Tuesday, April 09, 2024

2024.04.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 117

Read Psalm 117

Questions from the from the Scripture text: With what command does Psalm 117:1 begin? Whom are they to praise? Who is being commanded? How many of them? What is the second command? Whom are they to magnify? Who is being commanded? How many of them? For which attribute of His in Psalm 117:2a? And what quality of that attribute? Toward whom? And which attribute of His in verse 2b? And what quality of that attribute? How does verse 2c conclude/summarize his psalm?

Who should praise YHWH and why? Psalm 117 prepares us for the opening portion of public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that all nations and all peoples should praise and magnify YHWH, especially for His covenant love and faithfulness.

The shortest Psalm, indeed the shortest chapter, in the Bible is a powerful and enduring command, “[y’all] Praise YHWH!”

All nations are being commanded to praise, and all peoples are being commanded to exalt. 

This is why all things existed in the first place, and why all things have ever happened: for His glory. All things are from Him and through Him and to Him. To Him be the glory forever, Amen!

But there is one great thing, and forever thing, that stands out as that for which the whole new creation will praise and magnify God forever and ever: His covenant relation to His people, and His covenant redemption of that people, in which His glorious character is most displayed.

Notice that although it is “all you Gentiles” and “all you peoples” who are being commanded to worship YHWH in Psalm 117:1, it is “toward us” that the gloriously great covenant love has occasioned this praise.

This reminds us of how the four living creatures in Revelation 5:8, and indubitably all of heaven as implied by the connection to Revelation 4:6–11, worship YHWH and/as the Lamb not only for His creating all things (Revelation 4:11) but especially for His redeeming the saints to God by His blood (Revelation 5:9) and for having completed the application of that redemption by making them kings and priests unto God (Revelation 5:10).

It is especially for the display of His glory in accomplishing and applying redemption that all creatures (and therefore all nations and all peoples) are to give to God everlasting praise. This would indeed be true even if He had only ever saved one tribe, one tongue, one people, and one nation. But, this pan-national praise is bolstered all the more, because the “us” in Psalm 117:2 is “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (cf. Revelation 5:9).

In redeeming the elect, the Lord highlights especially two of His attributes: His goodness (in covenant love) and truth (in covenant faithfulness). The covenant love in Psalm 117:2a and covenant faithfulness in verse 2b are the same two attributes in which He declares himself to abound in Exodus 34:6, and of which believers see Jesus to be full when they behold His glory (cf. John 1:14). 

Indeed, all of God’s glorious attributes always hold together. He is everything that He is in all of His infinite being; there are not any parts in God. But in the display of His glory to us, it is especially in His covenant mercy that He is pleased to display the riches/richness of that glory (cf. Romans 9:23). 

He is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in all of His attributes, and that comes out in Psalm 117:2. His covenant love is great (verse 2a), and indeed He is infinite in all of His attributes. His covenant faithfulness endures forever (verse 2b), and indeed His is eternal and unchangeable in all of His attributes.

And in response to this, all of His creatures will praise and magnify Him, increasingly, forever (verse 2c)!

How has God most displayed His covenant love? How/when do you most lay hold of this and respond to it? How has God most displayed His covenant faithfulness? How/when do you most lay hold of this and respond to it? In what other ways has He been displaying His love in your life? In what other ways has He been displaying His faithfulness in your life? How do you respond now? How will you respond forever? With whom else should you be looking forward to doing this?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You from our tribes and tongues and peoples and nations. We magnify You for the greatness of Your covenant love and the eternality of Your covenant faithfulness. In that love and faithfulness, help us by Your holy Spirit to praise You and magnify You through Christ, now and forever, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP117B “O All You Nations of the Earth” or TPH117B “Praise the LORD God, All You Nations”  

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