>As I sit in a cluttered office, feeling sorry for myself on Day 2 of some sort of stomach flu and dreading the negative 11 degrees forecast for tonight, it’s good to remove my mind from my messy home and trivial trials by reading Psalm 97.
This psalm lifts the reader’s thoughts from the narrow confines of one’s mind and transports them into global glory and heavenly heights.
The first verse sings of creation’s joy in God’s sovereignty:
The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
Verse 2 depicts righteousness and justice as twin pillars upholding God’s throne:
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Verses 3-7 convey God’s power in creation and against his enemies:
Fire goes before him
and burns up his adversaries all around.
His lightnings light 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 the peoples see his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
who make their boast in worthless idols;
worship him, all you gods!
When the people of the earth see God’s glory and majesty, they tremble and are put to shame. But believers rejoice in God’s judgments:
Zion hears and is glad,
and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgments, O LORD.
For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods (8-9).
God’s inevitable and impending judgment is a wake-up call for believers. They first must reject all the sin in their personal lives; then they are to trust God for deliverance from deadly peril and wicked persecution.
O you who love the LORD, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked (10).
Those who love the Lord and genuinely repent from their sin have hope for light and joy:
Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart (11).
We may not harvest the light and joy, but it is a reality because God plants it in our hearts. Even when we don’t feel happy or light-hearted, we can have true joy in our hearts by thanking God (verse 12).
Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!
We can thank God for his great gift of salvation. We can thank him for his sovereignty over all creation and all people. We can rejoice in the Lord when we meditate on his majesty evidenced in global glory and heavenly heights.