Many believers may not understand the profound importance of what Psalm 117 teaches because of its brevity–it is the shortest chapter in the Bible.
Psalm 117:1 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.
In spite of its brevity, examining how the NT uses Psalm 117:1 makes clear the profound importance of that teaching in a way that any believer can readily understand.
The Use of Psalm 117:1 in Romans 15:11
The following comparison shows that Romans 15:11 cites verse 1 of Psalm 117:
Psalm 117:1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
Romans 15:11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.
The first two words of Romans 15:11 show that Paul cites Psalm 117:1 as biblical proof of what he teaches earlier in the passage:
Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.
Specifically, Paul teaches that Psalm 117:1 is proof that “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God” in order that “the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy”! The NT thus instructs us that Psalm 117:1 is a divine mandate to all the Gentiles and all people to glorify God by praising and lauding Him!
Because glorifying God is the premier obligation toward God that every human being has, we see the profound importance of what Psalm 117:1 teaches about what God mandates. Moreover, because Psalm 117:2 explains the bases for that divine demand and reiterates the divine demand of praising Him given in Psalm 117:1, we learn that Psalm 117 emphatically makes known the universal obligation for all humans to glorify God by praising Him for His mercy!
God wants all the world to glorify Him by praising Him for His mercy. We must use Psalm 117 to make known to all men everywhere the divine mandates for them to do so!