September 30 2023
Today, Saturday September 30
“Rejoice in the LORD…”
8 Zion hears and is glad, And the daughters of Judah rejoice Because of Your judgments, O LORD.
9 For You, LORD, are most high above all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods.
10 You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous, And gladness for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
The theme of Psalm 97 is the exaltation of Jehovah and His reign over all the earth! He is exalted on His throne, He is exalted over His enemies, He is exalted over idols and false gods, and He is exalted among His people! He is the Most High God! When we truly see Him as “the Exalted One”, we will experience “gladness in heart” and we will “rejoice in the LORD”!
Today we are looking at verses 10-12, where we see what happens when “Jehovah is exalted among His saints.” God's people are those who love Him and do not turn to idols for help (Psalm 91:14). We know that an idol is nothing and can never protect or deliver us and is not worthy of our attention and worship (1 Cor. 8:1-3).
In 1 John 4:19 we read, “We love Him because He first loved us.” When we experience God’s love through Jesus Christ, we now have “the love of God poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5). Then, if we love Him who is holy, we will “hate evil” (v. 10), that which is unholy (Psalms 34:14; 36:4; 37:27; 119:104; Prov. 8:13; Rom. 12:9). Peter said it this way, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." (1 Peter 15-16).
In this closing paragraph, God's people are called "saints" or "godly ones," "the righteous," "the upright in heart,". All of these names speak of a life devoted to God. We should love Him, and if we love Him, we will obey Him ("hate evil"), we will “rejoice in Him”, and we will “give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name” for all His mercies. After all, He protects His people, delivers them, gives them light for their path, and puts gladness into their hearts. What more could we want?
The image in verse 11 is that of the Sower sowing seed. The Lord plants light like seeds so that His people will not always walk in darkness, and what He plants will eventually bear fruit. "Sowing" is a frequent metaphor in Scripture for the deeds of both God and His people (Psalm 112:4; Prov. 11:18; Hos. 8:7; 10:12; James 3:18). When “we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Remember in verse 2, how we are told that “Clouds and darkness surround Him”? That is the condition and experience of the person without Jesus Christ. Solomon in Proverbs 4:19 puts it this way: “The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.” But for the “saint”, the born-again believer, “we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the marvelous kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13).
Psalm 97 begins with a universal revelation of God's glory (vv. 2-6), with dramatic flashes of lightning, but it ends with His light quietly shining on the paths of His people. Some see the image as that of the dawn, with the morning light diffused along the ground as though the Lord were planting it like seed. But God also sows joy with that light, for when we walk in the light, we also have joy in the Lord (Psalm 16:11; Isa. 60:1-5).
God's people have their dark days when life is difficult, but there are always seeds of light and joy to accompany us along the way. Is it any wonder that Paul would write to the Philippians from a Roman prison cell and tell them, “Rejoice in the LORD always, and again I say rejoice”? (Philippians 4:4)