Scriptures

Psalm 97

Introduction

This psalm appears to continue on from the previous psalm, Psalm 98, which says that God is coming to judge the world. In this psalm, we find the psalmist reminded the righteous that they can rejoice at the judgement, especially those who have been oppressed by the wicked.

There is no heading for this psalm, so we don’t know who the author is, however, Jewish tradition accredits Psalms 90-100 to Moses. Other Psalms written by Moses are also found in Exodus 15, and in Deuteronomy 32.

‘The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all peoples see his glory.’ Psalm 97:1-6

The psalmist begins by reminding us that the Lord reigns, Psalm 96:10, and because God wasn’t only the God of Israel but of all the world and because He is control of everything, the earth should be glad and rejoice, Psalm 95 / Hebrews 1:3.

The psalmist remembers when God appeared to Israel in the form of dark cloud, Exodus 19:16-20 / Psalm 18:7-15 / Psalm 104:3 / Daniel 7:13 / Matthew 24:30 / Hebrews 12:29 / Revelation 1:7. Another reason why the earth can rejoice is because God’s throne is built upon righteousness and justice.

At Mount Sinai fire went before God and consumed His foes, at Sinai, lightening lit up the world, Exodus 19:16-21 / Deuteronomy 4:11 / Deuteronomy 5:23 / Psalm 77:18 / Psalm 104:32 / Habakkuk 3:6-10. These were all signs of God’s glory and that God was in their presence, the earth saw it and the result was trembling.

Although mountains are huge and look immovable, when in the presence of the Lord of all the earth, Joshua 3:11 / Joshua 3:13, they melt, like wax, in other words, they move out of the way when God is present and speaks, Judges 5:5 / Revelation 20:11 / Micah 1:4 / Nahum 1:5. The heavens proclaim God’s righteousness and everyone sees His glory, 1 Corinthians 15:52.

‘All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols worship him, all you gods! Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments, LORD. For you, LORD, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.’ Plasm 97:7-12

The psalmist now turns their attention to those who worship and boast about their idols, Isaiah 20:5. The psalmist tells them to turn to God and worship Him, Job 6:20 / Psalm 22:5 / Psalm 25:2 / Hebrews 1:6.

Although the whole earth rejoices in God’s righteous judgment, His people, that is, Zion and Judah will especially have a reason to rejoice.

God is Most High, so high, that He is to be exalted far above all other gods, Ephesians 1:21. The psalmist encourages God’s people to love the LORD but hate evil, Isaiah 1:16-20 / 1 John 5:2.

It is God who guards His people and it is God who delivers them from the hand of the wicked. In other words, because God comes to help His people, His people have a reason to rejoice, Daniel 3:16-17 / Daniel 3:24-25 / Daniel 6:18-23 / Romans 8:28 / 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Those who are righteous will rejoice in the Lord, not just because of who He is but also because His Name of holy, Proverbs 11:18.

Conclusion

The psalmist reminds us that the righteous will rejoice in the Lord and in the Lord only. Paul says the same thing over in Philippians 4:4-7.

I think worry is our greatest joy stealer. Now what is a worry? A worry is anything that’s draining your tank of joy. What am I supposed to do about worry? Well, Paul says two things.

1. ‘Remember the Lord is near’. Philippians 4:5.

Anxiety is usually caused by an uncertain future. But for the Christian the future has already been secured, we know what’s going to happen in the future.

And we can rejoice in our circumstances because our circumstances don’t have the final word, the Lord Jesus has the final word and He’s coming back soon. And worrying is going to start leaving you when you remember Jesus is coming.

2. ‘Pray’. Philippians 4:6.

If we spent the time praying, we spend worrying, we would have a lot less to worry about, Ephesians 6:18. I’ve noticed we do the exact opposite, the more we have to worry about, the less we pray. Here’s Paul’s prescription, ‘worry about nothing, pray about everything, and give thanks for it.’

Just the act of praying will help you with your worry but there’s something else that’s going to happen, God will bless us with peace, Philippians 4:7.

I can’t explain it, the Bible says, ‘It’s beyond understanding.’ But it’s God’s gift of a supernatural visitation to you to take away your worry.

Go To Psalm 98

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me"

2 Corinthians 12:9

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