The Kingdom of God 7 – righteousness and joy

The aim of this devotional Bible Study is to reflect on the anticipation and nature of the kingdom of God.


Psalms 97:1-12

1  The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! 2  Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. 3  Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. 4  His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles.

5  The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. 6  The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory.

7  All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods!

8  Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O LORD. 9  For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. 10  O you who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked. 11  Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. 12  Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

Observation and reflection

  1. What is the tone or mood of this Psalm? [hint: note the emotive descriptors in verses 1, 8, 11, 12]
  2. What is the reason for this mood? (verses 1, 9)
  3. The Psalmist describes the LORD as a King approaching to rule words like “clouds and thick darkness”, “fire that consumes his enemies”, “lightnings”, “people tremble”, “mountains wax” and “glory”. (v2-6) Give two or three words that desribe what this King is like, as described in these verses.
  4. What is this King’s kingdom like? [hint: note verses 2, 6, 11, 12]
  5. The response to this awesome King’s reign is dived. What groups of people are mentioned, and how do they respond to God’s rule?
  6. In the kingdom of God “light” and “joy” “is sown for the righteous” (v11). What do you think the Psalmist means to say?

Personal relfection and prayer

God is an awesome King who rules in righteousness and justice; even in the Old Testament the coming of his kingdom was anticipated and celebrated.

  1. Reflect on your government and its political arena. Can you say of it that “righteousness and justice are the foundation” of this government?  Why/ why not?
    1. Pray for God’s kingdom to come – starting in your heart and home! Then pray for “righteousness and justice” in your land.
  2. Reflect on the society of today. Would you rather describe it as being “joyful” or “fearful”? Why/why not?
    1. Pray for God’s kingdom to come – starting in your heart and home! Pray that “Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets… And [that] the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.” (Zechariah 8:4-5)

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