Have you ever had a nagging question about a passage in scripture? I read a post from a friend the other day from Psalm 118. The portion I am referring to is the part that says, “This is the day that the Lord has made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it.” My friend passionately exclaimed that we must be glad today no matter what we are facing because God created it, and He doesn’t make anything bad. This seemed to bother me for several reasons. If we are disobedient, HaShem tells us exactly what our days will be like and they are anything but joyful. But perhaps, if we are obedient? Yes, what if we are righteous and blameless? Could it still be a day we loathed and prayed to die in? The Bible explains that Job was blameless and upright, but he was doing anything but rejoicing after the death of his children and the other circumstances that transpired.
Job 3:1-4 “After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed his birthday:
(v.2) And Job continued and said,
(v.3) Let the day perish in which I was born, and the night that said, a manchild is conceived.
(v.4) Let that day be darkness. Let not God regard it from above. Let not the light shine upon it.”
When he first received the horrific news and even the death of his children, the Bible says he went and worshipped, but that is not the same as rejoicing, that’s more a falling on one’s face and submitting, surrendering, and waiting.
Having been raised in a Sunday morning church, I often heard a song that mimicked this passage in Psalms 118. Not only was it a song often sung, but it was a greeting.
“This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it! This is the day, this is the day that the Looooorrrrd haaas maaaade!”
It seemed like the meaning behind the song and verse was about having a positive attitude each day and especially the day you showed up at “church.” It was a mindset that seemed to say, “Our God has created all our days so we should rejoice and be glad!” But was there more going on here? Was the day they were celebrating in Psalms 118 a set apart day? A unique day? Because after all, Ecclesiastes says,
“Grief is better than laughter, for sadness can improve a person. The thoughts of the wise are in the house of mourning, but the thoughts of fools are in the house of pleasure..” 7:3-4 CJB.
So are we to rejoice every day no matter what? The next verse is in total opposition as well. Let’s look at it closely.
For everything there is a season, a right time for every intention under heaven — … a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” Ecclesiastes 3:4-5.
If I were to keep posting scriptures on reasons for being sad and down cast, I could find many; even Jesus/ Yeshua wept. There must be more about this one day they are rejoicing in?
So let’s wrap this up with the original question, what day had Adonai made that they were to rejoice and be glad in? There is seven major Feast and Psalms chapter 118 is recited at all the Biblical Feast days except Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement. The Hallel, also known as the Egyptian Hallel, is a unit of six Psalms that are sung only during the joyous Feast, like Passover, the Feast of Dedication and Sukkot. The Last supper was during Passover or Pesach and when we read in Matthew we see from scripture that Yeshua and his men, more than likely, sang the Hallel or Psalms 113-118 passages.
“Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Matthew 26:27-30. During my research on this topic, I also found out that chapter 36 of Psalms is known as the Great Hallel. The following information comes from Net Bible dictionary.
“Praise, the name given to the group of Psalms 113-118, which are preeminently psalms of praise. It is called “The Egyptian Hallel,” because it was chanted in the temple whilst the Passover lambs were being slain. It was chanted also on other festival occasions, as at Pentecost, the feast of Tabernacles, and the Feast of Dedication. The Levites, standing before the altar, chanted it verse by verse, the people responding by repeating the verses or by intoned hallelujahs. It was also chanted in private families at the feast of Passover. This was probably the hymn which our Saviour and his disciples sung at the conclusion of the Passover supper kept by them in the upper room at Jerusalem (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26).
There is also another group called, “The Great Hallel,” comprehending Psalms 118-136, which was recited on the first evening at the Passover supper and on occasions of great joy.”
Further in my studies, I found some other information about this day that the Lord had made, when it was recited and when it was not. As I mentioned earlier, it is not recited during Rosh Hashanah or the Day of Atonement. But why? The Talmud and other writings explain.
Arachin 10b): “Is it seemly for the King to be sitting on His Throne of Judgment with the Books of Life and Death open before Him, and for the people to sing joyful praises to Him?” Since Rosh Hashanah is the day of Judgement with a capital J, we will be filled with Awe and a fear that exceeds trembling.
R. Abahu said, “Said the angels before God, Lord of the Universe, why does Israel fail to utter song before you during Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur? He replied, When the King sits on the throne of judgment and the books of life and death are before him, can Israel utter song?”
This whole passage from Psalms 118 are the same words that the people spoke over Jesus-Yeshua as he rode on a humble colt in through the gate, the same gate he will return through. This chapter in Psalms 118 is about the stone the builders rejected. They were laying down their palm branches. Let’s read more from Psalms 118.
“Open the gates of righteousness for me; I will enter them and thank Yah. 20 This is the gate of Adonai; the righteous can enter it. 21 I am thanking you because you answered me; you became my salvation.
22 The very rock that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone! 23 This has come from Adonai, and in our eyes it is amazing. 24 This is the day Adonai has made, a day for us to rejoice and be glad.
25 Please, Adonai! Save us! Please, Adonai! Rescue us! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of Adonai. We bless you from the house of Adonai.” Psalms 118:20-26 CJB.
The next information comes from yeshuahamashiach.org,
“The Water Ceremony”
“During the time of Yeshua, the high point of the Sukkot celebration was the “drawing of water” ceremony when the people called upon the Lord to provide heavenly waters for their next harvest season. This was a very grand event that was full of much pomp and drama. It reached its peak on the last day of Sukkot called “Hoshannah Rabbah”. Accompanied by throngs of chanting worshippers and flutists, the Levitical priests went to the pool of Siloam near the temple mount. There he filled a golden pitcher with water and returned to the temple. The crowd entered through the Water Gate that was named for this ceremony. The choir and the worshippers began chanting the words of Psalm 118 called the “Hallel”, or praise psalm. (as in “Beth Hallel“, house of praise)
The holy Feast day Sukkot is pure joy. It represents the day He will dwell among us.
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell [tabernacle] with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3)
I hope you found this information interesting.
photo taken from “Myjewishlearning.”