"The Lord is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me? The Lord is for me among those who help me . The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone" (Ps. 118:6-7, 22).
The Book of Psalms was the songbook in use for worshippers during our Lord's lifetime. Many of those great hymns every Jew knew by heart, and Jesus would've been no different (of course, He knew them all on a much different level, too). We see this in the way He so easily dropped in lines and insights from them throughout His ministry of preaching and teaching.
Jesus' wonderful teachings on His being the Good Shepherd tie right in with the 23rd Psalm. That psalm ends with "I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever," which dovetails with the opening verses of John 14 ("In my Father's house ").
Psalm 118 is one of those rich deposits from which we can mine a fortune. Take verses 6 and 7. "The Lord is for me" is stated, then repeated. The Apostle Paul picks up on that line in Romans 8:31. Bear in mind that Paul has just spent the last 30 verses of that chapter establishing that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit are all with us. When He says, "If God is for us, who can be against us?," He was actually saying "since God is for us."
Hebrews 13:5-6 picks up on 118:6 also. The writer there wanted God's people to be free from greed and worry over money. After all, "The Lord is with us" and "He is my Helper; what can man do to me?"
When our Lord was nearing the final days of His earthly ministry, He quoted 118:22 to the chief priests and elders in the temple. In Matthew 21:42, He asked them, "Did you never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; This came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?" He went on to add, "Therefore, the kingdom will be taken from you and given to a nation that will produce fruit from it" and "He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but on whomever it falls it will scatter him like dust."
Give the religious big-shots credit. "They understood He was talking about them" (21:45). They got it.
The Old Testament is a book of illustrations of New Testament teachings, true. But it is far more than this. It is the foundation for everything taught in the New.
Those young in the faith do not need to go too quickly into the Old, but to stay with the New Testament until they are well grounded. Then, and only then, should they go into the Old and see how it forms the basis for all they have in Christ. If they do this right, they will fall in love with the Old Testament.
Joe McKeever is a retired Southern Baptist pastor from New Orleans, Louisiana. He blogs regularly at www.joemckeever.com.