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Psalm 117 -- the shortest psalm but the most glorious

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Psalm 117
Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible, and the verse at the center of the Christian Bible. In this short psalm, the reader declares the central truth of Judeo-Christian belief, that God is good, that God’s truth continues forever, that God is kind, that God is worthy of praise, and that God should be praised by all the nations of the world.

The psalm shows what the world needs in a God. The universal God should be connected to a permanent truth. He should be good. Not merely good but kind (because some good gods are not necessarily kind and often do bad things to their followers for mysterious reasons.) The universal God should also be worthy of the highest praise. For instance, He should Himself not be a murderer, and adulterer, or a liar. Yahweh, the god of Christians and Jews has a personality that is perfect for a universal God. All the qualities that make up a good god are to be found in Him. If one considers what other cultures praise in their gods, those other gods cannot be compared to Yahweh.

Allah is distant, but he is not knowable. His truth is not easily known. Nor does he wish to make all his followers know him, from the least to the small. Yahweh, on the other hand, wishes to live in all his followers despite their imperfections. Even better, He invites believers to know Him through love — the love of a Father, specifically. But among Moslems, to call Allah “Father” is to insult him Allah has 99 names in the Koran, but not one of them is Father or Love. To Moslems, a Fatherly God is anthropomorphism, because a God who is love is weak.

Yahweh works in collaboration with humans in all things, even in writing the Holy Scriptures. But the Koran declares it was written in heaven far from men. Whereas the Koran is beautiful in its language, the books of the Bible are often made from the slangs and language of the common man. The Holy Scriptures of the Jews and Christians attests to Yahweh’s delight in working in and through man. In many things, God’s spirit in our human spirit and God’s greatest weakness is that He gives us Himself in earthen vessels. The height of Christian glory is “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”

As for the gods of Hinduism, they are adored and adorned, and many of them are loved but the gods are compartmentalized and many are not worthy of praise. None are both Creator and Owner of all the earth. Their power is limited to only a certain specialized area or particular sphere of life. The holy books of Hinduism do not ask for a loving relationship with a Personal Creator God. When Krishna incarnates, he incarnates in order to destroy sinners, not to call them lovingly to his forgiving arms. Hinduism is relentless in exacting karmic debt against sin. It is also problematical that Krishna had no control over his own passion and committed adultery. Can such a god strengthen anyone against sin?

For Buddha, love and praise are not his concerns. He does not ask for human love. He is not the Uncaused Causer of all things, but a human who has attained to godhead. As for Confucianism and Taoism, while Confucianism is a collection of ethics and Taoism is about the elemental spiritual nature of the world, there is no loving Creator God who is seeking is Creator.

Yahweh is a universal God worthy of praises from all nations. He seeks true holiness and challenges those who are self-righteous. At the same time, His goal is to bring life to all people, to bring many sons to glory, and to redeem the earth by creating a Man worthy of being Lord of it.

Psalm 117

1O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
2For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

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