Monday 21st September 2020
Praise the Lord for His Love and Faithfulness
Pastor Soong Kok Kee
Psalm 117: 1-2
Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible with just two verses. The psalmist starts by calling all nations and all people to praise the Lord. “Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.” Apostle Paul quotes from this psalm in Romans 15:11 to show that God’s salvation is for all people and not just the Jews. “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples.” Paul quotes from this Psalm to prove that the gospel was to be preached to all the Gentile nations which was at that time such a stumbling-block to the Jews. Paul had to use the Old Testament then as Acts 1:8 and the Great Commission of Matthew 28: 18-20 had yet to be put on paper.
In verse two the psalmist gives the reason why all nations and all peoples should praise the Lord “For great is his love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.” The NLT translation says “For he loves us with unfailing love”. One commentator says even if he did nothing else, he would still be worthy of our highest praise. His great love or unfailing love and his faithfulness – the two reasons why all people and nations should praise the Lord.
His great or unfailing love for us, that we understand, but what is his faithfulness? Unger’s Bible Dictionary says “Faithfulness is an attribute ascribed to God in many places, especially in the Psalms (36:5; 89:2; Isa. 11:15, etc.) which exhibits his character as worthy of the love and confidence of man, and assures us that he will certainly fulfil his promises, as well as execute his warnings against sin.” Yes, a faithful God to the end, whether we are faithful or not, he still remains faithful to us. Whether we love him or not, he still loves us. No wonder Paul says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”(Rom 5:8).
My dear brothers and sisters, none of us is worthy of his love and faithfulness and yet he keeps on loving us ever so faithfully. Like the Father in the parable of the prodigal son he keeps looking out of the window daily, hoping one day his son would come back. Are you that prodigal son or daughter who had run far away from his love? He awaits you my friend, he awaits you.
Father God, thank you for reminding us of your great and unfailing love and your faithfulness. We come once again before you to confess our unfaithfulness, our sins. Thank you for loving us in spite of all our sins and unfaithfulness. Thank you for welcoming us back into your loving presence.
In Jesus precious name we pray, AMEN.
诗篇117是圣经中最短的一章，只有两节经文。诗人首先呼吁万国和万族都要颂赞上帝。【诗117:1】“万国啊，你们要赞美耶和华！万族啊，你们都要颂赞他！” 使徒保罗在罗马书15:11中引用了这首诗篇，以表明上帝的救恩是为着世人而不仅仅是犹太人。“列邦啊，你们要赞美主！万民哪，你们都要颂赞他！”。保罗引用这诗篇来证明福音是要传给所有外邦国家的; 这对当时的犹太人是一个绊脚石。保罗当时只能使用旧约，因为使徒行传1:8 和马太福音28:18-28的大使命，当时还没有写下。
在第二节中，诗人告诉了我们万国和万族都要颂赞上帝的原因：“因为祂向我们大施慈爱，耶和华的信实存到永远。你们要赞美耶和华。“ NLT译作：“因为祂以不朽的爱来爱我们”。有一位评论员说，即使祂什么也没做，祂仍然配受我们给予最高的颂赞。祂伟大和不朽的爱，以及祂的信实 – 就是万族万国都应当赞美主的两个原因。
我们明白祂对我们的伟大和不朽的爱，但祂的信实又是什么？昂格尔（Unger）的圣经字典说：“在许多方面，信实是关乎上帝的属性，尤其是在诗篇（36:5; 89:2; 赛11:15等），展现出祂配得世人的爱戴和信任的性格；并向我们保证祂一定会履行应许，且会执行祂对罪恶所发出的警告。” 是的，一位信实到底的上帝，无论我们是否忠于祂，依然信实待我们；无论我们是否爱祂，祂仍然会爱我们。难怪保罗说：“惟有基督在我们还作罪人的时候为我们死，神的爱就在此向我们显明了。“（罗5:8）。