Some passages of Scripture have a distinction that none others can claim. Some of these may be due to their topic, word choice, or length. In the case of the latter, Psalm 117 has the distinction of being the shortest chapter in the Bible. It is only five lines, or two verses in length. It reads,
Praise Yahweh, all you nations!Psalm 117:1-2
Extol him, all you peoples!
For his loving kindness is great toward us.
Yahweh’s faithfulness endures forever.
Near the end of August, I shared some thoughts on The Two Ways of Psalm 1. Now that we are coming to the close of 2019, I think tonight is a good time to return to this Book of Wisdom. I will explain why at the end of this post. The text of Psalm 117 focuses on two major ideas,
- Yahweh is worthy of praise
- He is kind and faithful
Let’s take a look at each of these.
Yahweh is Worthy of Praise
In verse one, the author of the psalm exhorts his readers to praise Yahweh. The second half of it also uses another word. That is “extol,” which means to praise enthusiastically. That is a great thing to remember. We shouldn’t praise God in a bored or rote manner. I expect that is an obvious thing to say, but we need to be engaged when we give glory to God.
Sometimes it is possible to praise God simply because we are used to doing so at certain times of the week. Being mindful of our thoughts and actions when we worship may help us to avoid that mistake.
The first verse also gives us the answer to a question some may have. That being, “Who should praise God?” The answer is simply all people. Everyone from every nation.
Such a statement help us recognize our need to praise the Almighty. Like the mention of praising God in a rote manner earlier, we should not view praising God as optional either.
He is Kind and Faithful
The second verse provides reasons for praise. Yahweh’s loving kindness is incredible. In the case of the Jewish people, we remember that,
- The Lord specifically called the Patriarch Abraham.
- His descendants grew and prospered just as He promised.
- He delivered the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery.
- He gave them food and water for 40 years in the wilderness.
- He fulfilled His promise of giving them a land in which to dwell.
These are only a few of the things He did for His people. Many more examples could be listed, but for our purposes I want to stress one key idea from the above.
Yahweh often spoke of certain promises, but did not actually fulfill them until years later. This was som etimes decades, or even centuries, after the fact. Despite this, He was always faithful. He always did what He declared earlier, even after people who heard Him died, and others forgot His truthfulness.
I think this is important to consider, especially as we enter a new year tomorrow. Throughout 2019, some of you may have felt separated from God. Others could have had moments of doubt while in the middle of troubles and trials. In such instances, we may wonder, “What is the purpose of praise?“
Such challenges may contribute toward moments of doubt in God’s faithfulness and kindness. We must resist such fears! God is not far from His people, and all can be a child of God through the Lord Jesus Christ! As you and I start 2020, seek to remember God’s kindness and faithfulness. He is truly worthy to be praised!
Praise From Scrabble by FotoRieth from Pixabay.