Weds 1st March - Psalm 98
1 Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.
Meditation on Psalm 98
As we read Psalm 98 we may be thinking, ‘I’ve read this before’ and flick back two psalms and realise the similarities. But then, if we have a look at some of the other nearby psalms, we realise the same thing.
Psalm 95:1 ‘Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.’
Psalm 96:1 ‘Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.’
Psalm 100:1 ‘Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.’
Psalm 101:1 ‘I will sing of your love and your justice; to you, LORD, I will sing praise.’
A. A NEW SONG Verse 1
As in Psalm 96, so now in Psalm 98, we are encouraged to sing a ‘new song.’
In 1822 John Keble wrote a hymn which is probably not sung much today but which encourages us to think of the newness of God’s love, the newness of His mercies and the newness of our thoughts of God.
New every morning is the love our wakening and uprising prove; through sleep and darkness safely brought, restored to life and power and thought. New mercies, each returning day, hover around us while we pray; new perils past, new sins forgiven, new thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.
The psalmist reminds us of the ‘marvellous things that the LORD has done’. As we go through some of the psalms on Sunday mornings, we will come across some of these marvellous things. For example, forgiveness and assurance. In Psalm 98 we read about ‘His salvation’; ‘His righteousness’; ‘His love’; ‘His faithfulness’; ‘His judgments’.
Each of us can think about our relationship with Him and sing songs of praise and worship as we meditate on these attributes.
The psalmist speaks about ‘His right hand and His holy arm’. These speak of the way of victory, as seen in other references. For example: Exodus 6:6 where God says to Moses, “Therefore say to the Israelites: I am the LORD and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.”
Deuteronomy 4:34 ‘Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
Deuteronomy 5:15 ‘Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.’
Isaiah 52:10 ‘The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth.’
B. A REVELATION Verses 2-3
He has made His salvation known.
He has revealed His righteousness.
He has remembered His love. He has remembered His faithfulness to Israel.
We read of this in Isaiah 46:13 when God is reminding His people that He alone is God and there is no other. He says to His people, Israel, “I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed.” In Isaiah 51:5-6 and 8 God is speaking about the everlasting salvation for Zion. He says to His people, “My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail… my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations.”
Spurgeon says, ‘The Lord is to be praised, not only for effecting human salvation, but also for making it known, for man would never have discovered it for himself.’
For us today, we are taken back to the Christmas story when we remember the message of the angel to the shepherds – “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.”
His love is the central theme of His salvation – ‘For God loved the world so much, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.’
And we know that God is faithful to His children today as He was to His people Israel, even though they had sinned.
The salvation of God is reaching around the world and millions of people are coming to faith in Christ as they ‘see the salvation of God’.
C. A MUSICAL CELEBRATION Verses 4-6
No need to feel shy or ashamed about ‘making a joyful noise to the Lord’! The psalmist encourages us to celebrate…
· ‘shout for joy to the LORD’
· ‘burst into jubilant song’
· ‘make music to the LORD’
Use a variety of musical instruments – the harp, trumpets, the ram’s horn + the sound of singing.
This is not for a small group of people or one nation but ‘all the earth’.
We have good reason to celebrate when we consider all that the Lord has done for us; all that He is doing for us as He ‘ever lives to make intercession for us’ and all that He will one day do for us when He calls us home to heaven. What does Paul say to the Corinthians? ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived – the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.’
(1 Corinthians 2:9)
D. A CREATION CELEBRATION Verses 7-9
It’s not just the people who are to praise the Lord.
It’s not just the instruments that are leading the praise and the singing.
It’s the whole of creation.
· the sea and everything in the sea
· the world and all the people
· the rivers will clap their hands
· the mountains will sing together for joy.
And, whilst, as Paul says, ‘the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time’, we know that one day, yet to come, there will be ‘a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away’. (Revelation 21:1) Then we hear the voice of Him who is seated on the throne, “I am making everything new”.
He is the righteous judge and He will judge the peoples justly.
‘Even so, come Lord Jesus.’
Charles Wesley sums it all up in this great hymn, which he published in 1744:
1. Rejoice, the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore; Rejoice, give thanks, and sing, and triumph evermore; Lift up your heart, lift up your voice; Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
2. Jesus, the Saviour, reigns, the God of truth and love; When He had purged our stains, He took His seat above; Lift up your heart, lift up your voice; Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
3. His kingdom cannot fail, He rules o’er earth and Heav’n, The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus given; Lift up your heart, lift up your voice; Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
4. Rejoice in glorious hope! Jesus the Judge shall come, And take His servants up to their eternal home; We soon shall hear the archangel’s voice; the trump of God shall sound, rejoice!