7 Keys to Psalm 117

By Rick Kelley
Introduction: Seven powerful words from the shortest Psalm, the mid-point of the Bible.
#1: Praise
                a. The beginning, the ending and the point, of the Psalm
                b. Not only that, but Praise is the beginning, the ending, and the point of the Psalms
                c. The Psalms are, by and large, prayers, petitions, and praises to God.
                d. Praise is perhaps the one thing humanity can offer to God that God cannot offer to Himself, and which God cannot extract from us.

                e. It is also that in which God’s people are only engaged in a type of today, but will engage forevermore (Rev. 4:8,11; 5:11-14; 19:1-7)
                f. People often say, “I can’t imagine praising God forever.” I get that sentiment. We get tired. We don’t always feel it.
                g. To what can we liken it? Won an important game? Gotten a wonderful report? (2016 Cubs)
                                1) It’s the natural response to unabashed happiness; for a moment in time, nothing else matters; just rejoicing, just the thrill of long-anticipated victory. Then, it ends.
                                2) There, it never will.
#2: YHVH – Yahweh(?), Jehovah(?), Heb. Adonai – the ineffable, unutterable name
                a. This is the personal name of God, used some 6,800 times in Scripture
                b. It is referred to by some as the Tetragrammaton = the four letters.
                c. Hebrew speaking people will not – nor did many of them throughout history, use this name.
                d. Many of the names of God are general descriptions of something that He is or does. Ex:
                                1. El Shaddai – God Almighty “Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. “I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.” (Gen. 17:1-2)
                                2. El Roi – the God who sees (Gen. 16:13)
                e. Elohim is the plural name of God, identified with God’s power – (Gen. 1:1-2)
                f. YHVH is the name of God associated with His closeness to humanity, and His condescension for our salvation.
                g. The pictograms associated with each letter may foreshadow the cross.
#3: Nations
                a. “The nations” represents everyone outside of God’s special nation. But this word also represents the scope of God’s grace: it is universal (Titus 2:11), “for the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation unto all men…”
                b. Though God commanded His people not to become “like the nations” around them, or to be distinct from them, it was intended that they did so by the keeping of God’s will, not by simple exclusionism or isolationism.
                c. This exclusivity was never intended to make God’s people inhospitable to others, lacking empathy for their neighbors, etc.
                                1. “So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt” (Deut. 10:19)
                                2. “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God” (Lev. 19:34)
                                3. “Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you” (Lev. 25:35)
                                4. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18)
                d. Two things have never changed: the inclination of God’s people to turn uniqueness into isolationism, and God’s will that we deal kindly with our neighbor.
#4: Lovingkindness
                a. The Hebrew word HESED is probably most closely aligned to the Greek New Testament word agapao.
                b. As we know, agapao is the modus operandi of God. Everything God does for His special people is done sacrificially, with no thought of “what’s in it for me?”
                c. It is reckless love. It is love that abandons the rational.
                d. It is love that leads the Divine being to enter the world, to subject Himself to human flesh, and to die a vicarious death for the sins of His creature.
                e. While HESED – lovingkindness, is essentially extended to all, only those who believe in, love and obey God’s will are the actual recipients of it.
                f. The book of Ruth is a great example of HESED.
#5: Prevails “great toward”
                a. That which HESED does. It prevails over us.
                b. It is a flood of goodness and mercy, like David said in Psalm 23:6
                c. It is the overwhelming blessings with which God endows His children, like Jacob in Genesis 32:9-12
                d. Indeed, both the righteousness and goodness of God, when considered deeply, crush and humble us.
#6: Truth
                a. Have you ever had to be corrected because you misspoke? Told a lie? Told something you were really certain was true, but it turned out not to be true?
                b. God is the truth (John 14:6)
                c. His Word is truth (John 17:17)
                d. All His works are done in truth: “For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does” (Psalm 33:4)
                e. It’s not just that God chooses to tell the truth, “it is impossible for God to lie” (Titus 1:2)
                f. One of the great faith-builders of life is that for all the centuries it has been around, the Bible has only ever proven men wrong when opposing it. In fact, many men have fallen to their knees and proclaimed its glory, who sought first to dismantle it.
                g. One thing is certain: with God, if we are having trouble believing it, if men have yet to find some way to confirm it, the deficiency is only in us. For God is only truth.
#7: Everlasting
                a. And God’s truth is everlasting, of course, because God is everlasting.
                b. Psalm 119:89
                c. Mt. 24:35
                d. “the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.11And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (I John 5:10-12)
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