Read 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.
The book of 1 Samuel first introduces us to Saul, the first Israelite king. In sharp contrast to Saul’s life, we see the true king extolled in Psalm 98. Although it may be short, it is packed with beautiful images of praise to the Lord. Verse 1 opens with “sing a new song to the Lord, for He has performed wonders; His right hand and holy arm have won Him victory.” The occasion in which the psalm was written is unknown, but clearly it contains a triumphant tribute to the Lord. Notice it instructs participants to sing a new song; God is continually at work which should inspire fresh and dynamic worship to Him. The psalmist recounts how the victory has revealed God’s righteousness, love, and faithfulness in plain sight of the nations. Nothing has been hidden but is visible to all Israel and to the ends of the earth as the unfolding work of redemption is displayed.
What should the response be to His marvelous works? The verbs imply a celebration of all the earth with shouts of joy and jubilation, singing, and blasts of the ram’s horn in the presence of the Lord. The sea, rivers, and mountains are also invited into the worship and praise before the Lord. If you have ever watched ocean waves crash on shore, it’s easy to embrace this element of praise. All creation was made for God’s glory and to declare His praises. He inhabits the praises of His people as the enemy is rendered powerless.
The praise described in this psalm is not only for the marvelous things the Lord has done, but also for the work He will do in the future. The last verse states, “He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.” What a consolation for all creation that has suffered under the sin and rebellion of mankind! In the ancient world, justice was rare – and this is still true sometimes. Judges were bribed or turned by ideology and prejudice. The idea of a coming judgment with equity was a great relief to those who were often oppressed and denied justice (Guzman).
- Do you notice the marvelous works of God, or do you take them for granted?
- What distractions do you need to remove from your life to become more aware of Him?
- How does your life exhibit praise, honor and gratitude for the wonders He performs – past, present, and future?
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