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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

October 02 2023

Today, Monday October 02

“Sing to the LORD a New Song”

Psalm 98:1-9

A Psalm

1 Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous 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 remembered 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 sea 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 before the LORD,

9 For He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world, And the peoples with equity.

Psalm 98 was the psalm Isaac Watts found the inspiration for his popular hymn "Joy to the World," that we often sing as a Christmas carol. But more accurately it really is a "kingdom hymn." Watts described Christ's second advent and not His first, the Messianic kingdom and not the manger. Another interesting thing is that Psalm 98 is very similar to Psalm 96 but not identical. They both begin with “Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!”

This psalm was written to praise the Lord for a great victory over Israel's enemies ("salvation," vv. 1-3), perhaps the victory of the Medes and Persians over Babylon (Dan. 5) that led to the return of the Jewish exiles to their land (Ezra 1). Some of the vocabulary in the psalm reflects the language of Isaiah the prophet, who in chapters 40-66 of his book wrote about the "exodus" of the Jews from Babylon (44:23; 49:13; 51:3; 52:9-10; 59:16; 63:5). But the psalm also speaks of a future judgment (vv. 7-9).

In verses 1-3, we see the people of Israel singing about the LORD’s marvelous salvation. The focus in this section is on the Jewish people and the wonderful new demonstration of God's power they had seen. It was so great it demanded a new song from His people (Psalm 33:3; 96:1). What God did for Israel was a witness to the Gentile nations and a vivid demonstration of His faithfulness to His covenant and His love for His chosen people. But surely the writer was looking beyond a mere local victory, for he wrote about the witness of this event to the nations (v. 2), the earth (vv. 3, 4,9), and the world (vv. 7, 9). It also appears that the psalm points ahead to the return of Jesus Christ. (See Isaiah 52:1-10.)

In verses 4-6, there is a joyous celebration as the command goes out to all nations of the earth to shout joyfully in praise to the Lord for what He had done for Israel, and the emphasis is on the King (v. 6). Again, we are reminded of what the prophet Isaiah wrote concerning the Jewish "exodus" from Babylon (Isa. 14:7; 44:23; 49:13; 52:9; 54:1; 55:12). But the shout was only the beginning, for singing and the playing of instruments followed. Loud music played and sung with enthusiasm was characteristics of Jewish worship (2 Chron. 5:11-14; Ezra 3:10-13; Neh. 12:27-43).

In verses 7-9, the psalmist gives us a glorious expectation of the LORD as Deliverer and King who will come as the Judge to deal with the world as He once dealt with the kingdom of Babylon. He had seen Israel delivered from bondage (vv. 1-3) and he had heard the nations of the world praising the Lord (vv. 4-6). Now he heard all creation eagerly anticipating the Lord's return, for the second advent of Jesus sets creation free from the bondage of sin caused by Adam's fall (Rom. 8:18-25).

“The seas roars… the rivers clap their hands….” (v. 7-8a). The lapping of the waves of the sea on the shore sounds to him like a prayer to the Lord and the flowing of the river like applause in response to the announcement, "The King is coming!" “Let the hills be joyful together…” (v. 8b). The play of the wind on the mountains sounded like a song of praise. (Isa. 55:12.) All nature combined to sing, "Even so come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20). There will come a day when all wrongs will be righted and all sins will be judged, and the Judge will bring justice and equity to the earth.

Today, we not only sing the “old song” of creation, we sing a “new song” of redemption, which we will continue to sing for eternity around the LORD’s throne in heaven!

God bless!

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