Summary: The shortest chapter in the Bible answers the biggest questions of life.
Who What and Why?
I like it when we have these Combined Services. When I’m deciding what to preach on the 5th Sundays, I have to keep in mind that the sermon will be preached twice: once in English, then in Spanish. This means the Sermon needs to be written early so Jesus can take a look at it.
Besides that, the sermon needs to be clear. It needs to make sense in both languages. And --- most important of all --- it needs to be SHORT!
A man named G. Rogers wrote Bible Commentary years ago. Here’s how he put it: “There are short hymns and long hymns, short prayers and long prayers, short speeches and long speeches, short sermons and long sermons. --- Short is better.”
So, today I decided to preach from the shortest chapter in the Bible. Let’s try a little trivial pursuit: Can anyone tell me what is the shortest chapter in the Bible?
(See if anyone knows)
Look in the middle of the Bible at the book of Psalms and turn to #117.
1 Praise the LORD, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Praise the LORD.
These two little verses contain the answer to some of life’s biggest questions --- questions about who God is and why people are on this planet.
This shortest chapter in the Bible gives the “Who, What, and Why” of life.
1. Who …
Who is this Psalm written to? EVERYONE! Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. Psalm 117:1
We take it for granted today that people of all types should unite together. The United States is a melting pot for people from all over the world: Native Americans, Europeans of all types, people from South America, Mexico, Africa, Canada, people from all over Asia. People of all skin colors and cultural backgrounds have joined together in a way that is unique. There’s a reason for this. The founders of the United States were people who believed in the God of the Bible. And the Bible makes it clear from beginning to end that God created all people and God loves all people.
John 3:16 sums it up. Let’s say that wonderful verse together – first in English, then in Spanish.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo el que cree en él no se pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna. Juan 3:16
If we were capable, we could read that same verse in hundreds of other Languages --- and the message would be the same. Every Nation, every Language, every Person in all the world is equally loved by the One True God.
2. What …
And so, WHAT should the whole world do in response to this love?
Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. Psalm 117:1
What does it mean to “PRAISE” the Lord? The Dictionary says Praise means to extol, commend, or honor, often in song. The reason Christians sing when we get together is so we can give our Praise as One Voice together.
Praise is like bragging on someone --- loud enough that everyone can hear. Good Parents deserve the praise of their children. Good Teachers deserve the praise of their students. A good Mayor deserves the praise of his city. A good President deserves the praise of his country. But there is only ONE who deserves the praise of every living being on the planet.
Every nation should be glad to Praise the God who is Sovereign over everything in the universe. There is nothing that escapes God’s rule. But not everyone does Praise the Lord.
There have always been arrogant people who want to act as if there is no God to praise. I can’t help but be amused by Secularists who try to put God on the sidelines. The harder they try, the more amusing it is. And I’m not the only one who is amused. Psalm 2:2-4 tells how God feels about nations who try to rule apart from the Living God.
The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together
against the LORD
and against his Anointed One.
"Let us break their chains," they say,
"and throw off their fetters."
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them
I’ve seen these verses illustrated in my own lifetime. When I was a child, the Soviet Union was the most feared Nation on earth. For over 70 years, Godless Communism ruled behind the Iron Curtain with an Iron Fist. People feared they might take over the World.