Tuesday, August 15, 2023

2023.08.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 98

Read Psalm 98

Questions from the Scripture text: What does this Psalm call itself (superscript)? What does Psalm 98:1a command us to do? To Whom? What sort of song? Why (verse 1b)? What is the first of thee marvelous things, and how did He gain it (verse 1c)? What has He done about this salvation (Psalm 98:2a)? What did it show about Him (verse 2b)? In Whose sight has He revealed it? What two things has He remembered (Psalm 98:3a)? Unto whom? Who have seen this (verse 3b)? What does verse 3b call it? What new command does Psalm 98:4a give? What sort of shout? Unto Whom? By whom? What does the shouting burst into (verse 4b)? What two things are they to do in this singing? What command does Psalm 98:5a give? Unto Whom are they to Psalm? With what? With what four priestly instruments (Psalm 98:5-6a)? What command does Psalm 98:6b repeat? What sort of shout? Unto Whom? What office does He hold? What else is commanded to do what (Psalm 98:7a)? How much of it? What else (verse 7b)? And who else? What else is commanded to do what (Psalm 98:8a)? And what else to do what else (verse 8b)? Before Whom? Why, what is He doing (Psalm 98:9a)? Why is He coming? How will He judge whom in verse 9b? And how whom in verse 9c?

Who is to praise YHWH, in what manner, in the last day? Psalm 98 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nine verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that in Day of Judgment, believers from all nations will sing and shout joyfully over the Lord, together with a liberated creation.  

A new song for a new day. Like Psalm 96, this Psalm commands a new song. And, like Psalm 96, all creation is singing it at the coming of YHWH to judge the earth. The Lord has given us instruction in Scripture about His coming to judge the earth, not only so that we will live soberly in light of eternity, and so that we will be confident about His vindicating and avenging us eventually, but so that we will sing His praise for it already, now! So that we will shout joyfully over Him, now!

Marvelous works of the marvelous God. The first reason given for singing is, “for He has done marvelous things” (Psalm 98:1b). God’s works aren’t just actions, they are revelations. Because it is “His right hand” that gains the victory and “His holy arm” that gains the victory (verse 1c), His victory is a “making known” (Psalm 98:2a) and a “revealing” (verse 2b). He doesn’t just do marvelous works; He displays that He is a marvelous God!

Covenantal redemption with cosmos-wide celebration. The fulfillment of the great commission (cf. Matthew 28:18–20) is behind this song. In His salvation, the Lord remembered (acted upon) His steadfast love and faithfulness toward the house of Israel (Psalm 98:3a). But the Israel that He has gathered is “in the sight of the nations” (Psalm 98:2c), so that “all the ends of the earth have seen” this salvation. Indeed, “all the earth” not only sees but shouts (Psalm 98:4a) and sings (verse 4b). And the whole creation joins in (Psalm 98:7-8). It is eager for the “great reveal” of the sons of God (cf. Romans 8:19), at which time it will be delivered to participate in their freedom (cf. Romans 8:21).

Noisy, joyous worship. Psalm 98:4-6 are bookended with a command to “shout joyfully” (Psalm 98:4a, Psalm 98:6b). The command to sing in Psalm 98:4b is technically a command to “burst out.” Song is the content of this bursting out. The whole creation joins, roaring (Psalm 98:7a) and clapping (Psalm 98:8a) and rejoicing (verse 8b). And dwellers of the whole world (Psalm 98:7b) round out the company. There is an amplitude commanded in this component of worship. 

But there is also an attitude commanded: “joyfully” (Psalm 98:4a), “rejoice” (verse 4b), “joyfully” (Psalm 98:6b). At the time of the temple, the Levitical priesthood would assist and accompany this joy by a bevy of instruments (cf. 1 Chronicles 15:16, 1 Chronicles 25:1, 1 Chronicles 25:6): harp, psaltry, trumpets, horn (Psalm 98:5-6a). The Great High Priest accompanies by the melody of His grace in the heart (cp. Ephesians 5:19b with Colossians 3:16c).  At the heart of all of this noisy, joyous, priest-assisted song is the ”Psalming” of God. Psalm 98:5a literally, begins, “Psalm YHWH!”

The great occasion of worship. What occasions this great worship? YHWH coming to judge (Psalm 98:9a–b). Ever since man fell, unrighteous and in crooked judgment has plagued mankind. But the world (verse 9b) is destined to be judged by the Lord. He will judge it with righteousness (verse 9b). He will judge all the peoples with uprightness (verse 9c). This would not be good news for a guilty or unatoned people, for it would mean their condemnation. But what we see here is a new creation earth full of a new creation people. They are in Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17). As those redeemed by His blood, and righteous before God in Him, His judgment is a deliverance not a condemnation (cf. Romans 8:33–34). They are freed by His salvation to rejoice over His judgment.

Do you rejoice over the judgments of God? What would free you to do so? What place does looking forward to the Great Day of His judgment have in your thoughts and affections? How are you praying for and participating in the spread of the gospel?

Sample prayer:  Our Father in heaven, thank You for giving Your Son to be our great Prophet, Priest, and King. In Him, You have declared Yourself to us. In Him, You have consecrated us and led our worship. In Him, You have ruled over us and defended us, and will vindicate us in the last day. Now, grant the help of Your Spirit, so that we would always know You in Christ and come to You through Christ, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song to the LORD” or TPH98A “O Sing a New Song to the LORD”

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