This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it. -Psalm 118:24
Thirteen years ago 19 men hijacked a few airplanes a blew a hole in the psyche of the Western world. We may not think of it this way, but in a sense, they claimed the day. For 13 years we have marked this day as the day we were attacked. It is a day when loved ones were taken from us. It is a day when a dark design was executed to great destruction and a historic, culture-shaping aftermath. It is a day, much like December 7th, that will live in infamy.
It’s also a day that still inspires fear. Many of us around the nation grow anxious at its approach. We wonder whether other men will choose to mark the occasion with similar violence, or an even worse attack that will eclipse the original. We avoid public places, possibly keeping our children at home, or simply go about our daily business with dark thoughts and breathe sighs of relief when the tense day closes.
My wife is one of those people. Last night I prayed with her about those fears. I prayed against the schemes of the Satan, the liar who would, just like every other cheap terrorist, use fear to control and oppress far beyond his actual power to threaten. I prayed against (and for) the dark hearts of wicked men. I prayed for the peace of God in the world and in her heart.
And as I prayed with her I was struck by the thought that, at core, I was praying against a lie. Through their terror, those men claimed one of the days the Lord had made as their own. They claimed ultimate authority, the power of life and death, and sought to stamp history with the mark of their ideology of annihilation. They said “this day is ours.”
But that is a lie, for this too is a day the Lord has made.
In the psalm quoted above, the Psalmist (possibly David) is speaking of the day when the Lord has vindicated him against his enemies and established him on his throne. In light of the Gospel we know it is ultimately about the victory of Jesus, “the stone the builders rejected” that has become the cornerstone (v. 22). Calvin comments that,
“Doubtless, all days were created alike by God, nevertheless David, by way of eminence, calls that the day of God which, after a long period of darkness, had dawned for the weal of the Church, because it was signalized by a notable event, deserving of being remembered by succeeding generations.”
Exegetically the text is singling out the day as the day the Lord has made, and yet it repays to consider the theological reality that “doubtless, all days were created by God.” Every day is a day that the Lord has made. He has crafted each with care. He is the Lord of History and every year, month, week, day, hour, and second of it is his and it is not for the taking. Indeed, it is his by virtue of creation, and once again by redemption. The cross and resurrection of the Christ is the Lord’s declaration that even history’s bleakest moments are not beyond the scope of his salvific purposes.
As I child I sang the Sunday school song based on the Davidic hymn quoted above:
This is the day, this is the day.
That the Lord has made, that the Lord has made.
We will rejoice, we will rejoice,
And be glad in it, and be glad in it.
This is the day that the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day, this is the day
That the Lord has made.
It was a happy song and it pleased me. It assured me that the world was good and pleasant and that I could live at peace int. And yet as a child I don’t remember ever pushing on to hear the next verse:
We are the sons, we are the sons,
Of the living God, of the living God.
We will rejoice, we will rejoice,
And be glad in Him, and be glad in Him.
We are the sons of the living God.
We will rejoice and be glad in Him.
We are the sons, we are the sons
Of the living God.
The reason we can rejoice and be glad in each day the Lord has made, is that we meet it as sons and daughters of the Living God who has promised to that whatever weal or woe we face will be worked “together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”, so that we may be conformed to the perfect image of his Son (Romans 8:28-29). We need not fear the day,
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
As we go about our days then, stop and rejoice, for this too is the day that the Lord has made.
Soli Deo Gloria