“This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.” -Psm. 118.20-24
We would do well to commence each day with the vision that this psalm sets forth. It is so charged with the goodness of God that one can hardly finish it without breaking into praise and thanksgiving. It would be good to devote a few months to plumbing its depths, but for brevity’s sake, let us behold a few strokes on this remarkable canvas.
What is “the gate of the LORD?” We know not whether this refers to a literal entrance in the heavens, or if it is a symbol for the place of vital access to the living God, but we know one thing from verse 20. Whatever that gate is, “the righteous may enter” through it. Did you know that if you are “the righteous” before God, you “may enter” “the gate of the LORD?” Have you considered the reality of what this implies, as something greater and other than a nominal involvement in Christianity?
The implication established is that if the gate is “the gate of the LORD,” then He Himself is the One to be discovered and encountered upon entering through the doorway. Is there any other gate which holds this kind of significance? I may enter every great gate in the nations of the earth; gates that lead to awesome treasures; gates that give me access to Kings and potentates; gates that lead into the most stunning and beautiful gardens or museums. But if I fail to enter this gate I have lost everything.
If I am permitted to enter this gate, “the gate of the LORD,” I have no need to enter another, however royal or privileged it may appear. If God Himself has justified you, and called you righteous, who can prevent you from entering His gate? Can demons and wicked rulers? Can intimidating friends or cantankerous relatives? Can evil dictators? Is there anyone who can prevent you from entering the gate of the Lord if the One who owns the gate has Himself invited you to come in?
The psalmist breaks into thanksgiving in verse 21, “for you answered me; you have become my salvation.” Whoever this psalmist is, it appears that the prophetic Spirit has fallen upon him, for the whole psalm bears the delivery and nature of a holy, futuristic seer. Indeed, a handful of his statements were quoted in the New Testament in direct reference to Christ Himself. Could it be that the psalmist had entered into a vision of the Messiah, and the “gate” that His life embodies for Israel and the nations?
The psalmists would’ve prayed with the prophetic disposition; that is to say, they would’ve carried a cry that Judah as a nation would come into the righteousness and reality of priestly obedience and God-consciousness. Could it be that in their cries for Judah’s spiritual revival and deliverance the psalmist was granted a vision of the One who would “take away the sin of the world?” It is worth considering.
After declaring, “you have become my salvation,” he breaks into this prophetic statement in vv. 22-23:
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.”
Jesus quotes this passage about Himself in Matthew 21, and we are familiar with it for that reason. But have we become too familiar with it, and lost thereby the majesty of what this means? Is it still “marvelous in our eyes?”
I wonder if we, who possess the manifested history of the Messiah’s life, death, and resurrection, are rejoicing in His day as deeply as was this psalmist, who only had a cloudy vision and a moderate understanding of what he was seeing. So profound was his cry for Israel’s spiritual deliverance that this vision caused him to break into thanksgiving and rejoicing. He has seen the gate and the capstone, and was finally assured that one day his cries would be answered in a final and permanent way. The Man who was coming would be the final and decisive address of God Himself, who has spoken through His Son “in these last days.” (Heb. 1)
What the psalmist saw cloudily and in part, the apostles beheld open-faced in the Son of God. What he heard through the muffled inner-ears of prophetic intuition, the apostles listened to at length and with great clarity. What he felt inwardly by the moving of the Spirit, the apostles touched with their hands and embraced in warm experience.
Have we rejoiced in the great day of the “stone the builders rejected?” He has become the capstone which seals the love of God for us. He has become the gate through which we are declared righteous and by which we enter into a living communion with the Father of lights, the Ancient of Days, the Everlasting One. Remarkable Man! The gate! The capstone! Jesus the Messiah!
The LORD Himself “made” the day of His coming. O, how staggering and shocking is His great love, that He would make a day to come for us, though we have done nothing to deserve Him! No wonder the psalmist broke out into rejoicing, though he was only seeing in part. Where would we be if this day had never come?
“THIS is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Put off your gloomy mask, dear saint. It is not befitting the glory of the children of God. The “gate of the LORD” is wide open. Rejoice today in the finished work of the Son of God.