Psalm 117 Commentary
What could possibly be the message if a man was asked to say stuff in just two lines? Let’s find out from psalm 117. It is the shortest chapter in the entire holy script.
First is one loud call to everyone to praise the LORD. It is a call to worship the one true God of Israel. The message is targeted at the nations. But why the nations and not just all peoples?
Back in the day, each nation had its own god. During the days of the great prophet Samuel, the Philistines worshiped a god called dagon. These gods were often represented by idols that men and women manufactured at some factory. They could even be stolen if the neighboring nation thought of your god as being more powerful than theirs.
They were thought to possess the power to cause harm to one’s enemies while offering all sorts of fortunes for the owner.
The psalmist is making this grand announcement to all the nations with this kind of understanding in mind. Only one LORD God exists. Let everyone praise Him!
And why not? His love for us is great. Probably the ‘us’ might mean everyone inclusive of the nations. The countless gods that existed and probably still exist under all sorts of guises could be blamed for many things. Love isn’t one of them. Only the Creator God truly possesses true love for humanity. He is the creator of humanity.
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103 verses 13 and 14.
The rest are ‘hired servants’. They won’t take care of the sheep. They promote their own agenda. But the LORD’s love and faithfulness stays on forever.
It is a call to humanity to examine these truths and decide for Jesus. He loves humanity as His one and the only agenda behind the gospel. Psalm 117 would therefore summarize the message of the entire Bible as it presents the love of God in the call for restoration.
If nations possessed gods then, individuals possess gods today. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They may have many fancy terms to hide the ugliness of deception that they trade. They may be sugar-coated, painted in fake gold, or probably even have an appearance of goodness when, as everyone knows, it is all emptiness – a chase after wind.
This grand announcement to praise the LORD has a hidden message to the nations to abandon their gods. Let humanity examine these gods. Then probably, and this is the psalmist’s prayer, they can declare together with the saved: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
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