Psalm 97 gives us a tour of the “ultimate reality check.” It does for me, anyway…
V. 1–“The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad, let the distant shores rejoice”–since the Lord “reigns” we need to LET HIM REIGN in the “kingdom of my heart.” Who reigns in your heart? (Does God reign in your heart, or do YOU reign in your own heart)?
V. 2–“Clouds and thick darkness surround him”–Where ever God is, evil is going to be close by. The darkness makes us stronger because we are forced to LEAN IN toward the light!
V. 2b “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne”–Righteousness means “honesty” and Justice means “fairness.” The foundation of God is seen in being honest and fair in every situation and with every one you meet!
V. 3–“Fire goes before Him and consumes His foes on every side”–Hebrews 12 concludes with “God is a consuming fire.” Instead of thinking “OUCH” when thinking of God’s fire, we need to be thinking of the purifying power and purging power of God’s presence. Instead of thinking “OUCH” we need to be thinking: “YES!”
V. 4–“His lightening lights up the world, the earth sees and trembles.” We are so distracted by the weather patterns of our modern times being “global warming” we miss the opportunity to point people back to the idea the earth was created by God, belongs to God, and is destined by God. The weather is a constant reminder the earth belongs to God and we have no personal control over it.
V. 5–“The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.” The consummate reminder in nature is that our natural surroundings THEMSELVES testify of submission to the living God, creator of the universe–why shouldn’t we have that same submissive spirit toward Him?
V. 6–“The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory.” The essential component of God’s nature, God’s natural order, God’s connection with the earth, God’s connection with humans, and human connection with other humans is HONESTY!
V. 7–“All who worship images are put to shame, and those who boast in idols–worship Him all you gods.” There isn’t any secret here: Anything you put ahead of God in your life is an idol. We live in a day of celebrity worship. Entire TV programs are dedicated to what the celebrities did today. Even larger than celebrity worship today is SELF WORSHIP. Self exaltation; pride; self-centeredness; self proclamation–selfishness is the biggest idol of all!
V. 8-12–“Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments O Lord, For You O Lord, are most high over all the earth. YOU ARE EXALTED FAR ABOVE ALL GODS. 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. Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord you who are righteous, and praise His Holy Name.”