“Praise the LORD, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Praise the LORD.”—Psalm 117: 1–2
Bible trivia question: What’s the shortest psalm? The answer: Psalm 117, with a total of two verses.
The Sages explain that this psalm is about the messianic era. The brevity of the psalm symbolizes the clarity that will reign in those days. In those days, everything will come down to the one idea expressed in this psalm: Everyone on the face of the planet will recognize the Lord and praise Him. Peace on earth and righteousness will abound. Life will be clear, easy, and simple.
The prophet Zechariah also expressed this idea and said: “The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD” (Zechariah 14:9). The Sages ask: Isn’t the Lord already the only God? Hasn’t the Lord been King since the beginning of time?
The answer is yes. And no.
One time a woman approached a rabbi to complain that her son was getting into religion. She didn’t like it one bit. She said, “I don’t believe in God!” She was expecting a lecture on the evidence of God’s existence, but the rabbi just said: “So don’t.” Shocked, the woman replied, “How can you say that?” The rabbi said, “If you want to live in a godless world, then go ahead.”
In other words, for a person who doesn’t believe in God, in a way, there is no God. There are no rules to live by, no meaning to the events in life, and certainly no one to turn to when things get rough. If we don’t believe in God, in a way, He isn’t there.
Take eating as an analogy. Some people don’t believe that what they eat will have any negative effect, so for them, there are no rules about what they eat. They feel good and enjoy all kinds of food, believing that good nutrition is a hoax. Until one day they find themselves overweight, with clogged arteries, high blood pressure and diabetes. That’s when they begin to believe that there is such a thing as eating healthy, and so they begin to live differently.
The same thing will happen in messianic times. Many people live life as though God does not exist. So in a way, for them, He doesn’t. He can’t be there to comfort and guide them if they refuse to see Him! But one day, it will be clear to the whole world that God does exist. On that day, everyone will accept Him as their King and live their lives accordingly.
Make “that day” today. The more we believe in God, the more we will experience His love and guidance right now. Why wait?
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President