In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.
Last month we learned that in
Judaism, the Psalms, or the "five book of David", are seen to be an
image of the five books of the law and are considered to be a "second
Pentateuch", an echo of the first. Did you know that the book of Psalms
contains both the longest (Ps.
119 with 176 verses) and the shortest (Ps.
117 with 2 verses) chapters in the Bible? Another interesting
note is that in the King James Version, this shortest chapter in the
Bible also stands as its exact middle chapter, with 594 chapters before
it, and 594 chapters after it!
And today we will take a closer
look at this exact middle chapter of the King James Bible--as well as
the Bible's shortest chapter--Psalm
"Praise the Lord, all you nations.
Praise him, all you people of the earth.
For his unfailing love for
us is powerful;
the Lord's faithfulness endures forever.
Praise the Lord!" (Ps. 117:1-2 NLT)
On first glance, this
particular Psalm doesn't look too deep. It is short, it doesn't contain
many examples, and it isn't even very precise. I would argue, however,
that this shortest chapter, found in the exact middle of the
ever-popular King James English Bible, provides us with one of the most
powerful recipes for how to praise God in our lowest moments...
We are told to praise God in the midst of our circumstances. It is even
suggested that we praise Him for specific things, small things, big
things, personal things, etc. Isn't it the case, however, that in the
midst of whatever crisis we are in, we have absolutely no ability to
recall God's past miracles in our lives? I don't know about you, but
when I'm in the middle of particularly bad circumstances, I sometimes
don't even remember how to pray! All I can think to say is, "God! Help
me, God! Oh God, oh God, help me!"
It is exactly in the midst of
these moments, the moments so troubling that the only prayer on our lips
is, "Oh God!" that we need
Psalm 117 the most. The beauty and
simplicity of this psalm makes it a prayer that we can pray, even in the
midst of the worst crisis! Let's take a look:
The psalm begins by
telling who is called to praise the Lord. Notice that it
doesn't mention people who are going through good times. Notice that
there is absolutely no qualifier whatsoever to indicate "which" people
are to praise the Lord. The psalm simply tells us:
the Lord, all you nations.
Praise him, all you people of the earth."
(Vs. 1 NLT)
There it is in a nutshell: If you are a member of the
"people of the Earth", you are called to "Praise the Lord",
no matter what you are going through! In the midst of crisis, there is
no need for you to wonder if this psalm specifically fits your situation
or not. As long as you are a member of the "people of the Earth",
this psalm fits your situation!
But now the hard part: What do we
praise Him for? Like I said above, in the midst of crisis, we often
can't even remember where we are going or whether or not we brushed our
teeth, let alone recalling the miracles of the Lord!
Psalm 117 doesn't encourage us to
spend time wracking through memories for specific examples of God's love
and power in our lives. It doesn't require that we be Bible scholars,
that we be familiar with God's power as portrayed in His Word. It
doesn't even require that we tear our tormented minds away from your
dire circumstances to focus on how God has been real to someone we know.
In its simplicity, the psalm simply tells us exactly what we can
always pray, no matter what we are going through. It tells us the
real reason for praise:
unfailing love for us is powerful;
the Lord's faithfulness endures forever.
Praise the Lord!" (Vs. 2 NLT)
In the midst of whatever it is
you are going through, remember these truths from the shortest chapter
in the Bible that stands as the exact centre chapter,
Psalm 117: You are called to
praise God no matter what, and the reason is that His love is
unfailing and power, and His faithfulness will never end!
encourage you now, in the midst of whatever it is that is blinding you
to memories of past miracles, to contemplate these powerful truths:
God's love is unfailing and powerful, and God's faithfulness will never
end! As you meditate upon these Truths from
Psalm 117, you will begin to see
your circumstances from God's perspective. You will come to understand
that God's unfailing, all powerful love will come through! You
will begin to comprehend that God's unending faithfulness will
bring you through these tough times as well!
your circumstances: Praise the Lord, for His love is powerful and
unfailing and His faithfulness is everlasting!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire "Lessons From the Psalms" mini-series,