Let the Earth Rejoice!

Psalm 971 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 97:1–5 (ESV)

1 The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! 2 Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. 3 Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. 4 His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles. 5 The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we read about the reign of God. He is not the God of Israel alone, but of the whole world. “Let the many coastlands be glad,” says the psalmist. Why? Because the Lord reigns! God rules over all of the world as the final judge.

The image of God as judge can be one that brings joy and gladness or one that brings fear and denial. The different responses are both seen in this passage. For those who are the enemies of God, judgment is a terrible thing. God’s wrath brings trembling. However, for those who have repented of their sins and called out to God for forgiveness, the Lord’s appearing is a time to be glad. His grace is unending and his love is worthy of our praise. Our God reigns. Let us rejoice!

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