Scripture reading – Psalm 117

The beauty and simplicity of today’s Scripture reading need little commentary. Psalm 117 is not only the briefest chapter of the Scriptures; it also falls, appropriately, at the center of the Bible.

The brevity of Psalm 117 has been a subject of conjecture among Bible students and scholars for many years. Some propose the two verses were an ancient doxology, sung by worshippers in the Temple and the synagogues at the close of a worship service. Others suggest the two verses were a closing thought to other psalms of worship (although I do not see the purpose that would have served). Whenever it might have been sung is not as important as the intent of the psalm: To sing “Hallelujah” to the LORD!

 

A Universal Call to Praise the LORD (Psalm 117:1)

Psalm 117:1 – “O praise the Lord, all ye nations: Praise him, all ye people.”

To “praise” is to boast, celebrate, and sing “Hallelujah.” The psalm opened with a universal call for all nations to join Israel in shouting praises to the LORD. Why? Because the God of heaven and creation is not only the God of Israel; He is the LORD of all nations and people.

The apostle Paul, in his letter to believers in Rome, quoted Psalm 117:1 and wrote, “10And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles [i.e., nations]; and laud [praise] him, all ye people” (Romans 15:10–11).

A Universal Cause to Praise the LORD (Psalm 117:2)

 

Psalm 117:2 – “2For his merciful kindness [goodness; favor; loving-kindness] is great [superior] toward us: And the truth [trustworthiness; faithfulness] of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord” (Psalm 117:2).

Psalm 117:2 states two reasons all nations should praise the LORD. First, the LORD deserves our adoration and praise because He is good, and His loving-kindness is infinite. Those who love the LORD will never have cause to be disappointed in His care.

Lastly, we should praise the LORD because “the truth of the LORD endureth for ever” (Psalm 117:2b). He is “truth.” Truth is the same forever, regardless of the culture, age, or day. Truth does not change with the whims of politics or religion. What was truth yesterday is truth today and tomorrow. What the LORD has said and declared is immutable, and His WORD is the final standard in everything.

Closing thoughts –

The truth of the LORD is eternal, and not one of His promises will fail. What He has covenanted and vowed to do, He does. Believing that the LORD is all He has revealed Himself to be, and He changes not, the psalm ended as it began, with no more to be said other than…

“Praise ye the Lord” (117:2).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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