Psalm 117, the Bible's shortest chapter, delivers a profound message: God's love is universal, transcending borders and ethnicities.
Psalm 117 — The Shortest Psalm — Aneel Aranha
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Praise the LORD.
Psalm 117 is unique, not just because it's the shortest chapter in the Bible, but because it is a powerful call to all nations and peoples to praise the Lord. The psalmist sings, "Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever." (Psalm 117:1-2)
Just two verses, but it contains a profound message that's worth our attention. First, the psalmist invites us to praise God. He isn't just addressing the Israelites. This is a universal call, an invitation to "all you nations" and "all you peoples." It's a reminder that God's love and faithfulness aren't limited to a particular group or ethnicity. His love is for everyone, everywhere. This inclusivity is a recurring theme throughout the scriptures, but it's beautifully concise here.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul quotes this very psalm. He writes, "Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name." (Romans 15:11). Paul's mission was to the Gentiles, the non-Jews. He saw his work as fulfilling this call for all nations to praise God. It is our work, too. The Great Commission given by Jesus to us is to "go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). The message of God's love, encapsulated in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, is to be shared with everyone, everywhere.
Second, the psalmist gives us the reason for this universal praise. It is God's immense love and enduring faithfulness. The psalmist emphasizes the greatness of God's love toward "us." While it's easy to read this "us" as the Israelites, given the universal call in the previous line, it's more fitting to see this "us" as humanity. God's love is for all, and his faithfulness never wavers.
As we sing this psalm, let us accept the psalmist's invitation to recognize and celebrate God's universal love and faithfulness. And remember that this love is for you, me, and everyone we meet, so we should not hesitate to share it.
God bless you.