have increasingly sought with God’s help to better glorify and enjoy Him, I have begun meditating over a verse you’ll find in the middle of your Bible: Psalm 118:24.

This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Scholars of the Hebrew Scriptures suggest that this Psalm was given to the nation to celebrate God’s deliverance and blessing and was to be recited on a special festival day (“This is the day….”). The author (we don’t know who) recounts the Lord’s repeated rescues and calls the people to grateful worship. A repeated theme in the Psalm is “His steadfast love endures forever.” The Lord’s steadfast love is based on His covenant with Israel and will never be taken away. The Psalm is likely post-exilic, meaning it was written after the Jews were brought back to the Promised Land from among the nations and thus were able to worship again at the Temple in Jerusalem.

As I have ruminated on this verse, I have been struck by some encouraging applications. Let’s look at them using the words in the ESV translation:

This is the day. While Psalm 118 may have been directed originally for a specific day in Israel’s liturgical calendar, it is right and good for people of the gospel to employ its life-giving principles every day. The verse says we are to focus on today as Christians, “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” Yet we are not to be anxious for the future, for “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Our days will sometimes bring their share of pain and disappointment, but God’s grace is big enough to cover yesterday, today, and tomorrow. This is the day.

That the Lord. We serve the covenant-making and keeping God—the Lord. He is not the clockwork God of Deism, the “unknown god” of paganism, the unknowable Allah of Islam, or even the distant God mediated by innumerable saints and the Roman hierarchy. No, the Lord is our Shepherd, our Creator, and our Protector. The New Testament sheds even more glorious light. Our Lord is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, indwelling us and promising eternal life to all who believe. Abraham was the friend of God. We are His children.

Has made. The One who created the heavens and the earth, who calls all the stars by name, who created Adam from the dust, who numbers all the hairs on our heads, and who knows when a sparrow falls to the ground made this day. Today is no accident, whether it brings weal or woe. God is in control. It was lavished on us in the same way the Lord sent the ravens to provide bread and meat to his famished and depressed prophet. God made this day for us. Let us not waste His handiwork.

Let us rejoice. We are invited, not commanded, to rejoice—encouraged to do that which brings us the most happiness and Him the most honor. As John Piper has said, God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. The Christian faith, like the Jewish faith before it, is not to be lived in isolation. We are part of the body of Christ, where “if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” Joy is better when shared. With our spiritual brothers and sisters, we “Rejoice with those who rejoice, [and] weep with those who weep.” Yes, each day may bring trouble (perhaps much trouble), but there will always be something good from the Lord’s hand over which to rejoice. Let us find it, and “rejoice always,” come what may.

And be glad in it. Our joy should affect our mood, at least sometimes. Joy is not mere theory. It has practical implications—including spontaneous outbursts of gladness. Though not everyone has an effervescent personality, we all can share our gladness. Those who are glad can’t keep it to themselves. They exhibit cheerfulness, happiness, and gratitude. Religion has been falsely accused of making people sour and fearful. Yet those who are glad in their Lord practically glow with excitement. As Psalm 34:5 says, “Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

So, am I all the way there yet, exhibiting a life of joy and gladness in each day that my loving Lord crafts for me? The honest answer is “not yet,” but I do sense some halting steps in the right direction. And, with His help, I plan to keep going, even when life tries to get me off track.

A final caveat: Please don’t count this approach to each day as a meritorious work that you must do. Think of it as a gracious invitation to feast with Him at a banquet. All we need to do is show up hungry, waiting to be filled.

Our Lord’s ravens are ready to do just that—this day, and every day.


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