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Weds 10 November - Psalm 97

Psalm 97

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
    let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
    righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
    and consumes his foes on every side.
His lightning lights 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 peoples see his glory.

All who worship images are put to shame,
    those who boast in idols—
    worship him, all you gods!

Zion hears and rejoices
    and the villages of Judah are glad
    because of your judgments, Lord.
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.

- - -

Meditation on Psalm 97

Stop for a while and look around the world today. What do we read about or hear from all the media sources that are available to us?

Covid-19 Brexit War Violence Famine Earthquakes

Volcanoes Persecution       Disease         Political instability

Refugees and Migrants Other emergencies You could add to the list…

Then go round the world and see some of the places that are affected – just to name a few and not in any particular order:

Afghanistan South China Sea disputes North Korea Iran Iraq

Syria Venezuela Lebanon Egypt Ukraine

Turkey and the Armed Kurdish groups Mexico     Israel and Palestine         Nigeria

India and Pakistan Libya           Yemen     Central African Republic     South Sudan

Democratic Republic of Congo Rohingya Christians in Myanmar   Al-Shabbat in Somalia


What a mess … what tragedies … BUT … 

Psalm 47:2,7,8,9b ‘For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth… For God is the King of all the earth… GOD REIGNS over the nations… for the kings of the earth belong to God.’  

Psalm 93:1 ‘The LORD REIGNS…’

Psalm 99:1 ‘The LORD REIGNS…’

Psalm 102:12 ‘But you, O LORD sit enthroned forever…’

Back to our Psalm.


‘The LORD REIGNS, let the earth be glad.’

Really? You may ask. It doesn’t seem like it at the moment. But we hang on in our trust and faith that God is in control. 

Isaiah reminds us of this in 40:21-22   

Isn’t this the lesson that Nebuchadnezzar had to learn? Daniel 4:34-37

Psalm 97:2-6 OUR GOD IS HOLY

These verses remind us of the time when God appeared to Moses – cf Exodus19:9-19 ‘clouds and thick darkness.’

‘Fire’ speaks of God’s judgment on the nations.

‘lightning’ speaks of God’s all-seeing eye as it ‘lights up the world.’

‘the mountains melt like wax’ speak of the frailty of the earth without God’s control and ‘the earth trembles’.

And yet, in the midst of all this, the Psalmist shows us the hope we can have in God.

‘Let the earth be glad, let the distant shores rejoice.’

‘Righteousness and justice are the foundations of His throne.’

‘The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory.’

As we noted in Psalm 90:2 ‘From everlasting to everlasting you are God.’

In the midst of all that is going on around the world, what a wonderful assurance to know that there is a God in heaven who is sovereign, who is in complete control, who can be trusted and who has made Himself known in His Son, Jesus. ‘He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all.’

Psalm 97:7 and 9b OUR GOD IS UNIQUE

As we go back through the Old Testament we remind ourselves of the ‘gods’ that people had and worshipped, even the people of God. Just one example - Exodus 32.

In spite of the people getting the Ten Commandments, the second of which is “you shall have no other gods before me” – they forced Aaron to ‘make us gods who will go before us.’

The Psalmist says, all who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols.’

There’s a hint or irony as he says, ‘worship Him, all you gods.’ He then gives the reason, you LORD are the Most High over all the earth, you are exalted far above all gods.’

Psalm 97:10-12 OUR GOD IS FAITHFUL

Our challenge is ‘to hate evil, to be faithful, to rejoice in the LORD, to praise His holy name.’

How does He respond?


  • guards
  • delivers
  • shines His light on us


‘Our God is a faithful God and He holds us in His hands.’

- - -  

(Roger Purdom) 


New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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