This is a long psalm, consisting of ten stanzas plus an opening theme verse and two closing ones (according to the New International Version). It begins with a summons to Israel to praise God, picking up the second line of verse 1: "His love endures forever” (vv. 2-4).

Psalm 117 is so short that any number of commentators try to tack it on to Psalm 116, as an appendage, or join it to Psalm 118 as a prelude. It is neither, of course. Psalm 117 stands by itself as one of the great short psalms of the Psalter, in fact, the shortest. Nevertheless, it is a fit introduction to Psalm 118, for its major message—“great is his (God's] love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever" (v. 2)—is what Psalm 118 elaborates at length. 

There is one more word we need to look at before I bring this study of the shortest psalm to a close, and that is the word rendered “faithfulness” in verse 2. Actually it is the word "amen,” and it can equally well be translated "truth,” “steadfastness” or “reliability.” In the New Testament, in the words of Jesus it is often rendered, “Truly, truly.” 

There is more to this psalm than what I have explained so far this week. I have taken the “great” in verse 2 in our normal English sense, as something that is large, remarkable, distinguished or superior. But while this is true, many of the commentators also note that in Hebrew the word has the sense of someone or something having “prevailed” over something else because of its superior qualities.

In yesterday's study we noted that the gospel was to be extended to the Gentiles. The second thing we need to notice about Psalm 117 is that the reason the Gentiles (along with Jews) are called upon to praise God is God's love, for it is a love that "endures forever” (v. 2).