The psalmist praises God for being his salvation. The verses prior recount the many ways divine salvation has come. God has been the psalmist’s refuge, his strength and protection, and now his saving help. What astonishes is not that God has helped but that God has helped when situations looked impossible.
I suppose we look for help to come in certain ways. We want to be plucked out of our difficult circumstances, but often we receive strength in the midst of them. The psalmist calls to mind that the Lord’s salvation didn’t come as he would have thought. He uses the illustration of a stone that is rejected by builders. Perhaps it was too large. Or too small. Or not square enough. Thus, it sits on a pile, waiting for someone else to pick it up or toss aside. But in God’s perspective, that rejected stone becomes the cornerstone, thus anchoring the rest of the building. Jesus mentions this verse and refers to himself as that cornerstone.
These words from Psalm 118 remind us that the story we read isn’t the full story. What may look like captivity becomes an occasion for rescue. What looks like imperfection can become the foundation for the way forward. Verse 25 even recalls that while God has already rescued, our need for salvation is ongoing.
We are brought through our difficulty with words of praise on our lips. Perhaps that ability to praise God in the midst of our trials is the source of our salvation. We’ve got a story to tell. May it be the story of our salvation.

God, so often I feel the need of a savior. In the midst of my trouble, I recognize that you have already rescued me and you will do it again. Praise the Lord! Amen.

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Read Luke 21:5-19

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Lectionary Week
November 7–13, 2016
Scripture Overview

Isaiah 65:17-25 looks toward God’s creation of “new heavens and a new earth.” Jerusalem itself is not to be restored but created anew, a place in which life will be revered and protected and in which God will permit no harm to any of creation. The New Testament lessons remind us of the reality— the sometimes painful reality—of the present. Second Thessalo- nians 3:6-13 warns against the disorderly conduct of those who believe that the newness of the eschatological future permits them license in the present. Luke 21:5-19 adds an element of sobriety to the singing of new songs and the expectation of a new future. The faithful are called to bear witness to God’s future in the present, precisely when the new future cannot be seen and even when it seems most improbable.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Isaiah 65:17-25. How does the promise of the new heavens and new earth encourage to tell a new story?
• Read Psalm 118. Which story will you tell? The one of your captivity . . . or the one of your salvation?
• Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13. Where in your life do you need to be more disciplined so that you do not deceive yourself?
• Read Luke 21:5-19. What signs from God are you seeking instead of trusting in what you know about God’s character?

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