Psalm 97

1650 psalter

An Advent of Messiah, and its results to earth

This, and the previous psalm, with the two following, are similar in contents in many ways, and are believed to have been written by David. They concertedly speak of Christ’s coming and His glory, and the praise that should be given by His people. Also, there is a repeated emphasis upon the fact that the Lord reigneth. Added to that is the repeated exhortation to sing a new song.

Many Christians take this exhortation as a validation of hymnology, but that is to abuse its meaning. The new song concerns the coming of the Messiah, and also His second advent. The words of this song are already written. A confirmation of the psalm’s Messianic content is found in v. 7, and is attested to by Hebrews 1:6.

Although the Lord dwells in light unapproachable, yet clouds and darkness are round about Him. That means He is obscured from the natural eye, but also that He is unsearchable and a profound mystery to the spiritual gaze. Yet the believer sees sufficient to assure him that He reigns over all, and righteousness and judgment are the twin pillars of His throne.

Pastor Jeff O’ Neil

Recommended Tune: Irish, Huddersfield


Psalm 97

¹GOD reigneth, let the earth be glad,
And isles rejoice each one.
²Dark clouds him compass; and in right
With judgment dwells his throne.

³Fire goes before him, and his foes
It burns up round about:
⁴His lightnings lighten did the world;
Earth saw, and shook throughout.

⁵Hills at the presence of the LORD,
Like wax, did melt away;
Ev’n at the presence of the Lord
Of all the earth, I say.

⁶The heav’ns declare his righteousness,
All men his glory see.
⁷All who serve graven images,
Confounded let them be.

Who do of idols boast themselves,
Let shame upon them fall:
Ye that are called gods, see that
Ye do him worship all.

⁸Zion did hear, and joyful was,
Glad Judah’s daughters were;
They much rejoic’d, O LORD, because
Thy judgments did appear.

⁹For thou, O LORD, art high above
All things on earth that are;
Above all other gods thou art
Exalted very far.

¹⁰Hate ill, all ye that love the LORD:
His saints’ souls keepeth he;
And from the hands of wicked men
He sets them safe and free.

¹¹For all those that be righteous
Sown is a joyful light,
And gladness sown is for all those
That are in heart upright.

¹²Ye righteous, in the LORD rejoice;
Express your thankfulness,
When ye into your memory
Do call his holiness.