Here is the place to notice how Paul cites Psalm 117:1 near the end of a significant section of Romans (Rom. 14:1–15:13). This long section deals with how Christians who consider themselves “strong” should treat their “weaker” brothers and sisters, and how the “weak” should regard the “strong.” As usual, Paul ends the section by citing proofs from the Old Testament, in this case Psalm 18:49 (in v. 9), Deuteronomy 32:43 (in v. 10), Psalm 117:1 (in v. 11) and Isaiah 11:10 (in v. 12). The surprising thing is that the texts he cites do not deal with the relationship between weaker and stronger people specifically but rather are prophecies that the gospel would one day be extended to the Gentiles.

The first striking feature of this psalm is that it calls upon all nations and all peoples to praise God. “Nations” is the Hebrew word goyim, often translated “gentiles,” though it does mean nations strictly speaking. It is sometimes used even for Israel itself. “Peoples” is a rare plural form of the word am, which has to do with the wide diversity found in national and ethnic groupings. Together the words mean all peoples everywhere, precisely the sense present in Revelation 7:9, where John speaks of “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.” 

The last half of this psalm (vv. 12-19) asks, "How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?" How can we repay the Lord for his goodness? What can we give him? He needs nothing. There is nothing we can give to enrich God. In Romans 11 Paul asks this very question rhetorically; “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him" (v. 35)? The obvious answer is no one, of course. No one can give God anything. Why? "For from him and through him and to him are all things" (v. 36). Every good gift comes from God. It is never the other way around. 

The experience of his having been sick, of having prayed and of having God answer him so clearly and powerfully left such an impression on the psalmist that he spent some time reflecting on it. In yesterday's study, we looked at three reflections, which are presented in random order: 1) “The LORD is gracious and righteous ...full of compassion” (v. 5); 2) “The LORD protects the simplehearted” (v. 6); and 3) “Be at rest once more, O my soul” (v. 7). Today we look at two more reflections from this second part of the psalm. 

As we noted in yesterday's study, verses 10 and 11 are hard to understand, and the result has been somewhat different translations in the versions. Roy Clements spells out four possible translations before settling finally on the NIV rendering. We looked at the first two possible translations yesterday, and continue with the second two in today's study.