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Friday, June 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 97

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-12

The Messiah the King of the Whole Earth.

There can be no doubt that the superscription of this psalm in Luther's Bible, "Of Christ and His Kingdom," is correct, that it is Jehovah, the second person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, of whom the inspired singer speaks.

v. 1. The Lord reigneth, Jehovah is King, the almighty Ruler in His threefold kingdom; let the earth rejoice, Psalms 96:11; let the multitude of isles, the many seacoasts, as the representatives of the heathen world, be glad thereof. The far coasts of the Mediterranean Sea were often used as a figure of the entire inhabited world, and this verse, therefore, is one of the great missionary texts of the Old Testament.

v. 2. Clouds and darkness are round about Him, that is, His essence and attributes are so wonderful and mysterious, as to make Him appear clothed in cloud and darkness, through which the human eye cannot penetrate; righteousness and judgment are the habitation, the foundation, of His throne, the fundamental principles of His rule.

v. 3. A fire goeth before Him, as a manifestation of His almighty, consuming power, and burneth up His enemies round about, literally, "sets on fire His adversaries. "

v. 4. His lightnings enlightened the world; the earth saw and trembled. The psalmist probably has in mind the great disturbances in nature at the time of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, but he rightly ascribes the same majestic manifestations to Jehovah, the Messiah.

v. 5. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth, to whom unlimited dominion and sovereignty had been given. The Word of the Lord goes forth in mighty power; it either melts the hard hearts and works faith in them, or it brings the judgment of God upon the malicious rejecters of the message of salvation, becoming in them a savor of death unto death. He, the Messiah, is the Lord, the great All-ruler of all the earth.

v. 6. The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the people see His glory, are witnesses of the fact that the Gospel-truth is proclaimed in all the earth, and that nature itself loudly testifies to the unbounded power of Jehovah and to the evidence of His true deity.

v. 7. Confounded be all they that serve graven images, brought to shame on account of the foolishness of their gross idolatry, that boast themselves of idols, of nothingnesses, of the creatures of their own imagination which they have placed instead of God. Worship Him, all ye gods, the very idols which have been set up as gods by foolish men are obliged to bow down and give all honor to the Messiah alone. Over against this cringing and unwilling acknowledgment stands the attitude of the Church of Christ.

v. 8. Zion heard and was glad, filled with the happiness attending true faith; and the daughters of Judah, the congregation of believers, rejoiced because of Thy judgments, O Lord; for the fact that He carries out His gracious and good will, as well as His righteous and holy will, in His judgments upon men, proves His divine majesty.

v. 9. For Thou, Lord, art high above all the earth, above all creation; Thou art exalted far above all gods, every creature which bears this name, by the foolishness of blind men.

v. 10. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil, for this hatred of all that is wicked is a fruit of faith, Romans 12:5; He preserveth the souls of His saints, guarding and keeping them from the dangers which threaten their faith; He delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked, from the hatred and persecution of all their enemies.

v. 11. Light is sown for the righteous, like seed which will always come up and sprout and bring fruit, no matter how bad the season, and gladness for the upright in heart. In spite of the dark days which are encountered from time to time, the light of the Gospel of God's mercy continues to shine upon the believers, giving them the happiness which exceeds any earthly satisfaction. Therefore the psalmist urges once more, in conclusion:

v. 12. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous, Jehovah the Messiah being the Source and the Inspiration of all their happiness; and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness, praising His holy name, proclaiming Him for the revelation of His mercy and truth in His Gospel. Thus the believers of all times, with joyful gratitude, hail the Messiah as their King.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Psalms 97". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/psalms-97.html. 1921-23.
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