God has provided us with His Word that we might know Him and praise Him. Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter of the Bible, yet it is packed with God-glorifying wisdom, truth, and comfort. Let’s take a look at it!
Psalm 117 (ESV)
1 Praise Yahweh, all nations! Extol him, all peoples!
2 For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of Yahweh endures forever.
You will notice I have replaced “the LORD” with Yahweh. This is a practice I have implemented in my reading and memorization. It really makes a difference when recalling a verse from memory or listening audibly as someone reads the Word to you. 1
Just Do It
I am going to beat this drum until the day I day if the Lord wills, but scripture memory is supremely important. Psalm 117 is a wonderful place to start or add to your pile you’ve already memorized. Why?
Psalm 117 is short. Short enough to learn, but once you’ve memorized it you can actually say you’ve memorized an entire chapter of the Bible. Maybe this will motivate you to memorize another helpful chapter!
Psalm 117 is repetitive, (Praise Yahweh), making it easier to remember.
Psalm 117 is full of biblical truth for the weary soul, God-honoring revelation for the soul who has sinned, and a language of praise for the Christian who desires to exalt Jesus Christ at any time! Hide these two verses in your heart, dear saint.
This chapter begins and ends with the phrase “Praise Yahweh!” Wrapped inside these blocks are reasons to praise Him, but how often do you read a psalm and sorta skip past the “Selah” or “Praise Yahweh” parts?
I know I have done that. That is what happens when you are reading to check reading off your list, as opposed to reading because of hunger and thirst for God (as the deer pants…Ps 42:1). So let’s get excited about this great God we serve. A God who not only is full of steadfast love, enduring faithfulness, and forgiveness but a God who is worthy of praise for these attributes.
The Psalm actually says that all nations and all peoples ought to praise Him! There is something about this great God that is praiseworthy, even from His enemies (since we know not all are elect)!
Yes, only Christians will truly praise Him for blood-bought salvation by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. But God’s command is for ALL nations and ALL peoples to praise Him. He is owed praise independent of what He has done. That is to say, God is owed praise because of who He is, essentially.
So all men everywhere are commanded to repent of sin and turn to Christ, (Acts 17:30); and in that same fashion, all men everywhere are commanded to praise Him! We should be so bold as to even tell our unsaved family, friends, and neighbors that they owe God praise (along with sharing the life-giving gospel with them).
Yahweh has steadfast love that endures the insult of our sin. His love is so great that He came as a man (or sent His Son if you think of Yahweh as the Father) to die a death that we deserved on the cross (Romans 5:6), so then He would rise three days later and forgive all those who believe in His name (John 11:25-26).
Not only does God offer His own righteousness to sinful men through imputation, the experience of every Christian is that this wonderful God also patiently bears with him or her in love as he or she continually stumbles in the Christian life.
It is already supremely humbling to find that we are totally depraved and incapable of goodness, so God had to swoop down and save us despite ourselves. But how much more humbling is it that we still live in seasons of sin and stumbling until we die (1 John 1:8,10) and God continues to love us and give us grace? Truly, His love is eternal and unchanging (because it is based on our status in Christ, and not our works). His love and mercy are altogether praiseworthy!
And His faithfulness endures forever. Amen. Meditate on that for a second! God will never do anything contradictory to His perfect nature. He IS goodness. He IS truth. So we can trust Him implicitly to always do right and never lie. Not only can God not do anything wrong, but we also ought not even to consider the possibility. So when Jesus promises He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5), or that no one can snatch His elect out of His or the Father’s hands (John 10:28-29), we can count on that!
Conquer the Enemy
Dear Christian—you may be weary or downtrodden today. It may be other Christians are giving you a hard time, or maybe enemies of the cross have worn you out. Maybe it’s family struggles: a wayward son or a prodigal daughter. Maybe you are suffering due to an unfaithful spouse! You may have sinned and are feeling regret and guilt before a holy God!
God is still there, steadfastly loving His elect, faithful to the end, and a prescription for your difficulty is to praise Him! The devil wants you to focus on your circumstances and question God’s love toward you or His faithfulness to complete the good work He started in you (Philippians 1:6; Ephesians 2:10). But God has already conquered the devil (1 John 3:7), rest in that.
If you have not submitted your life to the Lord Jesus Christ through faith in Him and want to do so now, there may never be another day to do so! Be quick about it, and we’d love to hear about it!
Now go back through this post and read the bold subheadings (starting with Just Do It) altogether! Pretty cool, huh?
To hear me speak to brother Ryan Akers on the Simmering Thoughts podcast on the topic of faithfulness, click here.
1 Here are two articles to assist you in understanding this important discipline.