Middle

Psalms 117:1-2 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. [2] For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

Several years ago when I was pastor at Rock Hill Baptist Church in West Tennessee we had a revival. I invited one of my dear friends and a fellow Pastor to preach that revival, and God really blessed us during that time. One night he preached a message called “The Middle Verse Of The Bible”. He said:

There are 594 chapters before Psalm 118
There are 594 chapters after Psalm 118
If you add 594 + 594 you will get 1188
and the exact middle verse of the Bible is Psalm 118:8

What is Psalm 118:8? We read

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

My friend then went on to preach a wonderful message on trusting God and not trusting man. When I heard that sermon I said to myself “I just have to preach that sermon! That is fantastic!” The sermon was great, and it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. I wanted to preach that sermon, but when I researched and studied the text I found out:

Psalm 118:8 is NOT the center verse of the Bible
There are NOT 594 chapters before Psalm 118. There are 595
There ARE 1189 NOT 1188 chapters in the Bible

Though my friend preached a good text, he erred because he put his trust in man.

He got his information from MY favorite preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Spurgeon wrote in his book Treasury of David in his commentary on Psalm 118:8

this 8th verse of this Psalm is the middle verse of the Bible.
There are, I believe, 31,174 verses in all, and this is the 15,587th.”

Spurgeon was wrong.

Of course, we are all wrong at times, even when we try our best. There is no exact center verse of the Bible. The Bible has 31,102 verses, and if you have an even number of verses there can be no middle verse. The TWO middle verses of the Bible are actually …

Psalms 103:1-2 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. [2] Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

To BLESS the Lord.
To PRAISE the Lord for all that He has done.
The Middle Verses tell us to PRAISE GOD.
The MIDDLE and SHORTEST CHAPTER of the Bible is our text for today,

Psalms 117:1-2 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. [2] For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

The Middle of the Bible – whether verses or chapter – tells us to PRAISE THE LORD.
You are in the center of God’s Will when you are PRAISING HIM.
This is not optional – but a command!

The Scripture tells us repeatedly …

Psalms 7:17 I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.

Psalms 22:26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.

Psalms 107:8, 15, 21, 31 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Psalms 111:1 Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.

Psalms 115:18 But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD.

Psalms 135:3 Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.

Psalms 146:2 While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

1 We Praise The Lord Because He Offers Salvation To All. Jesus Died In The Middle – To Tear Down The Middle Wall Of Sin For Whosoever Will. Our text states:

Psalms 117:1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. 

The Bible commands that we praise the Lord. The Psalmist said “praise the Lord”. But the last part of this text:

Praise the Lord, all ye NATIONS
Praise Him, all ye PEOPLE

is not redundant. The People of God in the Old Testament were the Jews, the Israelites by birth.

The word translated “Nations” is the Hebrew word גּוֹי gôy (pronounced go’ee), which is a reference to GENTILE Nations. The GENTILE Nations were the FIRST to be commanded to praise the Lord, and then command was followed by ISRAEL.

Praise the Lord you Gentiles – Praise the Lord Israel!

The Israelite reading this Psalm from the Hebrew hymn book would ask the question:

Why should the GENTILES praise the Lord?
Are not WE the Chosen People of God?
Are not we “His people and the sheep of His pasture?”
Are not we the Children of Abraham?

The Bible does tell us that to the ….

Romans 9:4-5 …. Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; [5] Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

God promised unto Abraham a people that would be blessed, a people that would one day be called Israel. When God made His Covenant with Abraham there were two promises made for blessing: one for Israel, and one for all the nations.

Genesis 18:17-18 …. Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; {18} Seeing that Abraham shall SURELY BECOME A GREAT AND MIGHTY NATION, AND ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED IN HIM?

The Covenant that God made with Abraham our mutual father (for He is the father of faith to all that believe. See Romans 4:16) was that:

  • Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation (this is Israel), and

  • all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him (this is the Gentile nations).

God would have His Israel, but He would also have His Church. He would save the believing Jew, but He would also save the believing Gentile.

This was prophesied – not only in Psalm 117:1, but also in

Hosea 2:23 … I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.

God’s salvation would be “of the Jews” but it would not be just “to the Jews”. It was God’s intent from the very beginning to bring salvation to whosoever would believe in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Though the Old Testament Jews would forget this, God would not. Every sacrifice made in the Temple would point to the Blood Atonement that would be offered to all in Christ one day.

The Gentiles were to praise God because they would be alongside Israel in the middle of His Plan of Salvation.

There are TWO BEAUTIFUL THREADS that run through Scripture: the Red Thread of Redemption, and the Golden Thread of praise to our God.

Israel forgot that God is no respecter of persons so stopped sharing the Gospel, stopped telling the Gentiles of the Messiah. Yet when Jesus Christ came He said:

John 10:16 And OTHER SHEEP I HAVE, WHICH ARE NOT OF THIS FOLD: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

This was not a new idea. God from the beginning wanted to save whosoever will through His Son. Israel considered us who are Gentiles:

Ephesians 2:12 “…. aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world..”

But God said NO. The Bible says:

Ephesians 2:13-15 But now in Christ Jesus ye who .. were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 

Jesus Christ broke down the barrier of sin that stood between us and God.
Jesus Christ is the God-Man in the Middle of Calvary,
Paving The Way To Heaven with His Blood

By faith in Him there is nothing keeping us from a daily and eternal relationship with God as our Father, the Son as our Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit as our Guide. Jesus Christ covered our sins so that we CAN be right with God. Praise God for the words of Scripture:

1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: {2} And HE IS THE PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS: AND NOT FOR OURS ONLY, BUT ALSO FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD.

And again:

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. [18] He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Jesus Christ is that Man in the Middle of Calvary. To His right and left are thieves that deserve death. At His feet are people casting lots for His clothing – gambling for the only earthly possession He had. There is John, and Peter, and the others who denied Him as we have all so often done. Yet Jesus God became the Man in the Middle, dying for us, so that the sin that stood between us and God could be covered.

We are saved by Him, by His Blood. We must praise Him for all that He has done for us.

2 Focus On God’s Mercy And You Will Be Driven To Praise. It Is Our Praise That Draws God Close To Us. We choose our walk. Walk with God and see the impossible become possible – or walk apart from God and stay in the mundane and mediocre. The Psalmist wrote:

Psalms 117:1-2 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. [2] FOR his merciful kindness is great toward us:

We do not earn or deserve what God has done for us. What He has given us in Christ is a FREE GIFT. The Bible says:

Romans 5:15-18 But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. [16] And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. [17] For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) [18] Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

The Offense – that Old Sin Nature that separates us from God and that is upon us all – was a “Free Gift” that we received from Adam. Adam’s free gift brought death on us all. But to those who have believed on Christ we have received a BETTER FREE GIFT. The Free Gift we have from Christ does not bring condemnation, but eternal life. We are saved by faith in the Christ.

We did not earn nor deserve Adam’s gift – it is thrust upon us by birth.
We do not earn nor deserve Christ’s gift.
It is offered freely, and bestowed on us at NEW birth.

Our praise to God reminds us that we are His, and the sheep of His pasture. Our praise to God also keeps us away from MURMURING and PRIDE. Theologian and Scholar Dr Harry Ironside said …

“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” (Harry Ironside)

You can MAGNIFY God or you can MURMUR.
You can PRAISE or be consumed of PRIDE.
Focus on SELF and you will SUFFER.
Focus on the SAVIOR and you will SHINE for Him.

Magnify God you will focus on Him, and be sustained by His Presence as you go through your trials. If you murmur you will focus on your misery, and will succumb and eventually drown in your trials. Glorify God and gain the Promised Land!

Why did Israel lose the Promised Land?
Because they stopped MAGNIFYING God and started MURMURING.

Moses warned Israel:

Exodus 16:8 …. the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, BUT AGAINST THE LORD.

They would not heed Moses’ warning. So eventually the Lord told His people:

Numbers 14:27-30 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. [28] Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: [29] Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, [30] Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.

God hears our murmuring – and hears our praise.

The Scripture tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). When we praise the Lord He hears, and draws near to us. He walks with a people that praise Him – but stands apart from those people who murmur and find fault.

If you are born again, a believer and a Son of God by faith in Christ, then it is your eternal destiny to praise God. Heaven is a place where we will praise Him for His merciful kindness.

Revelation 19:5-6 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. {6} And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Please note that Psalm 117 begins and ends with praise the LORD.

  • Begin your day by praising the Lord and thanking Him for loving us.

  • End your day not falling asleep in front of the television, but in praising Him.

  • Whatever your hand sees to do, do it for the Lord as the Apostle said:

Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV) And whatever you do, do it HEARTILY, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

  • Our lives should be focused on glorifying our Savior and Lord. Jesus said:

Luke 11:34-36 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. [35] TAKE HEED THEREFORE that the light which is in thee be not darkness. [36] If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

If David the Shepherd had focused on the size of Goliath and not the size of His God he would have never went out to do battle. But looking solely at God and hearing His Word David went to Goliath with a sling and a stone and defeated him. Our God is able!

  • If Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego focused on the anger of the King or the heat of the fiery furnace they would have bowed their knees along with all of Babylon, worshiping the golden idol. Yet their focus was on the Great I AM, the God of all the Universe. When commanded to kneel they replied without hesitation …

Daniel 3:17 … our God whom WE SERVE is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

Praising God as they went into the fiery furnace, they came out of that flame triumphant in Christ. The Bible says …

Daniel 3:27 … the fire had no power, nor was a hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

  • If Paul and Silas had focused on the crowd they would have given up and the Word of God would not have spread throughout Asia. But beaten and cast in jail neither Paul nor Silas focused on the bleeding welt on their backs nor on the darkness of the prison. Their eyes were on Jesus. The Bible says:

Acts 16:25-26 And at midnight Paul and Silas PRAYED, and SANG PRAISES UNTO God: and the prisoners heard them. {26} And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

Praise God in your trials. Start your day with prayer and by reading and meditating on His Word. Praise God in your work. Praise God without ceasing. Praise Him on the Mountain and in the Valley.

Then you will be in the Middle – the Center – of God’s Will. Then you will be blessed.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. I am looking for the Church. Most of what I see today is not the Church, but clubs, where members sit in padded pews and drink deeply of self. I am looking for a people willing to be righteous not self righteous, serving not served, In short, I am looking and praying for a people who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. I hope I find this people before it's too late.
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