Psalm 117 – The Why Is In God

by | Jul 9, 2020


Praise the Lord, all nations! Glorify him, all peoples! For his faithful love to us is great; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Hallelujah! (Psalms 117:1-2)

This little psalm packs a punch! It’s actually the shortest psalm of the Psalms, and yet its depth is mind-blowing. Now think for a moment about what this psalmist is instructing in 117:1—“Praise the Lord, all nations! Glorify him, all peoples!” The writer is telling not only Israel, but the entire world, every single nation to praise and glorify this person called the LORD (“YHWH”). Imagine if you never heard or knew who this YHWH was, and then you were told to praise and glorify him. What do you think your next thought would be? Maybe a bit of defensiveness would rise up, and bursting out of your mouth you’d ask—“And why should I?”

“Why should I?” This is actually an important question in life for what we do. One of the incredible things about the Scriptures is that it pretty much never commands us to do something without a reason for it. God doesn’t want our mindless obedience. And yes, many times he will call us to trust him even when we don’t understand what he’s doing, but that’s not mechanical. Whenever God instructs us to do something, the answer is always found in something he’s already done.

So what’s the “why” for this universal call to praise? In Ephesians 2:11-22, Paul writes to the Ephesian Church (people from all kinds of nations). And he tells them about how Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection actually “tore down the dividing wall of hostility” that separated Jews and Gentiles (all nations) from fellowship together and worshiping the one true God. Likewise, our psalmist called the entire world to praise YHWH, because he foresaw that day coming, when YHWH would do something incredible to make his command possible. The reason for all nations to praise God is found in the next verse “For his faithful love to us is great; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.” There’s your why. A similar why is also found in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world in this way (“for his faithful love to us is great”): He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” So why should all nations praise this God named YHWH? Because he gave his one and only Son for them, and that is the greatest proof that his love to you endures forever and ever.

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