Giving attention to … Psalm 118. We must pay much closer attention!

In much Biblical and ancient literature, the center of a document, poem, or essay is where we should look for the main point. So … do you know the center verse of the entire Bible?! Did you know that the longest and shortest chapters in the Bible surround that same text? Did you know that Israel closed their most important feast each year singing its themes? When the crowds applied the words of that same chapter to Jesus, they set in motion a series of judgments which led to His crucifixion five days later. The thoughts of the same chapter were on the mind of our Lord as He went out to die. But in fact ~ to be saved forever ~ you must agree with the simple truths found in that same brief text. Are you somewhat interested?!
Psalm 118 is between the shortest chapter (Psalm 117) and the longest (Psalm 119). The Bible’s center verse is Psalm 118:8 ~ It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. Passover feasts for centuries included the singing of Psalms 113-118, closing with 118, so its themes were on Jesus’ mind and lips as they sang a hymn, and left for the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus quoted Psalm 118 at the end of His long diatribe against the scribes and the Pharisees in Matthew 23, answering for them the great question: How can hypocrites escape God’s judgment of hell? When the Palm Sunday crowd chanted: “Hosanna!” (Matthew 21:9), they were quoting Psalm 118:25 (Save us now, O Lord)! So for these five reasons and many more, we must pay much closer attention to Psalm 118, and so to the Lord Jesus!
The scribes in Matthew 21:15 demanded that Jesus shut up the little children as they praised Him, referred to Him as “Lord,” and pleaded for His salvation. This is a bit disguised to us by the word “Hosanna” … but the anger of Jesus’ judges indicates how they were hearing it (and notice that Jesus did not correct any mistaken understanding there). No, Jesus received their praise, even though only God can save: Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (quoting Psalm 118:25-26). Jesus refused to quiet the children, claiming in a sense that it was impossible, because it was so fundamentally true that even the stones would cry out the same thing! And at the end of Jesus’ anti-hypocrisy sermon, His application? The only way for hypocrites and sinners of all kinds to escape hell is to cry out the same thing that the kids were saying, while looking at Jesus: Save us now, O Lord! Blessed is He who comes in the Lord’s name … with God’s approval … the One who is pleasing to His Father.
So once Jesus takes our minds back there into this ancient worship song … Psalm 118:15-16 makes much of God’s strong Right Hand (where the Lord Jesus Christ is sitting/standing/serving today). In Psalm 118:17-18, the Singer expresses confidence that He will live to tell of the Lord’s great works, even though He was under God’s chastening discipline. Psalm 118:19-20 refers to the Gate of or from the Lord, through which the righteous must enter (or maybe the very act and process of entering through that Gate makes us righteous?)! Psalm 118:22-23 is about a Stone the builders cast aside, but then the Chief Architect gives it a different evaluation, establishing this rejected Rock as the chief Cornerstone of all His great work. Psalm 118:27 refers to festal sacrifices, and Psalm 118:1,29 opens and closes this song with words of thanksgiving to the Lord for His everlasting mercy. But whence comes mercy for sinners?! Do you see?