In the name of Jesus our Savior, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church welcomes you to ‘Dial-a-Devotion’, this is Vicar Tom Schlund. Our text for today is Psalm 117 which reads:
“Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! 2 For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!”
Your fun fact about the Bible for today is that Psalm 117, which we just read, is the shortest Psalm in the Bible. It is only 2 verses. Just in case you’re wondering, Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm with 176 verses. Even though Psalm 117 is so short, there is a lot packed in there.
The Psalmist calls people to praise the Lord and to extol him. This isn’t just directed at his own people, the Israelites, but rather to all nations and all peoples. God is the God of the entire universe and that includes all nations on earth, not just the chosen people of the Old Testament. God chose the Israelites to be his beacon to all other people on earth to draw them all to him, not to be an exclusive club.
How about you? Have you done any praising of God lately? Sometimes it is hard to praise God. It is easy to get busy with our lives and forget to praise him for all that he has done. We might have family responsibilities or work responsibilities or we get busy taking care of ourselves or an ill family member and we don’t even think about praising God.
Other times we just find it too hard to praise him. Our health has declined, our bodies are giving out, we’ve lost our spouse. Or maybe tragedy has struck you and you’ve lost a friend or family member unexpectedly. Your job has been downsized or you’ve had relationships crumble. It is hard during all of these tragic events to think about praising God. It is far easier to sulk, or complain, or just feel sad and abandoned. Praising God is definitely not the first thing that comes to our mind.
But the Psalmist doesn’t just give the order to praise God without also giving a reason for us to think about. He continues by saying, “Great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.” God’s love never fails and his faithfulness never fails. It doesn’t feel like it sometimes. When bad things happens it is easy to feel like God has abandoned us or like he is messing with us, trying to make our lives difficult.
That’s not the case though. Sin has messed up our world and caused us great pain and anguish. That much is true. However it is also true that God is the only one who has kept 100% of the promises that he has made. He is faithful throughout all times and all places. The greatest promise that he has made and kept is the one to send a savior to rescue us from our sins. Sending his Son Jesus into the world to die and rise from the grave allows us to be adopted as sons and daughters of God and heirs to eternal life. Because of this we can have hope in the face of problems and sorrows and we can praise the Lord for his faithfulness to us!
Let us pray:
Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for always keeping your promises and being faithful. We especially give you thanks for sending your son Jesus into the world to rescue us from sin, death, and the power of the devil. Help us to always trust and hope in you and your promises even when we face trials and adversity. We ask all these things in Jesus’ name, Amen
My name is Tom. I'm fascinated by the ways that people, ideas, current events and theology interact with each other.