Psalm 97

Carefully Examining the Text

29-11-2023 • 21 min

This psalm calls the earth to rejoice that the LORD reigns
The fact "the LORD reigns" (Ps. 93:1; 96:10; 97;1; 99:1) or God is King (Ps. 95:3; 98:6) is emphasized repeatedly in the psalms through this section.

97:2 The LORD dwells in thick darkness- Sinai- Exod. 19:16-19; 20:18-21; Deut. 4:11-12; 5:22; Heb. 12:18. Solomon's prayer stresses the same in I Kings 8:12; II Chron. 6:1.
Sometimes the Bible stresses God dwells in light- Ps. 104:2; I Tim. 6:16. Whether God is pictured as dwelling in light or darkness, the text emphasizes that we cannot see God in all HIs glory- Exodus 33:18-23.

97:3
Fire consumes HIs enemies- Lev. 10:1-2; Num. 11:1-3; 16:35; Ps. 50:3

97:4-5
These verses sound like a thunderstorm, an earthquake, and a volcano all rolled up into one- Micah 1:4; Nahum 1:3-6; Psalm 18:7-15

97;7
If God is so awesome, it is foolish to worship another.

97:7 is quoted from the LXX (also Deut. 32:43) from the LXX and applied to Jesus. All the angels worship Jesus. A passage applied to Yahweh and HIs glory is applied to Jesus in Hebrews 1. Jesus fully shares in being God.

The holiness of God as described in Ps. 97:2-3 is our hope. Evil and injustice will not prevail forever in our world because God is utterly holy and absolutely powerful.

However, the holiness of God is also our problem. Fire consumes HIs adversaries in Ps. 97:3. The word used for adversaries in the Greek translation was used for us all in Rom. 5:10. Because of our sin we are His enemies. Righteousness is the foundation of HIs throne but there is none righteous, not even one- Rom. 3:10.
How can we stand before Him? Nahum 1:6.

The death of Christ, the greatest injustice and greatest act of unrighteouness in history, displays the justice and righteousness of God- Romans 3:21-26. Through the cross and resurrection of Jesus, it is possible that unrighteous and enemies of God like us can be saved.