Psalm 97:1-2 "The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne"
As you read through this psalm remember that it was written before Jesus came, back when there was a thick veil between the presence of God and his people. When it talks about clouds and thick darkness surrounding him it is because his glory and presence is too much for people to stand in front of. So just as the thunderclouds can veil the sun, so God's glory and righteousness must be veiled from humans. It is a good reminder as well that although we have the privilege of having God's presence with us through the holy spirit, that God's righteousness and power is still too vast and incredible for us to comprehend.
Verse 7 is the centre verse of this psalm, and it is where the focus moves from God's power to our response. The psalm goes on to describe the difference between those who worship idols being put to shame, and the joy of those who put their trust in God.
I find this shift beautiful, between describing God as this awesome and powerful God, to our response being filled with gladness and joy. I feel like a more appropriate response to the first 6 verses would be to come before him with fear, a trembling awe of the one who created and rules the world. But instead this chapter suggests a different response. We get to come before him with the joy that He fills us with. When we choose to serve him with gladness and live faithful lives then we can be covered with light and filled with joy in the presence of the powerful God we love and serve.
I know for myself my constant prayer is that God would be merciful to me and my family and help us live faithful lives serving Him. That the light and joy would be evident in us as we love him, surrender ourselves to him, and rejoice in Him regardless of what our circumstances may be.
Psalm 97:11-12 “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.”
3 Month Reading Plan - Psalms 98-100