1 The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
Let the many islands be glad.
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
3 Fire goes before Him
And burns up His adversaries round about.
4 His lightnings lit up the world;
5 The earth saw and trembled.
The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
6 The heavens declare His righteousness,
And all the peoples have seen His glory.
7 Let all those be ashamed who serve graven images,
Who boast themselves of idols;
Worship Him, all you gods.
8 Zion heard this and was glad,
And the daughters of Judah have rejoiced
Because of Your judgments, O Lord.
9 For You are the Lord Most High over all the earth;
You are exalted far above all gods.
10 Hate evil, you who love the Lord,
Who preserves the souls of His godly ones;
He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown like seed for the righteous
And gladness for the upright in heart.
12 Be glad in the Lord, you righteous ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.
Psalm 97 envisions God, the King, coming in judgment. God’s judgments are described as mysterious and awesome, Clouds and thick darkness surround Him (97:2). His judgments are righteous and just (97:2). His judgments are powerful and glorious (97:3-6). As a result of God’s judgments, His adversaries are destroyed (97:3). Therefore, the psalmist calls those who love Him to hate evil (97:10), be glad in the LORD......and give thanks to His holy name (97:12).
One day the Lord God will come to judge the world and every single person. (See Matthew 12:36; Acts 17:31; 2 Peter 3:7.) Therefore, if you love Him, do not merely try to avoid evil, but hate evil (97:10). The apostle Paul admonished believers, Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses called the people to cling to God (13:4) and Jesus told the rich young ruler that only God is good (Luke 18:19). There is nothing good to cling to besides God!
The heavens declare His righteousness and all the peoples see His glory (97:6). Our good God has revealed His glory! Have you seen it? Have you seen God’s glory? I have seen glimpses of God’s glory often in my life: true love, a precious newborn baby, a rainbow bursting through the clouds, a perfect yellow rose, the wind rustling through the fragrant lemon tree, the warm sun spilling through my kitchen window, the sunset over the sea. But most of all, God has revealed His glory in the gospel. Have you seen it? It is the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4), the gospel of the glory of the blessed God (1 Timothy 1:11). It is the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). So if you have seen His glory be glad, hate evil, and cling to Him.