The Glorious God
Loving Father, I want to worship You and open myself to Your Word and will. Speak to me now through Your Word.
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 on the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous,
and praise his holy name.
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.
“His kingdom cannot fail, he rules o’er earth and heaven; the keys of death and hell are to our Jesus given. Lift up your heart, lift up your voice; rejoice” (Charles Wesley, 1707–1788).
There are many different kinds of psalms. Different psalms can be helpful in different circumstances. There are two main types: laments, which are really complaints and concentrate on human situations and how bad they can make us feel; and praise or thanksgiving psalms, which concentrate on God, who he is and what he has done. When we are feeling positive ourselves, praise psalms like this one give us the words to help us shout out our worship of God. Of course, sometimes we can feel so bad that we just can’t relate to the positive psalms and it is so helpful when the lament psalms remind us that others have felt the same way and it is OK to express negative feelings.
Even in the darkest times, however, it is good to remind ourselves that truths concerning God’s nature and actions remain true regardless of how we feel about ourselves, life in general or our difficult circumstances. The Lord does reign (1–6), he is king over the whole earth, even when natural disasters seem overwhelming and powerful groups or nations appear to be totally out of his control. The wicked will get their comeuppance and the righteous will receive life (verses 7–11), even if the timing of that is not what we would like or expect, as the nature of life is measured by eternal values and not those of this world. We may be finding it impossible to rejoice in our circumstances, but God remains God, and we are reminded in verse 12 that our rejoicing is “in the Lord,” not necessarily in the situations we see around us.
Make a list (best done when you are feeling positive) of truths about God’s sovereignty, love, justice and the eternal life he gives through Christ. Keep the list where you can read it whenever you are tempted to despair and forget who he is and what he has done.
Sovereign Lord, You are the author of life, the end toward which all creation moves, and yet above all else my Father. I praise and magnify Your glorious name.
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