1 The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3 Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. 4 His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. 5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory. 7 All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols— worship him, all you gods! 8 Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments, O LORD.
9 For you, O 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 is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.
Psalm 97 – A great result of conversion
(Verse 1) When a good, kind, loving, honest and powerful king is in charge, his subjects rejoice. The LORD, our promise-keeping, covenant-keeping, caring, loving, righteous, just, truthful and Almighty Ruler is in charge. The whole world should rejoice – even all the ‘distant shores’.
(Verse 2) He is so holy and glorious that darkness veils Him from the sight of mere human beings. But we are in darkness for another reason – our sin. We need to trust in Jesus, who is the ‘light of the world’ (John 8:12). He shines so brightly that He replaces the need of the sun and moon to shine in Heaven itself! (Revelation 21:23) His rule is based on the light of His perfect righteousness and justice.
(Verses 3-9) Fire implies both holiness and judgment on sin. Jesus is the holy Judge. God’s awesome presence – unless veiled in flesh as it was because Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time – is likened to a flashing electric storm, and an earthquake that makes ‘mountains melt like wax before the LORD.’ The heavens proclaim to all who ‘read’ them that God is their righteous and glorious Creator. How different from those who worship empty idols, which cannot hear, see or speak. They ought to worship the true God. Those who do, then in Zion and Judah and now worldwide, rejoice that their personal God, the LORD, is ‘Most High over all the earth’ and ‘exalted far above all gods.’ Make sure that you regard no-one and nothing in this world as more important to you than your holy Triune God, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Your ‘idol’ could be an obvious religious ‘idol’ or anything or anyone you allow to become an ‘idol’ in your life. Idolatry is a sin: resist it!
(Verses 10-11) When a sinner has been saved God counts him as being ‘righteous’ for two reasons. First, his sins are washed away because he has trusted in Jesus, whose blood was shed for him on the cross, when He bore that man’s sins and was punished for them. Second, though an unrighteous sinner, all Jesus’ perfect righteousness is counted as his through his trust in Jesus.
Here are some evidences that a sinner has been converted. He now hates evil. He is guarded by God, who keeps him faithful and delivers him from wicked people. He now knows Christ’s light on his thinking, and He is joyful. Conversion to Christ is a wonderful experience – but the most important thing is Heaven is still to come!
(Verse 12) If you know that Jesus has cleansed you from sin, and God counts you as righteous, rejoice and praise the LORD!