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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Psalms 97

Verse 1

1. The announcement of God’s earthly reign 97:1

How do we know that the psalmist was describing a future reign of God and not His eternal reign? The marginal translation, "has assumed kingship," captures the aspect of God’s reign that this psalm presents. God will assume worldwide dominion when Jesus Christ returns, and that will provide occasion for the whole planet to rejoice as never before.

Verses 1-12

Psalms 97

The writer of this psalm also saw the Lord coming to rule and reign on the earth. He exhorted his readers to prepare for that event by living appropriately in the present.

Verses 2-5

These verses reveal the appearance of the Lord in terms similar to other visions God gave His prophets (cf. Isaiah 6:1-4; Ezekiel 1; Revelation 1). The psalmist’s words describe God’s glory in figurative language. Clouds and thick darkness picture awesome power (cf. Deuteronomy 4:11; Deuteronomy 5:22-23; cf. Zechariah 14:6-7). Fire represents God’s consuming judgment (cf. Hebrews 12:29). Elsewhere in Scripture the shaking of mountains announced the Lord’s coming to earth (Exodus 19:18; cf. Micah 1:4; Nahum 1:5).

Verses 2-9

2. The appearance of the King 97:2-9

Verses 6-9

When He comes to reign, His messengers will announce His arrival (cf. Revelation 19:11). Everyone will see Him descend (Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7). In view of this revelation, idol worshippers should realize their folly. The psalmist called all judges ("gods") to worship Yahweh. God’s people can rejoice because He will rule over all the earth one day. "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20)!

Verse 10

Since God loves righteousness, it is only fitting that those who love Him should hate evil. By doing so, they become the objects of His blessing rather than partakers of His discipline.

Verses 10-12

3. The appropriate response 97:10-12

Verses 11-12

Rejoicing and thanksgiving are also appropriate responses to God’s gifts of understanding and joy. [Note: See Allen, Rediscovering Prophecy, pp. 195-213.]

The vision that this psalm presents, of God coming to establish His kingdom, should move His people to prepare themselves for that great event (cf. 2 Peter 3:10-12; 2 Peter 3:14).

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 97". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-97.html. 2012.