Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 117)
Praise The Lord
According to the New Clarified Study Edition of the Bible (Royal Publishers; 1966) the Bible was divided into chapters by Stephen Langton about 1228. The Old Testament was divided into verses by R. Nathan in 1448 and the New Testament by Robert Stephanus in 1551. The entire Bible divided into chapters and verses first appeared in the Geneva Bible in 1560. There are 1189 chapters in the Bible and the middle and shortest chapter of the Bible is Psalm 117. The original authors never wrote their books in chapters and verses but this division helps for study efforts and reference. Psalm 177 happens to be in the middle of the chapter division and shows the uniformity and union of thought expressed throughout the Bible – old and new. An unknown writer scribed the psalm as an exhortation for all peoples to praise the Lord. Worship has never been confined to one people but given for all men to come to know the Creator and Maker of all men. The psalm exalts the praise of God among the non-Jews as necessary and desire of the Lord. Salvation for the Jew came through the law but salvation was given to the Gentiles as Paul would later write as a law to themselves. Abraham was justified by faith yet he never lived under the Law of Moses. All men were required to obey the Lord in whatever station of life they found themselves. The command to worship is as old as the sacrifices of Cain and Abel. God created man for His glory and instructed man to praise Him as the Savior of men and Creator. All men must extol the character and nature of the Lord. During the time of the Law of Moses the Holy Spirit hinted to the day when all men would be brought under one banner of truth in Jesus Christ the Son of God. Jew and Gentile must come to the gospel of Christ for salvation and praise the Lord.
The mercy of God is given to all men. His steadfast love for all men is declared from the moment of crisis in the Garden of Eden when man fell to the hour of victory when God raised Jesus from the dead. The merciful kindness of God is great toward all men who would come and serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. God’s love is abounding to every man and woman who desires to find eternal life. The Lord has never excluded man from knowing His grace and mercy. He has revealed Himself in various ways in times past but has in these days revealed Himself by His Son calling all men to come to the cross. The mercy of God is great, incredible, amazing and filled with the wonderment of eternal love. There are many reasons to praise the Lord and acknowledging the merciful kindness of God is where man must begin. Praising the Lord comes from the knowledge His truth endures forever and He is always faithful. God has never failed in any of His promises. The word of the Lord is everlasting. Examining the word of God from the beginning of time until day present it is clear the mercy of the Lord endures forever. Reading the Bible from beginning to end declares the solidity of character as God reveals Himself to early man and leaving His testimony for generations not yet born to find eternal life. The truth of the Lord endures forever but it is settled in heaven and by the hand of the Lord.
Psalm 117 is the middle verse of the Bible and shows the praise, mercy and truth of all the chapters that precede it and all the chapters that follow. Crafted by man for his use, chapter divisions serve a purpose to declare the unity of the Bible in thought, purpose and message. Critics of the Bible will try to find disunity, disharmony and confusion within the passages of holy writ but the book itself becomes its own testimony of the grand fashion the Lord has formed His word. All men can read and understand the message of hope. The Bible is written in such prose that regardless of the language it is translated, the generation it is found or the character of the man – the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all that believe – whether Jew or Gentile. Psalm 117 begins with the need to praise the Lord and ends this thirty word psalm with the exhortation to praise the Lord. The Bible begins with praise to the Lord and the Bible ends with praise to the Lord. Men would do well to begin their lives with praise to the Lord so that when they face the end of life they will praise the Lord. What is in the middle of the Bible is where man will find his beginning and his end. Praise the Lord.