I recognize that my arc may not be completely accurate, but I wanted to provide something for others to compare to their own work. I welcome your comments and critiques. In studying this passage, I found Derek Kidner's commentary to be a valuable resource.
Main point summary
In Psalm 97 we see that the holiness of God affects how God rules and reigns as king, how man sees him, how God interacts with mankind and judges sin, and how man worships him.
OUTLINE : 1. God is the Holy King (1-6) a. clouds and thick darkness b. righteousness and justice c. fire and lightning 2. God is the Most High God (7-9) a. worshippers of false gods b. daughters of Zion 3. God is the Certain Deliverer (10-12) a. hate evil b. rejoice
a The Lord 1 reigns,
x The Lord reigns ,
YHWH rules and reigns as King!
let the b earth rejoice;
y let the earth rejoice ;
SO, rejoice, O inhabitants of Earth!
Let the many 2 c islands be glad.
let the many z coastlands be glad!
Let the gladness of this news spread even to the farthest outposts of the world.
a Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;
a Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
In describing his reign, God (his character) is unapproachably holy; he is surrounded by clouds and thick darkness. Man cannot see or know this holy God.
b Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
b righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
But man can/should know that This holy God's reign is grounded in righteousness and justice. What he does is right and good.
a Fire goes before Him
c Fire goes before him
God's holiness is [REVEALED?] in fiery, righteous judgment that goes out before him;
And b burns up His adversaries round about.
and burns up his adversaries all around.
it is irresistible and all-consuming, burning up any and all those who oppose all around him.
His a lightnings lit up the world;
His d lightnings light up the world;
God's holiness is terrifying lightning that lights up the whole dark world.
The earth saw
the earth sees
A darkened world sees this and is seen (revealed),
and b trembled.
and e trembles .
and the people tremble at being seen by and seeing the terror of a holy and righteous God.
The mountains a melted like wax at the presence of the Lord , At the presence of the b Lord of the whole earth.
The mountains f melt like g wax before the Lord , before h the Lord of all the earth.
Even the mountains offer no place to hide; they melt like wax before this holy God, YHWH, the Lord of the whole earth, who comes to judge. And all will face his judgment.
The a heavens declare His righteousness,
i The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
The heavens, the skies above, declare YHWH's righteousness.
And b all the peoples have seen His glory.
and all j the peoples see his glory.
As a result, every single person see his awesome glory.
Let all those be ashamed who serve a graven images,
All worshipers of images are k put to shame,
All those people who worship and serve carved images and gods will be put to shame
Who boast themselves of b idols;
who make their boast in l worthless idols;
These are those people who boast in the power and might of a god that is worthless and of no good to them.
1 c Worship Him, all you 2 gods.
m worship him, all you gods !
For all these false gods are not like the one, true God. They fall down before him!
Zion 1 heard this
Zion, the city of God, hears
and a was glad,
and n is glad,
and the people of God's city are very glad to hear it.
And the daughters of Judah have rejoiced Because of Your judgments, O Lord .
and the daughters of Judah rejoice , because of your judgments, O Lord .
Yes, they rejoice because of your righteous judgments, O YHWH.
For You are the Lord a Most High over all the earth;
For you, O Lord , are o most high over all the earth;
Because, you, O YHWH, are the Most High Being over all the earth;
You are exalted far b above all 1 gods.
you are exalted far above p all gods.
that is, you are exalted far above all of the false gods of the peoples.
a Hate evil, you who love the Lord ,
O you who love the Lord , q hate evil!
So, therefore, O lovers of YHWH, hate evil!
Who b preserves the souls of His godly ones;
He r preserves the lives of his s saints;
For YHWH preserves and guards the souls of his godly saints.
He c delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
he t delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
That is, YHWH saves and delivers them from the hold of the wicked.
a Light is sown like seed for the righteous
u Light v is sown 1 for the righteous,
For light is sown like seed for those who are righteous,
And b gladness for the upright in heart.
and joy for the upright in heart.
likewise, joy and gladness are sown for those who are upright in heart.
Be a glad in the Lord , you righteous ones,
w Rejoice in the Lord , O you righteous,
Also, be glad and rejoice in YHWH, you righteous ones,
And b give thanks 1 to His holy name.
and x give thanks to his holy name!
and give thanks to his holy name.
Doctrines : The SOVEREIGNTY/Kingship of God The HOLINESS of God (i.e. 2,3,4,5) the majesty of God (6ff)
This Psalm informs us how to worship, and it does this by reminding us of: who we worship, of the peril of idolatry, and of how we are to live out our worship of God in the pursuit of holiness. This Psalm easily divides into three parts. Those parts are: the reign of the Lord over the whole world v1-6; the reign of the Lord over false gods — v7-9; the reign of the Lord and the rejoicing and righteousness of His people. v 10-12. -Ligon Duncan
v2a - God's character >we can't see God or really know him v2b - God's reign >but God operates by righteous and just decrees v3 - God's judgment >therefore God righteously justly judges sin >this is how God is revealed to sinful man v4 - God's ____ Fear?/Terror? >this judgment strikes fear in the hearts of those under God's judgment
the glory of God is his righteousness - that he rules in righteousness (v2)