Sunday 27 February 2011 – Psalm 98

Singing angel choristers
Oh sing to the LORD a new song!

This is one of my favourite Psalms. I love it because it talks about the majesty of God and His splendour! 😉

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Psalm 98

1. Oh sing to the LORD a new song!

For He has done marvellous things;

His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.

2. The LORD has made known His salvation;

His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.

3. He has rememebered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

4. Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth;

Break forth in song, rejoice and sing praises.

5. Sing to the LORD with the harp,With the harp and the sound of a psalm.

6. With trumpets and the sound of a horn;

Shout joyfully before the LORD, the King.

7. Let the earth roar and all its fullness,

The world and those who dwell in it;

8. Let the rivers clap their hands;

Let the hills be joyful together

9. before the LORD,

for He is coming to judge the earth.

With righteousness He shall judge the world,

And the peoples with equity.

Analysis added Sunday 8th May 2011
This Psalm is one of what I call the Praise Psalms (along with Psalms 96, 97, 99 and 100). These are some of my favourite Psalms because whenever I read them I feel so joyful.

I love the fact that God is a glorious God and He is in complete control over the whole world, and different aspects of life. When things can seem to be out of control in my life, it makes me feel so happy to know that there is not a single thing that could possibly happen that God could not instantly resolve – instantly!

Going to the Psalm, then: verse 1 tells us that we should sing to the LORD a new song! No matter what generation we live in, God’s greatness is sufficiently compelling for us to be constantly using our creativity to think up new songs, or new ways of praising Him. This is because He has done marvellous things, (and He continues to do marvellous things…)

verse 2: God has not hidden His great salvation, or His great powers of salvation. Instead, He has made it know. He has revealed His righteousness “in the sight of the nations”, or to all people. As a Christian living after the earthly life of Christ, I can say that this verse can be referring to the salvation offered by the life and death of Jesus, and recently celebrated at Easter. However, I believe that it must also have made sense and been true before Jesus lived on earth. I believe that to people living before the time of Christ the concept of God “not hiding His salvation” could have been true in the sense that surprising, miraculous things would have happened then for different people in all nations (as they continue to happen now – people mysteriously surviving freak accidents, people generally leading peaceful and joyful lives) – leading people to acknowledge that there must be a kind God, and to give thanks to Him.

Similarly, I believe that the idea of God revealing His righteousness in the sight of the nations could refer to the fact that most nations or people groups develop laws or rules of conduct that generally correspond to Biblical laws. For instance, most countries have laws similar to “Do not murder”…”Do not steal”. Moreover, in addition to these general laws, countless wise people and holy books have encouraged behaviour that goes beyond just national laws. This behaviour includes things such as loving your enemies, or honouring your parents, or respecting your elders. These are things which come from observation, which are rarely enshrined in national laws, and yet and encouraged by wise teachings all over the world, and through different periods of time. These are some of the ways that demonstrate that God has indeed revealed His righteousness in the sight of all nations.

verse 3: “He has remembered His mercy”… the house of Israel were, and continue to be, God’s special people, through whom He revealed His love for the world. Yet even so, God’s salvation has extended to the ends of the earth.

Verse 4 informs us of an appropriate response to all this – that the whole earth should shout joyfully to the LORD. The whole earth should break forth into song, should rejoice, and should sing praises.

Verse 5: God’s praises should be sung in a variety of ways: through instruments ( a harp), through instruments and singing (the sound of a Psalm), with a variety of instruments (a trumpet, a horn, the human voice: a shout). We are not to whisper the praises of God, rather knowledge of His great goodness is to provoke a passionate response from us, we are to “shout joyfully” before our God, not only our master, but a genuinely involved personality, a King.

verse 7: The praise is not just restricted to human beings – literally the whole world is to sing the praises of God: with the world: the sea also is to roar in praise of the LORD, the rivers are to clap their hands, the hills are to rejoice together in praise of the LORD.

For this great God shall judge the world and its inhabitants fairly: this is emphasised in the final verse with two words for justice – righteousness, and equity. So God shall judge the world with His holiness and purity – “righteousness”, and with fairness – “equity”.

Amen! 😉
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