Psalm Chapter 97

(Unless otherwise cited the scriptural references in these devotionals are from the King James Version of the Bible found on http://www.Biblegateway.com – Public Domain edition.)

Context

This hymn of praise calls on the whole world, to worship the one true God. See verse9. It identifies God as the people’s Righteous and Just King, Creator, Lord, and Savior. As their King He will destroy the enemies of His people and rescue them.

My Lord reigns

1 The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.

The psalmist begins the psalm with an announcement of the reign of YHWH. The phrase “The Lord Reigns” is one that is repeated many times in the psalms. See Psalms 47:8; 93:1; 96:10; 99:1; Rev. 19:6. It eludes to the numerous peoples who live on “isles.” It just identifies the people groups all over the world. See Isa. 42:10; Dan. 2:34-35, 44; Zech. 14:9 for comparative texts. Verses 2 and 3 references the Exodus events and the time of the end when Christ will return to claim this earth (Exodus 19:16-18; Joel 2:2; Zeph. 1:15; Matt. 24:29-30; Zach 14:12). Verse 4 describes the events of Revelation 4:5 “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and [there were] seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” And also, Matthew 28:3 “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:”

Verse 5 could be speaking figuratively or literally. See Isa. 40:3-5; Zech. 14:4, 10. Verse 6 talks about humanity’s comprehension of who and what Christ is when they see the fullness of His glory. Before Christ returns, this world’s sins will bring about the near destruction to the whole earth. When Christ returns, it will be restored to the order that existed when it was first created. The precision of the entire universe speaks of His great righteousness and creative wisdom.

This awesome God serves the interest of righteousness and justice, which are metaphorically pictured as the foundation of his throne (v. 2; see also Ps. 89:14). According to Proverbs 16:12, referring to human kings, ‘Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness.’

Longman 2014, 345.

Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.

Idols are just that, idols. They are not YHWH. So, anyone who worships anything or anyone other than YHWH is just foolish (Isa. 44). According to Longman, the psalmist used a wordplay on idols (’ĕlîlîm) and gods (’ĕlōhîm), to command the little “g” gods to worship the YHWH (346).

I exalt you oh God

Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O Lord. For thou, Lord, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods. 10 Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. 11 Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. 12 Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

Verse 8 talks about the messianic Kingdom of Christ. The psalmist explains why the gods should worship YHWH (verse 7). YHWH alone exalted far above all gods (see verse 9). Those who worship YHWH the God of Zion and Judah’s people, rejoice because YHWH is the God of righteous judgment.

He judges the enemies of his people save them from their wicked hands. He also brings joy to His righteous people. One of the most joyful experiences for believers is worshipping the Lord. Either in song, by feasting on His Word, or fellowshipping with other believers. Thus, the psalmist calls on them to join in worshipping the Lord, the imagine of the invisible God. It is important for us to remember that Jesus Christ is not just the God of Judah. He is the Creator of everything and everyone, will rule over His creation. We should be rejoicing in Him right now as a remembrance of His holiness. We will be doing so forever, and ever.

References

Longman, Tremper, III. Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary, InterVarsity Press, 2014. Google Books.

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