Psalm 97 (Psalms on the Trail)

Psalm 97

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice…

The mountains melt like wax before the Lord of all the earth…

Confounded be all who worship false images and delight in false gods…

Light dawns for the righteous and joy for the honest of heart… 

Psalm 97: 1,5,7,11

Reflection:  I passed this mountain of metal as I neared Pittsburgh.  I have no idea if it is on its way to be melted down and recycled, or if it will be dumped somewhere.  I certainly hope the former;  but I am mindful that our society, myself included, profits and is made comfortable by the industry and energy production that results in harmful waste—in spite of regulations to protect the environment.  Our comfort,convenience and greed reign.

The Lord reigns.  What does that look like?  The psalmist uses the thunderstorm image to reinforce how powerful the Lord is compared to the false gods.  Yes, it is true that a mountain in a heavy thunderstorm feels like it is being melted away by  torrents of sliding water.  A God who can create such power, says the psalmist, surely will confound those who worship what is false. And worshiping idols includes an overreaching for influence, thinking one’s group is better, accumulation of things, lack of concern for the hurting—including the earth.

The Lord reigns.  What does that look like?  To me, a follower of Jesus, it looks like washing feet, mercy, making peace, healing—whether for creation or for people.  It means welcoming all people, not just a few.  It means speaking truthfully with respect.  It means letting God’s joy bubble up (Christ is risen!) even in the midst of put-downs.  The list is long; you can add to it.  Personally, it means that instead of tossing my V-8 juice can in the trash, (light dawns), I should have washed the used can out and carried it home to put in the recycling bin.  Thus, if the Lord reigns in me, it will often mean, for the sake of a larger good, little as well as big inconveniences, right?


1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?  What does it mean to you that the Lord reigns?

2. Or read all of Psalm 97 to discover how this verse fits into this psalm.

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that is a window of this verse’s meaning for you.

Tomorrow’s psalm  will be Psalm 98:1,3.

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting a daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.