June 21: Psalms 117 & 118

Chris Larson
The church's mission encompasses all nations. Psalm 117, the shortest chapter in the Bible, calls on nations to jubilantly praise the Lord. Psalm 118 highlights the collision of God's covenant people in the Old Testament with surrounding nations. In both chapters, the mercy of God resonates.

Psalm 117:1-2 explains the call for global worship in the context of the Lord's hesed, his steadfast faithfulness for those who acknowledge that he is the one true God who has spoken truly in his Word. In Genesis 3, we understand that humanity set aside the Word of God. They set themselves up as judge over God's Word and, by extension, declared themselves to be gods. Thus the rest of human history is about the restoration of the true worship experienced in the garden before Adam's Fall.

Psalm 118 also celebrates the mercy of God towards his people. But it also strikes a somber note of judgment for those who are not the Lord's. Ps. 118:22-23 is cited numerous times in the New Testament and clearly speaks of Jesus Christ (Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:7; Eph. 2:20). Many clearly stumble over the person and work of Christ.

God's mercy triumphs over judgment for the people he has determined to save for his own glory. He owes us nothing. Yet, even in his promise to Abraham, there is a view of a multi-ethnic redemption (Gen. 22:18). The gospel is for the nations. This gospel is indeed good news for some, and a judgment on others. There are really only two paths, one leads to a life of praise for God's mercy, the other leads to certain judgment. The question comes down to this: what will you do with Jesus?