Opening Prayer

Thank you, Lord God, that as I worship you on this Sabbath, I come with full assurance that you receive me and hear my prayers.

Read PSALM 97

Psalm 97

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
    let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
    righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
    and consumes his foes on every side.
His lightning lights up the world;
    the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
    before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    and all peoples see his glory.

All who worship images are put to shame,
    those who boast in idols—
    worship him, all you gods!

Zion hears and rejoices
    and the villages of Judah are glad
    because of your judgments, Lord.
For you, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth;
    you are exalted far above all gods.
10 Let those who love the Lord hate evil,
    for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
    and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light shines[a] on the righteous
    and joy on the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous,
    and praise his holy name.


  1. Psalm 97:11 One Hebrew manuscript and ancient versions (see also 112:4); most Hebrew manuscripts Light is sown

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Let us worship God with reverence and great joy!

Think Further

This glorious psalm celebrates the universal reach of the reign of Israel’s God and the mysterious nature of his being. The global reach of the Lord’s rule and the joy this brings to humanity as a whole are evident in the opening verse, but they echo and throughout the poem. Although the psalmist affirms the special relationship which Israel knows with God, since ‘he guards the lives of his faithful ones’ (v. 10), the knowledge that is available to ‘all peoples’ (v. 6) enables them to recognize the divine glory and even to realize the futility of the worship of idols (v. 7).

At the same time, the joy that flows from this knowledge and from the worship of God does not result in an over-familiarity that might erode our feelings of awe and reverence. The psalm reflects the Hebrew understanding of God, which ‘reverently maintains the mystery of his nature and impressively indicates the threateningly serious character of his appearing’.1 True worship of God results in humble praise and a real hatred of what is evil, since ‘righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne’ (v. 2).

The early part of the psalm describes what is known as a ‘theophany’, an awe-inspiring revelation of divine power and majesty, which displays the greatness of the Creator to ‘all peoples.’ At the same time, the fact that God’s nature has been displayed to the whole world creates a longing for a future coming of God. The language of the divine advent anticipates ‘the similar tones and word- pictures with which the Christmas gospels in Luke and John report the fulfillment of that promise.’2


Take a moment to reread verse 12 and make it your personal response to this psalm.

Closing prayer

Father, I ask for wisdom; show me how I can relate in a personal way to injustice that I see. Show me ways to express the righteousness you offer.

Last Updated on June 23, 2024 by kingstar

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