GOD’S CONCENTRATED LIGHT
You reign, O Lord, in all the earth. I rejoice in what You have done.
Read Psalm 97
1 The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3 Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.
4 His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all peoples see his glory.
7 All who worship images are put to shame,
those who boast in idols—
worship him, all you gods!
8 Zion hears and rejoices
and the villages of Judah are glad
because of your judgments, Lord.
9 For you, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
10 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.
11 Light shines[a] on the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous,
and praise his holy name.
a. Psalm 97:11 One Hebrew manuscript and ancient versions (see also 112:4); most Hebrew manuscripts Light is sown
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever made your own psalm of praise to God? Maybe give it a try today!
‘My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing that He cannot do’ (Ruth Harms-Calkin, Broadman Press/Nuggets Of Truth, 1959). For decades, children have sung this song of praise. This song echoes what the psalmist calls God’s people to do: gaze at all that God, the King, has done in creation and respond in praise. Notice how much light, power, and energy feature in this call, although not always. ‘Clouds and thick darkness’ (2) remind us of God’s presence as in the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19).
Light reappears in the last two verses, shifting the focus to individual righteous living, which produces further rejoicing. The NIV uses the word ‘shines,’ but a more accurate option would be ‘is sown.’ Reflect on this image of light concentrated into a seed planted in the soil of the faithful. Will the seed’s growth burst or seep out? This ‘seed’ of light will produce new life, moving those who strive to be righteous to rejoice in the Lord.
Paul reminds us that God, who created light out of darkness, has commanded light to shine in our hearts (2 Corinthians 4:6). We can rejoice not only in what God the King has done in creation, but even more that we actually know the ‘Light of the world’ (John 8:12).
Think of all that God has done for you. Rejoice and thank God now for His hand at work in your life.
May Your light shine out of me, Jesus, that all may see that I belong to You.
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