today like to look at the shortest Psalm in the whole Bible!
praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of
the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD." (Psalm
There it is!
(It only has two verses!)
* Someone said of the Psalm --- "It
is exceedingly small in letters ... but exceedingly large in
* Another said --- "It is both short
... and sweet!"
* Even an Apostle (Paul) preaches
from it in Romans 15:11! (A direct quote from Psalm 117!)
"And again, Praise the Lord, all ye
Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people."
* Another believes it was used by
the Jews to both open and close their Temple services! (As
sort of a "doxology!")
* Still another points out the great
doctrines it either contains or mentions in "seed" form! For
example, embedded in this two verse sermon is the vital truth:
"Whosoever will may come!" ("All ye nations!")
* While admittedly in "embryonic"
form, the Gospel appears here also. See that little word
"kindness?" It is the Old Testament word for GRACE!
And see that little word "truth?" The way it is spelled in
Hebrew, it typifies the Lord Jesus Christ! Here we have
"grace and truth!" Jesus (John says) is full of "Grace and
Truth!" (John 1:14) Is not Jesus' Death, Burial and
Resurrection the very heart of the New Testament message of
"Grace and Truth."
* And this little Psalms does a good
job of introducing us to worship! Jesus says that worship
must be done in "Spirit and in Truth!" John 4:24 ---
"God is a Spirit: and they that
worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."
Both are present here!
* It also teaches us conclusively
that the Word of God is eternal! Plainly it tells us that
the Truth of the Lord endureth for ever! "For
ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." Psalm
* Old Matthew Henry believed that
verse 1 tells us what to do! And that verse 2 tells us how
to do it!
* In the Psalm we have GRACE
("merciful kindness") and TRUTH! But a little word keeps
being repeated --- PRAISE (3 times in fact)!
Remember that this PRAISE will only be complete when we get to
heaven and join in the great throng who are glorifying His Name
even now! When we get there and join in magnifying Him ...
that will be called GLORY! So ... in a real way ...
this Psalms begins with grace and ends with GLORY (with Truth
right in the middle)! That's the very essence of the
Christian experience! (GRACE ... TRUTH ... GLORY!)
Maybe this little text tells it all in microcosm! (Look at
how John 1:14 combines these great words also!)
* Lastly for today notice that the
Psalms begins and ends with the same words! "O praise the
Lord!" (verse 1) AND "Praise ye the Lord!" (verse 2)
This literary device is called "inclusio" and usually tells us
the genuine motive of an author! This Psalm is all about
We've just been in a whole field of
"nuggets" I believe.
I have enjoyed studying with you all
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
think the Lord is forming this Psalm 117 material into a message
for this preacher to share with others!
another day with this shortest of all the Psalms please.
how very close it is placed (in numerical order) to the longest
of all the Psalms!
is the shortest. Psalm 119 is the longest (by far)!
The same Holy Spirit who "expatiates" in
Psalm 119, condenses in Psalm 117! (To "expatiate" is to
write or speak in a lengthy manner! The Latin noun "spatium"
means space or room!)
Scripture is sweet either way!
The first three definitions given in a
standard Hebrew dictionary for the word "praise" in verse one
are: To "be clear!" Then "to shine!" Next, to
"make a show" (in a good sense)! To put something worthy
on display! In other words ... when one praises the Lord
he or she will reflect such in his countenance (on her face)!
One lexicon suggests that the word also means "to boast."
(To brag on the Lord!) There's No One like Him! (The
Hebrew word: "halal")
Our verb here is an imperative ... meaning
it presents a command! We have no choice! It is our
duty to brag on the dear Lord! The verb furthermore is in
the Piel stem --- indicating that the action is to be intensive!
Really diligently praise Him!
The Name of God in view here (three times
in the little Psalm) is LORD.
That King James rendering always indicates Jehovah! (The
eternal God Who IS!)
The noun "nations" (Hebrew = "goy") means
people (lots of them) ... so many that a nation is involved!
(It is usually used of non-Jewish peoples too.) Actually
the idea is more like that of "the Gentiles!" Here the
whole world is being invited to come and adore Him! It is
very close to being a Gospel invitation!
And the word "people" in the verse is
somewhat parallel to "nations." It is a wider ranging noun
that means "a collection" of people! (A "community" one
source says.) I would just say that any group of folks who
have a yearning to really praise the Lord are a specially
"collected" people. (A "called out" assembly! A
I am NOT preaching the New Testament
church (as a doctrine) in the Old Testament Scriptures here.
I want to rightly divide the Word ... but there are definitely
HINTS and FORESHADOWINGS of coming Things!
Lastly (for today) is the second use of
the verb "praise" in our little verse. It is a different
word altogether! (I love it when the Holy Spirit does
that!) "Shabach" means "to address in a loud tone!"
Again we have a Piel Imperative verb! It
is intense and aggressive in action! And it is a command
that we do so praise the Lord!
BUT there is a little unique distinction
with this verb that I want us to notice. Its root meaning
carries the idea: to soothe, to still or even to pacify
(as if by words)! I believe the word is telling us that
one of the greatest ways to calm oneself (bringing peace and
contentment) is just to PRAISE the Lord!
Pass me the "nugget" bag please!
(And order me a larger size while you're
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
I never thought we would spend three days in the shortest Psalm
of all! But thatís exactly what weíve done. (And I sure have
enjoyed it. In fact, this will be preached by a Brother Bagwell
of Cumming, Georgia, sometime soon.)
I just never realized that there was so much
in these two little verses.
But ... I promise (Lord willing) this is
the last day for Psalm 117!
We are ready for verse two.
"For his merciful kindness is
great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for
ever. Praise ye the LORD."
The term "merciful kindness" is just one
Hebrew word. It is "chesed" (pronounced kheí- sed). It
originally means "to bow down." It is a picture here of God
coming down to where we (lost dying sinners) are and providing
us the Way of Salvation! Additionally the word comes to mean
"covenant love." That implies the love of a husband to a wife
and vice versa. It pictures God Himself being our Husband.
(Vowing to love and protect us in all circumstances of life!)
Wow! Furthermore this word is only used when grace is shown from
a greater Person to a lesser person! GOD IS GREATER and we are
just sinners! But I am a glad recipient of His kindness, arenít
you? (John 3:30 --- "He must increase, but I must
The adjective "great" is Hebrew "gabar" and
is a bit of an unusual word. (Only 25 times in the whole Bible.)
Predominantly it is translated to "prevail!" It literally means
"to be STRONG!" (In the King James Version it is once translated
"exceeded." And once more ... "stronger!") I promise you the
Lordís good Grace is stronger and stronger and stronger than
anything we shall ever know!
And it is "toward us!" The preposition
"toward" is (Hebrew = "al") a word that means over, above, upon,
and even against (in the sense of support)!
The noun "truth" (Hebrew = "emeth") is
interesting! Look at the way it is spelled in Hebrew (reading
from right to left).