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The Main Actor

The LORD has done this. Psalm 118:23

I once heard about a student taking a class in preaching at a prominent seminary. The student, a young man who was a bit full of himself, delivered his sermon with eloquence and evident passion. He sat down self-satisfied, and the professor paused a moment before responding. “That was a powerful sermon,” he said. “It was well organized and moving. The only problem is that God was not the subject of a single one of your sentences.”

The professor highlighted a problem all of us struggle with at times: We can talk as if we’re the primary actor (emphasizing what we do, what we say) when in truth God is the primary actor in life. We often profess that God is somehow generally “in charge,” but we act as if all the outcomes depend on us.

The Scriptures insist that God is the true subject of our lives, the true force. Even our necessary acts of faith are done “in the name of the LORD”—in the Lord’s power (Psalm 118:10–11). God enacts our salvation. God rescues us. God tends to our needs. “The LORD has done this” (v. 23).

So the pressure’s off. We don’t need to fret, compare, work with compulsive energy, or feed our many anxieties. God is in charge. We need only trust and follow His lead in obedience.

When are you most tempted to think you’re the main actor of your life? How has God invited you to let Him be the center of your life?

God, I’ve been paying lip service to You being in charge of my world. It’s exhausting, and I want to stop doing that. Help me trust You.


Psalm 118 is one of the Hallel (praise) psalms that were sung at feast times in ancient Israel. Additionally, however, this particular song of celebration also contains elements of a messianic psalm—anticipating Israel’s Messiah. In Matthew 21:9, at Christ’s “triumphal entry,” the people affirm Psalm 118:25–26, saying, “Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.” The Hebrew word hosanna, meaning “Lord, save us,” echoes this song on the lips of the people. And when confronting the religious leadership in Matthew 21:42, Jesus claims Psalm 118:22–23 to be self-descriptive by affirming, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” While used liturgically in Israel’s feasts, Psalm 118 itself anticipates the coming of the One who would fulfill the ultimate meaning of those feasts.

Bill Crowder

By |2019-10-03T07:53:28-04:00October 11th, 2019|
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