Ep.249: Psalm 117: Small Psalm, Big Themes.

Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.

Psalm 117 is the middle chapter in the Bible, the shortest chapter, and the shortest psalm. It reads:
  Praise the Lord, all you nations,
    extol him, all you peoples, 
  For great is his love toward us,
    and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. 
(Ps 117:1-2).

I comment briefly on three big themes in this small psalm.

First, the God of Israel is affirmed as the God of all nations and all peoples. In many psalms, God is praised for the power of his kingship. But in this psalm, he is presented as the God who deserves praise from everyone. Worship, not world domination, is in view. 

Second, the reason for praising God is because of his love and faithfulness. The psalms address God as the fearful judge of individuals and nations, but they also remind him that he is also a God of love and compassion. They cite our reliable earth as a sign of God’s generosity: we count on the oceans to stop at the shore, on seasons to bring seedtime and harvest, on the sun and moon to mark day and night. The psalms encourage God to keep up the good work, and to extend his faithful  generosity to people: relieving poverty and distress, protecting in danger. Psalm 117 summarizes these themes by citing God’s great love and his enduring faithfulness. 

A third big theme, stated in the psalm’s final two words, is God’s relationship to time. His faithfulness endures forever. God provides an unending supply of goodwill. Not the partial and fickle goodwill we see in politicians and business leaders, not generosity prompted by election cycles and business cycles. God’s goodness is forever. 

Let’s pray. 

God of the nations, we praise you. 
– Not because the world is at peace, for it is not. 
– Not because rulers implement your plans, for they don’t. 
– Not because history moves in an orderly progression of empires and cultures, for it does not. 

We praise you as God of the nations by faith.
– Faith that you established Christ as your king and your judge
– Faith that though empires rise and fall, you watch and wait and supervise the outcomes.
– Faith that though the world does its worst, you are busy doing your best.
– Faith that creation’s groaning is but a temporary interlude in the rise of your kingdom.
– Faith that our praises invite your presence and work in the world. 

God of faithfulness, we praise you. 
– Not because you have worked out our lives to our satisfaction, but because you are working them out to your satisfaction. 
– Not because you have made our road smooth, but because you travel it with us.
– Not because we see an end to our problems, but because you know the end from the beginning, and you are preparing a hope and a future for us. 

O God of eternity, we praise you. 
– Because our short lives on earth participate in your eternal plan.
– Because you do not count our lives in minutes and hours, but in the honor we show you.
– Because our small loves are a shadow of your great love for us.

We praise you, God of the nations, God of faithfulness, God of eternity. Remember us as we remember you.


I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.

YouTube channel: Pray with Me – YouTube