Psalm 117 is pretty short. It’s not long on words. Short of words. Yet long on feeling and purpose. Long on heart. The challenge before us is to praise God enthusiastically, and the reason is two-fold: God’s love and his faithfulness. Yet can we live what we praise God for?
1 Praise the Lord, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.
2 For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord.
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
The psalmist provides two clear reasons for our praise of God. God’s love for us is great and his faithfulness endures forever.
How great is God’s love for us? So great, according to Jesus in John 3, that the Father gave his only son to be the sacrifice for us. And there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
In fact, Paul explains further in Romans 5, “7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were the enemies of God, Jesus died for us.
Not while we were seeking him.
While we were rejecting him…
His faithfulness, the psalmist writes, endures forever. 2Timothy 2:13 explains that even when we are faithless, he remains faithful. God will not stop being the loving God who gave his son. In fact, he continues to show patience with the world:
4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
God sees what we do (all of us) and continues to show kindness, forbearance, and patience. His kindness is waiting for us to turn back toward him. And we continue to turn away as a world.
The Christian’s role in the world is to represent the Lord. Which leads me to two questions of myself:
Do I love the world even when it doesn’t love me or the Lord?
Do I show kindness, patience, and forbearance toward people until they turn toward God?
Even when people disagree with me, malign my faith, and continue to reject God and his ways, am I loving and patiently faithful? This means I cannot show hatred, contempt, and intolerance to those who live outside of God’s ways. I am not here to judge.
God is showing love and patient faithfulness toward each of them. Somehow we must do likewise if we desire to be Christ-followers.