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Rejoice in What Day?

by Thor Ramsey

Venture to say, we’re all probably familiar with the verse “this is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” It’s one of the coffee mug verses that gets batted around the evangelical subculture. And here’s the problem with being familiar with popularized Bible verses — we take them out of context and they lose their greater meaning.

How is this verse most often understood? That we should be thankful for today, because God made it. Yes. True. But that’s not what this particular verse is asking us to rejoice in and be thankful for.

Let's look at it in context:

Psalm 118:22-24

22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.

23 This is the Lord's doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.

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

If we go back just two verses, we find another familiar verse: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Jesus used this verse to refer to Himself, saying that He is the foundation of our faith. And the next verse tells us that this is the Lord’s doing. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus are the Lord’s doing. The gospel is marvelous in our eyes!

This is the day the Lord has made — this day of being able to declare that you are accepted by God not on the basis of your works, not on the basis of your knowing more than the next person, not on the basis of anything other than the life, death and resurrection of Jesus on your behalf — this day, the day Christ died, the day He rose again — God has made this day!

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

One of the things we've been learning in this study is to go to Scripture and ask, "What is this teaching me about God?" Instead of beginning with, "How can apply this to my life?" When we begin this verse with application we're left with "I should be thankful for today." Again, that's good and true. But when we ask, "What is this teaching me about God?" it becomes much richer. We see that He's a God who planned this particular day of Christ's atonement for us to rejoice in. It wasn't just any day He wanted us to rejoice in, but the Day of Atonement.

Being thankful that God has given you another day to live is a good thing. Being thankful for the day Christ died for you and rose again for your justification is an even better thing!

Okay, on three. We can all sing it now (at least if you were a young adult during the 80s):

This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made,
let us rejoice, let us rejoice and be glad in it. (repeat)

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