117 All you nations, praise the Lord.
All you people, praise him
2 because the Lord loves us very much,
and his truth is everlasting.
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 117 is the shortest psalm in the Bible but it packs a wallop. Some students of the Bible have calculated that there are there are 1189 chapters in the Bible (depending on the translation chosen). So the very center chapter of the Bible is the 595th chapter. This would be Psalm 117, which also happens to be not only the shortest of Psalms but shortest of chapters in the Bible.
It is a psalm directed to all peoples. Whatever we believe, where we live in the world, what color our skin is, what language we speak, what our circumstances are, we are commanded to praise God
Indeed, praise is mentioned in three of the five lines of the psalm. There are actually seven different Hebrew words for “praise.” Can you imagine having so many words for praise? That shows how important and central worship was in the lives of the people of Israel.
The Hebrew root for the praise word used in Psalm 117 is “halal.” It is the root from which we derive the famous word “halleluiah!” The range of meaning for halal is: "to be clear, to shine, to boast, show, to rave, celebrate, to be clamorously foolish."
Halal reminds us that there’s times when we just got to let go of our inhibitions and give it up for God, just let we would let loose at a baseball or football game.
Through the outpourings of our heart, halal makes us spiritually shine. Halal leads us to do those things we normally wouldn't do, like reach out to a stranger, to speak up in situations where we feel timid, or to go that extra mile no matter how foolish it appears. Halal reminds us of the words of the prophet Jeremiah 9:24:
“ but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD.”
The apostle Paul latter refers halal to in 1 Corinthians 1:31:” Therefore, as it is written: "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord."
So praise is not just about shouting and clapping our hands. It's about living and loving as Jesus taught us.
We practice halal simply for this: God loves us – and God’s truth is always with us. God’s truth is that our God is a God of love for all peoples, and as the prophet Jeremiah spells out for us, we have a God who delights in kindness, justice and righteousness on earth.
So let us be “clamorously foolish” and let us “shine” in kindness. Let us “boast” in our pursuit of justice. Let us “celebrate” righteousness/right living in all our days. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!
How will I shine today in my good deeds?
How will I go out of my comfort zone to love well?
Pray: "Praise you God! May the words of my mouth and the actions of my live forever give you praise."