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Psalm 97

June 4, 2009

This also continues with the same themes of Psalms 95 and 96, praising God for who He is. This psalm is split in two parts; the first part through verse 7 speaks about God’s character and, beginning with verse 8, we read about Israel’s response.

The psalm begins with a strong statement of praise because the Lord reigns. He is in control giving reason to be glad. Even lands other than Israel should rejoice. And I see no reason why the term ‘distant shores” couldn’t also be defined as the heavens. God, who is righteous and just, sits on His throne surrounded by clouds and darkness. We can not see Him but He is there. If we were to see Him we would be blinded by His glory and majesty. God reigns and consumes His foes. His power is seen in storms and earthquakes. His righteousness and glory are proclaimed in all His creation, particularly in the heavens. Men are fools to worship idols as gods.

Israel, particularly Judah, is glad. They have seen the deeds of God and His judgment upon their enemies. God is greater and more powerful than those of the Canaanites living among them. [Remember Elijah on Mt. Carmel?] We are to love the Lord and hate evil because God protects the faithful. Faithfulness brings forth recognition and joy. Rejoice in the Lord and praise His Name forever.

Interestingly, these last five verses seem to correspond to Elijah’s life. The Lord was exalted over Baal on Mt. Carmel and the Lord kept Elijah from being killed by Ahab and Jezebel. Elijah was known as a man of God whose ministry challenged the actions of the wicked and who established schools for prophets later on in his life. Don’t be a fool. Acknowledge God who is on His throne and is sovereign over all His creation. Praise His Name. Love Him. And let the Lord protect you and keep you. Look forward to seeing Him face to face in all His glory and majesty.

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