TEXT: PSALM 117
OBSERVE: Psalm 117 is the shortest of all the songs of the book, indeed, the shortest chapter in the Bible. In this psalm, we observe a call for all nations to praise the Lord as we remember his ever-enduring faithfulness.
INTERPRET: This hymn calls on everyone to worship the Lord who demonstrates perpetual love and faithfulness towards his people – divine characteristics promised by the covenant applied here to all people on earth. During the Old Testament period, we hear of a number of people from the nations (Ruth, Naaman, Uriah the Hittite), who joined Israel in their praise of God.
In the New Testament, the Gentiles join the Jewish people in their praise of God through Jesus Christ. Speaking of Jesus, Paul says:
“God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2: 9-11).
Paul also cites the first verse of this psalm (see Romans 15:11), along with three other passages from the Old Testament to urge Jewish Christians to accept the inclusion of Gentiles.
APPLICATION: Including others who are not like us is still something that the church struggles with. Often, we can resist including others for cultural reasons, sometimes we resist to include others for socio-economic reasons and sometimes we even look to exclude others because of their worship style. At times we seem to do everything we can, to avoid praising God alongside our fellow brothers and sisters.
Psalm 117 may be short and simple, but that is precisely how simple praise of Jesus should be. We are to praise our wonderful and faithful God as one body, while always looking for ways to include outsiders.
PRAYER: Faithful Lord; help me to praise you in unison with all your faithful believers. May you shape my praise, so that I may draw others to praise you. AMEN.
SONG: Praises from Every Nation
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.