Psalm 117

Psalm 117 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence

This is not only the shortest psalm in the psalter but also the shortest chapter in all the Bible. It is a psalm of praise with one grand vision: that all the peoples, tribes and nations in the world would lift up their voices in praise unto the Lord, the God of Israel. This is not merely a wish on the part of the psalmist but rather a divine command of the Lord expressed through this prophetic Word. Because our God is the King of kings and Lord of lords, the only true God and maker of heaven and earth, his praise is expected and even demanded of every subject on earth not with mere lip service but with loud shouts of acclamation lifting up his name above all other names as the English word “extol” suggests.

Of course, for this to occur, every other religion would have to go by the wayside and every idolater would need to repent of his sin and turn to the Lord by faith in His Son Jesus. And this is exactly what the psalmist is proclaiming in faith that it is only a matter of time before all the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. This has been part of God’s plan all along even with the calling of Abraham in ancient times blessing him that he might be a blessing to all the nations on earth. The Gentile Church was never an afterthought but always an integral part of God’s plan. In Romans 15:11, the apostle Paul quotes this psalm in a string of Scriptural quotations to show that Christ came to earth as a servant not only to save his people Israel but also to show mercy to the Gentile nations.

Notice in v.2 of the psalm the reasons given for the peoples to praise the Lord. He mentions first God’s “steadfast love toward us,” meaning toward God’s chosen people. On the outside looking in, a Gentile can see that God’s blessings are upon his people, but the call is to have the Gentiles come into the fold of the Church and to praise the Lord for blessing “us” together. Then, second, he also mentions how “the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.” This term almost always has God’s covenant in mind seeking to show how God keeps his Word to his people, not only saving them, but helping, loving and keeping them to the end. We expect the people of Israel to praise the Lord for his love in this way, but it is astounding to hear the voices of pagans singing of the love of Jesus. Ultimately this is God’s purpose and plan for this world, to multiply all the peoples of the earth in order to magnify His praise among the nations. Even the thought of this great reality causes the psalmist to break out in a note of personal praise adding his voice to the ever augmented chorus. May we also add our voices to that chorus today rising this morning to praise the Lord!